Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Landmine Marathon makes perfectly brutal music

The first thing that hits you are the guitars, which are thick, fast and dirty. Then the drums and bass come along, synching in lock step with the guitars, continuing the onslaught. Finally the vocals hit, they are low, guttural and acid flecked. Such are the joys of Landmine Marathon, a death/grind band from Arizona that features some bulldozing music as well as the fierce pipes of Grace Perry.

For those of you still living in a timewarp, yes they are a death metal band and yes, their vocalist is female. This shouldn’t be a big deal in this day and age because there are tons of women who have contributed to extreme metal over the years, without having to use their gender as a selling point. If it is a big deal to you, respect her, because she kicks ass, pure and simple.

“I have no idea if I am a role model but I do have a lot of girls that tell me I inspire them, which is one of the most flattering things to hear. It's the 2011, not 1950, and if people still think women have to abuse their sexuality in order to be in a successful band they are idiots. Whenever people compare me to other singers it's not to other females, it's to other singers, male, female, you name it. I want to inspire girls to see that although the metal scene is very much male dominated it should never make a difference,” said Perry. “The good thing about this genre of metal is that politically correct bands still exist and draw influence from bands like Napalm Death who have always had higher moral grounds. I carry myself in a way that doesn't attract that type of behavior and now that our fourth record is coming out it's a joke to think anyone would actually believe I can't hold my own,” she added.

She didn’t start out as a metal singer, she was recruited and found out she loved it. You see originally she played in a screamo band whose sole reason was to piss people off and it did, but (bassist) Matt Martinez saw her perform and liked her screams and growls so much, he asked her if she wanted to start a band. It’s been seven years since that encounter and the rest is history.

“Well let's just say if I didn't have my band all that intensity and aggression might just pour out into my everyday life. It's not that I'm an angry person, we just happen to live on an insane planet that should inspire everyone to create an outlet of their own,” said Perry.

This aggression shows itself in her live performances, where she has been described as a she-demon, throwing herself fearlessly into the performances. It’s a go for broke mentality that has won her many admirers and respect, but it’s also been the cause of various injuries, but to Perry that’s all just part of the game.

“Yes I definitely have my share of injuries; a broken nose, more black eyes and bloody lips than I can count and I most recently sliced my head open on a shitty microphone that had wires jutting out,” said Perry.

And for someone who has a very extreme vocal style, you would think she does exercises or take some type of special liquids to keep her vocal chords in top shape, but actually you would be dead wrong, because you see, just like her personality was made for metal, so is her voice.

“People always ask me this and I'm being honest when I say I do nothing. No special teas, cough drops, warming up, just water. When I am recording my voice will start to get weak after a few hours but the next day I'm ready to go all over again. Just lucky I guess,” said Perry.

But before we forget, Landmine Marathon is a band and a really good one, and this skill is on display on their new album “Gallows”, which came out on September 27 on Prosthetic Records. They have trimmed the fat and tightened their sound, delivering a just under 30 minute blast of exhilaration and brutality. It’s dirty, filthy, dark and easily their best album. Perry credits the band’s commitment to deliver their best album and the acquisition of a new member as the reasons to the album’s face ruling-ness.

“Having our new drummer, Andy York, has definitely changed and improved the dynamic of the band. He is a walking metronome and the most talented drummer I have ever worked with. Vocally I focused on singing mainly lower, more guttural vocals which gave the album an even darker feel than previous Landmine records. (Guitarist) Ryan Butler has recorded all of our albums at Arcane Digital and he spent more hours and hard work on “Gallows” than ever before. We are not trying to break new ground in this genre, just write music we love and hopefully everyone else does too,” said Perry.

The new album also deals with the darkness in the folk tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. To some people this might seem like weird subject matter for a death metal record, but after listening to Perry explain it, it is a perfect fit. After all, remember how dark the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales were, and then this lyrical theme doesn’t seem so out of left field.

“Many of these stories have transformed over hundreds of years into the common the fables we grew up with. When I was in college I took many literature classes that explored this and it opened my eyes to something entirely different. During this era they were not the G-rated family friendly stories we know but in fact brutally graphic,demonic, and downright terrifying. The more research I did the more inspiring it became, countless books depicting self mutilation and the constant death of woman and children, along with evil folkloric creatures always devouring humans. From this I wrote some of my darkest and favorite lyrics to date,” said Perry.

So there you have it. Not only is the band, which also features Dylan Thomas on guitar, a must see live act, they have also released the best record of their career. So there really should be no reason why you shouldn’t get down to the Webster Underground early on October 20 and catch their set. After all, seeing, and hearing, is believing.

Lazarus AD
Landmine Marathon
Diamond Plate
Prime Evil
Shallow Ground

Thursday, October 20, Webster Underground
31 Webster Street
Hartford, CT, 06114
6:00 pm – All Ages - $12 advance/$14 day of show

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