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01. Bile Towers
02. Certain Death
03. Bled to Oblivion
05. Heroin Swine
06. Skin from Skull
07. Red Days
08. Rusted Eyes Awake
Reviewed by: Nick
// Published: 1/10/2009
Let's face it. Diehard fans aside, it's rather difficult to stay excited about a lot of modern death metal. With a clichéd analogy of your choosing (perhaps you'll go the "it's tough to reinvent the wheel" route, or maybe something about bands' inability to "think outside the box" would do), you might find it easy to make the it's-all-been-done-before case for the entire genre. Surely, we're not about to stumble upon a new Death, Morbid Angel, or At the Gates in this generation of music, right
And, after little deliberation, I'd have to agree with that statement. But thanks to bands like Landmine Marathon -- bands spewing insane volumes of raw urgency upon a solid classical metal foundation -- there's hope. Sometimes it takes a record like Rusted Eyes Awake to re-stir one's dormant inner death metal fan. And I'd like to thank these guys (and girl) for that.
Landmine Marathon has no shame in blending the ferociously thick riffs of Bolt Thrower's death metal with Napalm Death's blistering grind mentality. A stronger shift toward grindcore influences differentiates this album from their past releases, a move that helped renew the band's levels of energy and grit. Maybe it's because Phobia's new full-length showed up on my doorstep the very same day as Rusted Eyes Awake, but the opening riffs and drumming of the pair of early tracks, "Bile Towers," and "Certain Death," have some strong similarities to the recent output of the Californian masters of modern day crusty grindcore. "Bled to Oblivion" returns to some much appreciated Bolt Thrower worship via relentless blast beats and slower-paced harmonized riffs. And the crawling pace of "Xenocide" turns an excellent brutal death riff into a downright neck-breaker. All of this is only enhanced by frontwoman Grace Perry's absolutely tortured vocal performance and a production job that remembers when death metal was supposed to be abrasive.
However, saviors of death metal Landmine Marathon is not. No band is, and it's highly unlikely that any band will ever be able to redefine death metal enough to deserve to hang their axes up next to the greats of the early 90s. But when a band is unafraid to show their love of undeniably excellent acts like Bolt Thrower and Napalm Death, and does so with the pure urgency and grit that should always accompany extreme music, that band earns it praise. And when they continue to evolve and fine tune their sound by pulling in more influences (i.e. Rusted Eyes Awake's slight, but noticeable touch of crust), giving listeners a reason to stay engaged as a result, that's the proverbial icing on the cake.
Luckily, all of this rhetorical wanking can be summed up by this statement: Landmine Marathon is the reason I drove to and from my spot in Corporate America blasting metal and pumping my fists today. Rarely am I so inspired. And for that, again I thank you.
Bottom Line: This is simple. Give yourself a point if you like any of the following: Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Phobia. If you scored a zero or higher, Landmine Marathon's Rusted Eyes Awake is your new set of death metal jams. Trust me.
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