This most rarified of music genres, is, to me, death metal distilled to a purer and more powerful form, much the same way potatoes yield vodka and poppy seeds yield heroin.
Generally death metal is inflated and cartoonish, but you get something great if you purge it of its disingenuous parts– eliminate most solos and breakdowns, and instead of grunting vocals cookie-monster-style to try and simulate something powerful or evil, shriek into the mike– actually be something powerful and/or evil.
Of course, this last part is tricky, and requires the soul of a high priest, or shaman, and not that of an entertainer or performer. Fortunately the members of Landmine seem to be the former two.
Slow death metal way down– you get haarp. Speed it way, way up, detune it even further, and you get what is popularly known as death/grind. A sub-type of music I genuinely enjoy.
Imagine my delight, then, at the arrival of Landmine Marathon’s newest, Gallows.
This is solid, dependable, professionally-executed music.
Sounds boring, right? Like a backhanded compliment? It’s not– read on.
You’d want a John Deere if you had to plow your fields, right? Not a Maserati. The Italian sports car is glossy and slick and really fast, but any farmer will take the Deere first– because there are things you need to do, things that have to happen in order for you to live– and you know the tractor will do everything you ask it to.
Is it glamorous? No. But it’s crucial.
Gallows will grind your face off, voice your hysterical rage and confusion and connect you to the dark like no other. When you need grind, with the possible exception of Brutal Truth, nothing will work better, will scour your soul better, than Landmine.
Gallows isn’t particularly an evolution over their previous releases, but I’m nearly certain they’re not going for evolution– more refinement. Hell, Faulkner wrote the same book every time– it just got better and realer and clearer over time.
“Three Snake Leaves,” “Cutting Flesh and Bone,” “Liver and Lungs” and “Beaten and Left Blind” and “Morbidity,” with its Arabian-Slayer-esque riff, are my personal favs.