Landmine Marathon – Sovereign Descent (Prosthetic Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

In its latest mutation, grind is now of the female-fronted variety. Not like there weren’t any chicks fronting grind bands before this (Nuclear Death comes to mind), but Landmine Marathon is far and away one of the more visible grindcore bands with a female singer. And that’s where it begins and ends with this Arizona-based quintet. As much potency as LM could have, Sovereign Descent comes across as rather bland when stacked up next to the seasoned, well-crusted-over crowd.

Sounding like it’s fresh off the Morrisound Studio mixing console (lots of Napalm Death Harmony Corruption parallels), Sovereign Descent has difficulty gaining foothold thanks to the band’s preponderance for generic riffing. Sure, grind can (and should be) be simplistic, yet LM’s simplistic power chords and meagre solos fail to give this album the needed oomph or charge that it would need. Let us not forget that it’s sloppy as all hell, but that’s ok.

Female singer Grace Perry is good, not great, but good. She barks and hollers during the slo-mo, grinding portions of “Foul Revolt” and “Flood the Earth,” and will probably get a free pass just because she’s a chick. Nevertheless, she is probably the best part of the band. It’s not until album closer “Rise With the Tide” that any separation from the other tracks is made and that’s only because the song opens with some crisp melodies. The other eight songs could be interchangeable.

The band already has the benefit of paying dues on the underground grind circuit and their union with Prosthetic is sure to land some killer support slots. However, that doesn’t make up for how un-imposing Sovereign Descent is. Not sure if this will scare nor incite anyone, but as you well know – hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.

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