Landmine Marathon’s Rusted Eyes Awake is like a bloodied, mangled claw around the neck. Unwilling to let go and remorseless in its life-squeezing authority, this record is astonishing in its throat-scraping awesomeness.
The Phoenix thrash/death group is staggering in their commitment to hammering, devastating immensity. Vocalist Grace Perry is pure screaming death, haunting in her oft-sickening screaming and yelling. Along with Perry, Landmine Marathon features guitarist Dylan Thomas, guitarist Ryan Butler, bassist and vocalist Matt Martinez, and drummer Mike Pohlmeier.
There are essentially two speeds on Rusted Eyes Awake and both are unrelenting in a sort of careening-down-the-highway-with-no-motherf***ing-brakes kind of way. Some tracks blast right out of the gate with a gust of thrash guaranteed to liquefy faces and scare old people worse than Glenn Beck ever could, while others dig deep with sludgy low ends before forcing themselves on you like a troubled DMV employee (don’t ask).
Despite the urgency and blood-soaked death of it all, there’s an uncanny nostalgia permeating Landmine Marathon’s brand of thrash. This is almost vintage shit, akin to what was keeping kids up all hours in the ‘90s.
Thomas and Butler play uncomplicated guitar all up in this piece, letting the riffs flow logically and easily. There are no excessively procedural sidetracks and no gaudy segments of hyperbolic queasiness. Instead, the solos are clean and focused, making the ultimate results amazing.
The record clocks in at a smidge over 30 minutes, which is just enough time to crank out eight lean and mean cuts of sickness and necessity.
“Bile Towers” opens things up with a trouncing thump and Perry’s acidic delivery. She sounds like she’s being choked, but it’s all in good old-fashioned disconcerting fun.
“Heroin Swine” really lets the vocalist screech her lungs out, pouring breathless vocals out over a maddening clatter of drums and swirling, untamed guitars. It’s a joyful mess, one only brought down to earth by Martinez’s bottomless rumbles.
Other tracks take similar paths, with each one keeping the assault going until the listener is long out of breath and Wild Turkey.
Rusted Eyes Awake is a feral, messy ride. With throat-shredding vocals and enough guitar madness to break something valuable, Landmine Marathon’s arrival on Prosthetic Records couldn’t have come soon enough.