Sound — 8
Yawn. A girl fronting a metal band. Snooze. We've seen it. We've heard it. We've bought the t-shirts. It's sooooooo not a new concept in rock music. But rarely, and we do mean rarely, have we heard it done as well as Landmine Marathon frontlady Grace Perry does it. Oftentimes a girl screaming her lungs blood raw in a metal band is not much more than a gimmick, especially if she can't hold her own over the aggressive bluster of the music she is singing atop. Grace Perry is not such a singer. She is backed by some of the most corrosive riffs and she holds her own. Sovereign Descent is not about the singer, though; it's about a cohesive sound, a sound that is unequivoccably enhanced by the singer. Sovereign Descent meshes hardcore, punk and straight up metal sensibilities, with a nastier, gnarlier edge. Make no mistake, though. This is not metalcore. Exist is like Motorhead times ten, with an angrier, more biting punch or even early Sepultura. Label propaganda has compared the band to the early Earache roster and I don't disagree, but I definitely hear shades of a more metalized Motorhead here, in some of those dirty riffs that show up on Foul Revolt. Landmine Marathon are effective in that they are able to mix both old and new schools of metal in a seamless way. There's a death metal vibe woven throughout parts of the record, too. Shadows Fed to Tyrants is another violent blast of metal rage and Cruel Policy begins with an almost doomy intro.
Lyrics — 9
OK, we've already discussed Grace Perry, but what the hell, we can some more! And yes, we professed that continuing to talk about the fact that she is a girl is only serving to call even more attention to that fact. But the point is, she doesn't sound like a chick in any form here. She rivals Kittie's Morgan Lander and Walls of Jericho's Candice Kucsulain as the female force to be reckoned with in metal. If you've ever seen the band live, Grace is no shrinking violet, either. Her live intensity is fully matched on record. She does one thing and one style scream bloody f--king murder- but she does it well and does it over well-constructed metal, which keeps things unpredictable and interesting.
Overall Impression — 7
This is the type of unapologetic metal that absolutely scorches the earth with its speed and skill. The more I listen to the steamroller riffs, the more I think pre-Chaos AD Sepultura and even some Chaos AD Sepultura. Regardless, this Arizona band will batter your brain with its non-stop sonic assault. If you feel like you have a concussion after a few listens to Sovereign Descent, it's okay. Don't worry. It's just your skull trying to recover from the attack of Landmine Marathon. I've said this before. Metalheads can be masochists and Landmine Marathon will aid in that delightfully painful pursuit.