If you see a band for the fourth time, you might think you know them. But if they're like a good friend - what good music is often like - they'll surprise you. They'll show a side of themselves that you'd never seen before. Or maybe they'd had it all along, and you didn't notice it because they had so many other great traits. Good friends are like that.

Last night, Landmine Marathon were the most metal I'd ever seen them. That might seem strange, as they are definitely a metal band. But each time I've seen them, they've been a little different. The first time was very metal, packing the mammoth power of early Earache into a tiny living room. The second time was pure adrenaline rush. The third time was one of those nights where anything could happen. This fourth time was Metal.

"Red Days" (live)
Complete bootleg here

Landmine Marathon are seasoned enough to just walk in and flatten a place. I don't see them observing any pre-show rituals. They carry and set up their own gear. They move smoothly and quickly from song to song. If they are neurotic people, they don't show it onstage. Like the best live bands, they know they're good.

The last time they played The Blvd, the show felt like a firefight. This time, the band lobbed missiles. Guitarists stood tall and delivered big riffs with big tones. Vocalist Grace Perry is small, however, and therein lies Landmine Marathon's magic. While her bandmates made the earth quake, she ran around getting in people's faces. At one point, she took off her shoes. She knelt barefoot on the floor, then sprang up and struck me in the chest. Then she was off in a flash, doing the same to others across the room.

So Landmine Marathon are big, yet small. In this respect, they recall early Bolt Thrower, who had one foot in death metal and the other in punk. I got that exact feeling last night. I also noticed that I had become familiar with each guitarist's pick hand posture. The last few times that happened, the guitarists were named Hetfield, Hammett, Hanneman, and King. It's like getting to know the body language of good friends. You may not know what they'll do next, but it'll make complete sense.

— Cosmo Lee

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LP GIVEAWAY

I am giving away a 12" LP of Landmine Marathon's latest album, Sovereign Descent (reviewed here). For a chance to win it, simply state in the comments box which metal band you've seen the most often, and the number of times you've seen them. International entrants are welcome. I will pick a winner randomly. This contest closes at midnight EST, Sunday, July 4.

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TOUR DATES

Landmine Marathon are on tour until late July. See dates below.

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