Bombshell - Mastodon, Landmine Marathon, Torche




Bombshell is Tripwire contributor Zeena Koda's monthly metal column. In this, her first installment, Z sits down with Troy Sanders of Mastodon, Grace Perry of Landmine Marathon and the men of Torche.

Metal wouldn't exist without three core things -- intoxicants, babes and the BOOM. In this edition of Bombshell we have the trifecta for you; a legit babe who slays the mic with intelligence and beauty, as well as two seminal intoxicant heavy bands that have carved out a mark for a generation of new metalheads to adore (see: they bring the motherfuckin' BOOM). In preparation for the onslaught of summer tours, check out what some of my current faves are getting into and get your pink ass out to the pavement to see them in full glory. I promise, with all the female advice you'll get from this column, you're one step closer to getting laid.

Metal has always been a domain consumed with masculinity, for better or worse there is an inherent testosterone burst in every metal laced musical endeavor. As a musician and a commentator, I have always been intrigued with other females in heavy music. In an almost voyeuristic fashion I've connected with many other females in metal and despite my power-dykish disposition, have realized in the end we're all just ladies who love the music. Meeting with Grace Perry from Landmine Marathon was quite a surprise; tall, fit and well-spoken she could easily step off the pages of a Prada ad. But what impressed me most was her genuine personality and love for music. Librarian/student by day, death metal/sludge goddess by night, Grace has been upping the ante with her Arizona-based band for over five years. Recently signing on with Prosthetic Records in late 2008 the band released Rusted Eyes Awake a raw and cathartic throwback to the days where production was minimal and the doom sandstorm was king. Sizing up with a heavy dose of charm and intelligence, Grace's stage presence and demeanor leaves her untouchable, the girl oozes a rare brand of sexuality, one any gal or strapping young lad can get into. Although classic ovary driven bands like Girlschool set a precedence for the caliber of female fronted metal, bombshells like Grace have reshaped the way non-metal elitists view ladies in the genre -- with equal respect and fascination. Grace was on hand last weekend as part of the Maryland Death Festival and word on the street is she had a little something brewing connected to the event, so keep your peepers peeled and check out my hangout with Grace here.

*****

Thunderous. The minute I heard "March of the Fire Ants" from Mastodon, I knew that I had stumbled on something purely Earth shattering. Part 90s post-hardcore, part progressive meltdown, all the while remaining wholly booming, Mastodon has perfected the formula of a hook-laden metallic rock conquest. Forming out the the ashes of the upstate NY-based Lethargy, bassist/beard master Troy Sanders linked up with Brann, Bill and Brant (must be lonely being the only non B guy) in Atlanta, connecting together to fuse a definitive southern rock feel with crushing metal/doom undertones that sticks to your ribs. Graduating to the big leagues, Mastodon's second major label release Crack The Skye is looming positively on the tongues of both fans and critics, drawing in listeners with unexpected harmony, finesse and careful song craft, all filtered though the ears of mastermind producer Brendan O'Brien. Mastodon's swift rise to the top of the metal world can clearly be attributed to hard work, extensive touring and plenty of perseverance. I sat down with Troy Sanders before a sold-out headlining show at NY's Fillmore at Irving (Irving Plaza always in my heart) to talk about the new album, a possible Crack the Skye movie and many more debauchery filled behaviors.

*****

Torche are a quintessential summer band, perfect for jumping into your fathers beat up Chevy, lighting an overstuffed spliff and cutting loose. The first time I saw Torche was at an Isis show in 2006 and, in all honesty, was not totally sold. Retrospectively, my apprehension made perfect sense -- they were a but a budding baby at the time and needed some saucy metal breast milk! Since that time, Torche has swiftly grown into a sneak-attack band, offering listeners a fresh melting pot of doom, post-hardcore driven vocals coupled with dynamic structuring. Offering rock-driven metal in the way Cynic bless prog metal -- tight, appealing packaging with attention grabbing elements that keep listeners coming back for more. Their 2008 release Meanderthal topped Decibel Magazine's top-records of 2008, probably much to the surprise of their deaf metal lovin' core audience. Torche have been grinding hard since Meanderthal's release and have been spending most of their time on the road, planning to conquer Europe with the legendary Coalesce and Kylesa, as well as return to the US late summer to trek with Harvey Milk. Genre defying and poised for glory, I had a chance to sit down with them on their recent US tour with Dredg -- don't let the soft spoken demeanor fool you, these men all all business when they hit the stage.


Bombshell - Mastodon, Landmine Marathon, Torche