Warbringer + Lazarus A.D + Landmine Marathon

West Hollywood Key Club, October 3rd, 2011

Holy shit! What just happened there? One minute there was this petite looking girl on stage, all t-shirt and sneakers, and now there’s a rabid banshee, snarling and spitting and spewing rage. That’ll be Grace Perry, apparently channeling the ghost of Phil Vane, and her band, Landmine Marathon, have a few things they’d like to get off their chest. They are nothing if not explosive, a blistering assault that draws a clear evolutionary line to bands like Rudimentary Peni, Napalm Death, and Extreme Noise Terror. The new album’s called ‘Gallows’ and you need it.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Wisconsin’s Lazarus A.D. who sound like the perennial opening band: in the 90’s they’d have opened for Exodus at the Marquee, today it’s Warbringer at the Key Club, same deal, different year. It’s not that they’re bad by any means, great players in fact, but that wasn’t enough then, and it sure as hell isn’t enough now. Throw a stone off the roof of this building and you could hit a dozen bands who sound the same. Rehashed thrash.
But then, talking of perennials, California thrashers Warbringer have been earning it the hard way for many years now and this is their first ever headline tour, the first gig of the tour in fact. They have good reason to be pleased: the Key Club has long been metal friendly, but making the 600 capacity venue look busy on a Monday night is still no mean feat. Better still it feels like they’re ready for it, honed and toned, not a beat out of place, frontman John Kevill commanding the stage. There’s a good, solid set-list too, ‘Total War’ from ‘War Without End’ standing out as particularly vicious, but more tellingly the new tracks go down a storm, already sounding road tested and headbanger approved. 37 dates in 38 nights? No problem, Warbringer are ready to bring it.


Having written for Kerrang! magazine since 1989, I started shooting for them, pretty much by accident, in the early 90’s when all their photographers refused to go on tour with my favourite punk band Poison Idea. With pretensions of being as good as Mark Leialoha and taller than Ross Halfin, I shot everyone from Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer and Slipknot to The Prodigy and was published all around the world (full-ish list in the ‘published in’ section) before stumbling into fetish and pin up photography in 2006 when I married Masuimi Max. I quit Kerrang! in 2008 and now shoot the rock stuff for Metal Hammer and Terrorizer.