It's probably safe to assume that Flotsam and Jetsam and Sacred Reich shared a bill or two back in the 1980s, so calling this weekend's pairing of Hemoptysis and Landmine Marathon the best local metal show the Valley's ever seen may be a stretch, but it's certainly the best local metal bill I can recall in the three-plus years I've been covering local music and the decade I've lived in the Valley.
The two bands occupy different spheres along the metal spectrum — Landmine Marathon molded themselves after classic UK grindcore acts like Napalm Death and Carcass, while Hemoptysis favors a mixture of melodic death metal and classic American and German thrash — but their respective rises to the top of the local metal scene have occurred almost simultaneously. It's not surprising, then, that the bands have crossed paths before.
"Landmine Marathon is a band that we played with way back in the day when we first started out," says Hemoptysis drummer Travis Thune. "We didn't play a lot of shows with them or anything, but I remember playing with them at the Sets. They've obviously done really well for themselves. They're a great band. We knew of them, they knew of us, so when I hit them up for a show, they were totally down for it. They knew that when we promote shows, we usually promote the hell out of 'em, so they had no doubt they'd have a lot of people hearing about the show and they'd have a really good draw, just because we're always gonna be talking about it and making sure everyone knows about it."
Hemoptysis and Landmine Marathon are scheduled to perform on Friday, January 7, at the Clubhouse in Tempe.
Landmine Marathon signed with Prosthetic Records in 2009 and released their first album for the label (and third overall) last year. Now, Hemoptysis is hoping to make a similar national splash with their debut full-length, Misanthropic Slaughter. The band will be debuting several tracks from the new album at this weekend's "CD preview" show, and the entire album will be played as house music in between bands.
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The album was recorded and produced by Ryan Greene (Megadeth, Bad Religion, NOFX), who fleshed out the band's sound with subtle keyboard and string flourishes. It hardly qualifies as Nightwish-style symphonic metal, but it adds depth to the band's already epic sound on new songs like "Blood Storm" and the album-closing "End of Sorrow."
"That was all Ryan Greene's production," Thune says. "He just did his studio magic and gave us the ending product, and we love it. It took a little bit of getting used to on one or two songs, but we actually love it more than ever. We plan on trying to re-create that same sound live."
Hemoptysis has yet to secure a distribution deal for the new album, but the band has been in talks with several labels and hopes to have the album released by this March. They haven't ruled out simply releasing it themselves, either.
"I'm pretty confident," says singer/guitarist Masaki Murashita. "We're in the works, talking to a few labels right now. Things are moving slow, but let's see what happens. If it's something acceptable, we'll take it, and if not, we'll just release it. I don't see the point in getting signed unless we get a decent deal. We paid for the record, we paid for the video [for "Shadow of Death"], we paid for everything. If they don't wanna invest in us, what's the point? All we need is distribution, at this point, and publicity."