Maruta
Forward Into Regression

That Maruta is a quintessential Willowtip band may be more of a tribute to label than artist. Always leaning slightly more to the grind side of the death-grind divide while releasing material that is often technical, but rarely polished; the now decade old label has certainly established a trademark sound at this point. That there is no need to depart from the label’s alumni for comparison’s sake is evidence enough on that point. When they are on the straight grind trip, drawing parallels with Phobia and Misery Index is inevitable, and when they frequently blend in distended death metal portions, they actually evoke Rune’s classic The End of Nothing.

Maruta lacks nothing in terms of the talent and intensity to pull this sound off credibly, and in spare moments incredibly. New drummer Danny Morris and bassist Mauro Cordoba seems to have no trouble keeping up and on top of the group’s furious and sometimes confoundingly counterintuitive transitions. Mitchell Luna is equally adept on the screeching highs and human cement mixer lows at any of the album’s many tempos. The riffing, while super tight and fleet-fingered is much more interesting from a rhythmic point of view than a melodic one and this more than anything is the crux of my complaint with this album.

While I have no doubt that fans of both band and label will find a lot to like on this album; Maruta still hasn’t quite developed, or at least revealed on this recording, a personality of their own to set them apart from the rest of the tech-death-grind hive, despite the fact that they clearly exceed most of their upstart peers from both a production and performance standpoint. Until Maruta’s albums remind me more of Maruta than their influences though, this is a case where the parts are more than the sum of the whole, and I just don’t see myself listening to the latter for the sake of the former.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
March 25th, 2011

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