At the end of the day what really is the difference between Death Metal and Grindcore? Is it the speed at which each is normally played? The technicality involved? Is it simply that one style tends to vary in its delivery slightly more than the other? Certainly they are two delicious fruits borne from the same, seemingly improbable, branch of the great world music tree. While some bands stubbornly refuse to grasp at both, others gladly pick at each and fill their proverbial basket with what will eventually become a smorgasbord of blast beats, death growls, and unholy riffing.
For Florida’s Maruta, their Facebook page short description reads, “Grind dudes playing death metal songs.” That about sums it up, and rather beautifully, as their Relapse Records debut, Remain Dystopian, unloads 17 nihilistic bursts of glorious cacophony. One part lightning fast, and one part oppressively heavy, Maruta come down somewhere square in the middle of the death metal to grindcore pantheon, like a wayward teenager lying down in the middle of a busy highway, daring someone to run them over. In reality thought the only people getting run over are those who go into this album not fully prepared for the total onslaught they are about to face.
Tracks like “Stride Endlessly Through Scorched Earth” and “Submergence aka Barren Oceans of Infinity” showcase Maruta’s death metal leanings with chunky breakdowns and meaty riffs played out at a slightly less than manic pace. These are torture chamber soundtrack worthy in their sadomasochistic delivery. Pieces like these are a nice homage to some of the classic American death metal rotting the shelves of collectors for the last 25+ years. But the swampy brutality doesn’t last as it’s often both surrounded by and undercut with blazing trails of hyper-speed grind. This is truly where the band lives up to their moniker – Maruta also being the name of a special project during World War II in which the Imperial Japanese Army used human beings for torturous scientific experiments.
Maruta’s home state has had a long, and gloried history of bands taking grind and applying it in varying degrees to other forms of extremity. Assück, for example, liked their grind mixed with death metal and crust, while bands like Assholeparade and Reversal of Man took hardcore on a grindcore roller coaster. Meanwhile Florida’s contributions to death metal are well-documented, and frankly invaluable. With Remain Dystopian, Maruta do both heritages proud.
Remain Dystopian is due on June 2 via Relapse Records. In the meantime you can experience a handful of tracks via the Relapse Bandcamp page.