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Distressed To Marrow : La Violencia

The latest album from Distressed To Marrow is a decent, if unexceptional, Death/Doom release.

Now this is more like it! In front of me, I've got a CD with a packed inlay, a font I can read, and an actual introduction to the band. I like that kind of thing. It turns out that Distressed To Marrow come from Karlsruhe in Germany, which is a nice little place that I briefly stayed in back in 2017. I like Germany. I like German people too - well, the ones I've come across, anyway. I'm not so sure that Distressed To Marrow will like me much after this review, however!

As delighted as I was to finally have a font I could read on an inlay, it was something of an anti-climax to discover that I'd be reading what are essentially Death Metal lyrics. Death Metal has many positives but it's lyrical content is seldom one of them. Admittedly, I did find myself chuckling at some of the song titles/lyrics because my sense of humour has not really matured since I was about thirteen years old. As far as lyrics go, however, this album is far from great.

Musically, what we've got here is a Death/Doom release. I have to confess that I was relieved to find that 'La Violencia' is indeed a Death/Doom album rather than it just being Death Metal; I feared the latter with my recent run of luck in the reviewing world! Given that the band still relies on occasional solos in order to be memorable, it's plain to see that what they wrote in their introduction is accurate - they've played a lot of gigs, albeit a long time ago now.

What I like about 'La Violencia' is that the production sounds really good to me. I can hear everything clearly and there's a very evident song structure in place - happy days! Again, based on my recent listening excursions, such boons were most welcome. Vocally, Distressed To Marrow possess run-of-the-mill Death Metal growls, which I have no complaints about. If I had to crib, I'd say that sometimes they're a bit low in the mix for my liking but that's not something that concerns me as it's few and far between.

So the production is good, the songs have structure, and this old-fashioned reviewer has an actual release in front of him. The world is good once more, right? Not exactly. I have one big issue with Distressed To Marrow's 'La Violencia' and it's what I briefly touched upon earlier; the music sounds like it was created to be performed live. In essence, there's nothing wrong with that. After all, most bands tour, and I shudder to think of the obstacles that bands like Esoteric, Pantheist etc. have to overcome in order to play their music live. However, when a band makes music with the sole intention of playing it live, the effects are not the same. For example, there are a substantial amount of long solos to get the crowd going rather than a focus on generating an atmosphere via a collective musical approach. It's also more "easy listening" Death/Doom than it is intense.

Basically, the band have not taken any risks here - there's nothing on 'La Violencia' that is going to annoy the average Death/Doom fan. Even the "riskier" things like piano intros and movie samples are brief and used sparingly. Simply put, it's a decent release with no surprises. The music would be much more enjoyable live than on an album though, and that goes against Distressed To Marrow here because I'm sat in my humble abode, not in a bar in Karlsruhe, drinking delicious German beer, much to my dismay.

I'd be very surprised (although I'm sure someone will, just to be the exception!) if any Death/Doom fan said that they hated or loved this album because there's nothing on it that warrants such a passionate standpoint. It's simply a non-offensive, non-intrusive, well-produced slice of Death/Doom pie. I couldn't honestly say that I'd recommend it nor recommend avoiding it for reasons already mentioned. It's just...ok. It's decent.

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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Violencia Is Born
2. Absorbing Maggots
3. Phalance
4. Right Foot Killer
5. Metric Medusa
6. Lick My Bayonet
7. Violencia Is Dead

Duration : Approx. 70 minutes

Visit the Distressed To Marrow bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-03-04 by Ian Morrissey
Vanha - Black Lion
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