Marginal - Total Destruction - (7.5/10)
Published on December 26, 2017
Now here is a band that just doesn’t screw around and they clearly know what they want to do. The Belgian squadron called Marginal intend to kick your ass with some good ol’ crust/grind that will remind you of Napalm Death, Amebix, or Discharge. And on their 12-song, sub 30-minute album Total Destruction, they simply take no prisoners (probably because that is not exactly the anarchist thing to do).
Crust punk and death metal are very much represented in equal measure on Total Destruction. This record takes a scenic ride through D-beat city, and the whole mayhem is kept short and sweet, with only two songs breaking the three-minute mark. On the other hand, the riffs have a strong metal tinge to them – you would not necessarily hear Marginal’s peers play something this crunchy and relatively memorable. Again, I am reminded of Discharge – there is a “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing” vibe in the riffs here. There are even some brief, but punchy leads in songs like “Barbarians” or “Fucked Up Society”. Nice touches. Also firmly metal are the vocals, which resemble Barney from Napalm Death. Quite comprehensible, just delivered in a more guttural, almost death-metal style.
The second best thing about Total Destruction is the production. Balance? Spot on. The guitar sound is clear, yet adequately filthy, and massively heavy. Marginal are all about the guitars, and they indeed deliver. Pushing the rather monotonous vocals a bit back to let the guitars beat you to a pulp was a great decision. But a crisp sound would be nothing if the band didn’t have the songs – and for the most part, Marginal deliver.
Total Destruction may have short songs, but they are definitely different from each other. Variety is supplied, with slow and really heavy sections in “Rat Kebab” or the title track, and there is also a small sprinkling of technique with a rather strange drum beat on “Fucked Up Society”. But my favorite ones are the blaster “Leech Invader” – probably the most metal cut on here, and the super-catchy “Impaled”, which borrows a Slayer riff and surprises you with a memorable vocal effect in the chorus. I almost wish the band would play around with vocal effects like that more, it works perfectly.
As stated before, Marginal are all about playing no-frills crust/grind with a jagged metal edge. Simply put, tick virtually all the tropes of their chosen style. You will not get too much more out of them, though. Of course, no boundaries are expected to be pushed when Total Destruction is playing, however, the competition in Marginal’s field of choice is fairly steep, which makes it harder to stand out in terms of having one’s own sound. Maybe that will eventually come for this Antwerp bunch. For now, I’m perfectly content with getting a politically charged, violent crust/grind beating.