Cruz – Confines de la Cordura Review

Good performances only go so far. Metal has a documented and full history book of virtuoso and wild performers alike—death metal especially enjoys living on the extremes of this spectrum of knuckle-dragging to Ph.D. scale flexing. As such, we all continue to trudge through every gore-infused, dramatically-worded, mono-palette deathfest that emerges from the festering pool of the Crypt NOUN, NOUN[space optional]rot, NOUN Tomb (or Tomb NOUN), and Blood NOUN kind. Cruz, who I’m reasonably sure isn’t named after Santa or Ted, side-steps the gruesomely embellished epithets splattered across the OSDM realm in favor of a moniker as straightforward as their assault. Hailing from Barcelona, can this young act dig deviously into 30+ years of vile riff history to emerge as necessary with Confines de la Cordura?1

Much like the original mission of a young Bloodbatha self-proclaimed worship band whose first offering is now 20 years oldCruz fuses the punky, death ‘n’ roll leanings of punchy Swedeath with the bottom-end brutality of the early Florida scene. And, as you might assume, bands like Autopsy and Entombed already wrote many of the chunky riffs, grimy tempo shifts, and wah-abused leads that define the flow of Confines. That’s not to say that Cruz exists entirely without merit or passion—these Spaniards care about how they sound and have graced us with a nice, spacious master that lets every HM-2 crackle punish whether muted tightly or rang wide. From that angle, the mesh and mangle of kick and rumble rings clearer than any early 90s attempt at a warm but shredding soundstage: old sounds, modern ears.

With both precision and rowdiness in mind, then, Cruz plays death metal that is undeniably death metal in execution and often enjoyable to boot. Mid-album highlight “Els Murs Errants,” even at its 9-minute run, showcases the best of what Cruz has to offer: a tasteful synth inclusion, a proper gallop build, a twisted buzzsaw trem run, and a devolution into a cement-molded doomdeath crescendo. This sullen saunter drips into the title track with a waltz-time hum against a bass growl that rivals Närcís Boter Jaume’s (ex-Stained Blood, Dentellada) own crust-leaning howl. That’s a particularly noteworthy feat considering Jaume steals the show frequently, like the erupting intro to “Eones de Sangre” (and “Infamia Insular”) or the reverb-drenched barks and OUGHs that build tension on “Confines de la Cordura.” Not all will enjoy this not quite “metal” styling as it reeks less of putrefaction and more of impending breakdown—but that’s fine by me!

Between the classically wet guitar runs, cut-and-paste drum patterns, and vocals that serve more as a caustic melody than a dissecting diatribe, Cruz could swap and rearrange much of what they assemble to provide marginally different, equally satisfying meals. After the slightly subverting, creeping piano intro of “Ai Margini della Follia,” we’re met quickly with a furious d-beat that, with a few switch-ups and tom breaks, makes the rhythmic foundation of nearly every piece here. Regardless of how unique the intro, lightning-picked riffs begin to resemble each other (“Als Peus de la Creu,” “Confines de la Cordura”) and vocal tricks stagnate (“Infamia Insular,” “Eones de Sangre”). It’s a real effort to maintain an orientation in the world Cruz builds for all the wrong reasons.

Yet, Cruz scratches an itch and does so with fairly concise and calculated strokes. On a road trip or chugging playlist, this kind of serviceable romp can dissolve pleasantly over the stretch of exit after exit, cheap thrill after cheap thrill. However, it doesn’t penetrate much deeper than that surface-level enjoyment, you know the kind—that gut-tickling, lip-curling, eye-glazing fury. Unfortunately, Confines de la Cordura runs on cruise control; Cruz’s control of form feels effortless, but not in a virtuosic manner—it’s simply restrained. This strain of death metal should leave me bleeding, screaming, thrashing, but at the end of Confines de la Cordura, I find myself, in the most unpleasant manner, fully intact, bowels, blood and all.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Winter Records | Bandcamp
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: September 26th, 2022

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  1. Which, curiously, can translate to English as edges (or bounds) of sanity. Tongue-in-cheek much?
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