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Maroon
When Worlds Collide
July 2006
Released: 2006, Century Media Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

While metalcore has swept across North America like a plague, it taken a bit longer to permeate European shores. Bands like Cataract, Heaven Shall Burn and Neaera have been stirring up mosh pits for the past few years and have seen their albums get North American distribution but the latest entry in the metalcore corral is Germany’s Maroon and their third album, WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. There isn’t much here that hasn’t been heard before including the requisite breakdowns, tough-guy vocals, liberal use of double bass and Swedish-inspired guitar leads but Maroon certainly does it well and delivers it all in a handsomely-wrapped package courtesy of Jacob Hansen (Mercenary/Hatesphere). Certainly leaning more towards the metal- than the –core, the riffs are tight and executed flawlessly. Instead of the short, vitriolic bursts of below-the-two-minute-mark hardcore stylings of, say, Hatebreed, Maroon threshes most of these songs out past the four-minute mark bringing in atypical elements such as clean vocals, strings, ambient keyboard passages and occasionally elaborating beyond, but overall still staying safely within, the carefully dictated constraints of the genre.



The breakdowns come fast and furious on openers “24HourHate” and “And If I Lose, Welcome Annihilation” with the thrashy parts falling into a moshpit-ready section that will surely level anyone nearby at a live show. “Wake Up In Hell” and “Confessions of The Heretic” are the real standouts with Sebastian Grund and Sebastian Reiche’s unleashing punishing riffs and the thunderous rhythm section of Tom-Eric Moraweck and Nick Wachsmuth executing spine-snapping breakdowns. The shredding solo on the latter and Bay Area-influenced, thrash-infused middle section (think Watch Them Die) shows that Maroon is more than a bunch of hardcore punks. On the other end of the spectrum, clean vocals (supplied by Mercenary’s Mikkel Sandager) offset Andre Moraweck’s bark on “Annular Eclipse” creating a perfectly balanced dynamic between brutality and melody. Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret phones in a few barely-noticeable lines on the metallic “There Is Something You Will Never Erase” but along with Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway who appears somewhere on the album, the voices tend to blend together.



For every two songs, an instrumental follows which yields mixed results. After 8-10 minutes of getting pumped with adrenaline, a brief, sweeping solitude washes all the built-up energy down the drain only to repeat the process throughout the CD’s 43-minute length. I see the band’s intention—and the instrumentals act as interludes—but it really takes away from the raging attitude. The exception is the lengthy “The Omega Suite Pt. II” (the first part appears on the band’s 2004 release, ENDORSED BY HATE), which has Mercenary’s spacey keyboard sections in a striking second half ripe with moody ambience.



In truth, metalcore is pretty limiting and the glut of bands that pepper the market are running out of ideas quickly. The formula is simple: metallic riffing, insert a breakdown or two, add a tweedly solo and heaps of double bass behind shouted vocals and—presto!—you’ve got a metalcore band/album. Maroon adds a little more to the mix on WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE with some experimentation and stellar production but the fundamentals are all there and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rave about at this point. Still, Maroon has crafted an excellent, enjoyable album and one that certainly does have enough flair and unique personality to stand out from the 8,592 other metalcore bands trying to get consumers’ CD-buying dollar.



KILLER KUTS: “24HourHate,” “And If I Lose, Welcome Annihilation,” “Wake Up In Hell,” “Annular Eclipse,” “Confessions of The Heretic,” “The Omega Suite Pt. II”
Track Listing

1. 24HourHate
2. And If I Lose, Welcome Annihilation
3. Sirius (Instrumental)
4. Wake Up In Hell
5. Annular Eclipse
6. Arcturus (Instrumental)
7. Confessions of The Heretic
8. There Is Something You Will Never Erase
9. The Omega Suite Pt. II (Instrumental)
10. Sword and Bullet
11. Vermin
12. Koo She (Instrumental)
13. Below Existence

Lineup

Andre Moraweck—Vocals
Sebastian Grund—Guitar
Sebastian Rieche—Guitar
Tom-Eric Moraweck—Bass
Nick Wachsmuth—Drums

Other reviews

» When Worlds Collide
by Lord of the Wasteland

» When Worlds Collide
by Madman


Next review: » Maroon - When Worlds Collide
Previous review: » Mark Schuster - The Return of Buddy Love

Maroon
When Worlds Collide
August 2006
Released: 2006, Century Media
Rating: 1.0/5
Reviewer: Madman

I guess that since they were formed in 1998 I gotta give Germany’s Maroon at least a little credit. See, Maroon play metalcore, that very Swedish influenced metalcore that probably 95% of the local bands in North America are playing hoping to get big, while only 2 or 3 bands are even worth mentioning, let alone worth listening to. The thing is, Maroon seem to have been doing it since 1998, when most didn’t jump on the bandwagon till 2002 or so, which just so happened to be about the time the Gothenburg style caved in on itself because of the flood of bands.



Now in 2006 we have a new flood of bands, that being metalcore in North America though apparently, listening to Maroon, metalcore hasn’t strictly been for the North American bands. 2006’s WHEN WORLD COLLIDE is very much a by the numbers metalcore release, what with the straight from Sweden half-thrash fast paced riffs, screams in the Thomas Lindberg vein, interspersed clean vocals (though these are actually of some quality, especially for a band of this style), abundant use of modern hardcore breakdowns, and some very overdone lead sections used to “liven up” songs. The production is as clean as one would expect from the style, pretty much on par with any of the other newer or bigger names for the style, bass drums and cymbals are very loud, the slightly dirgey guitar sound dominates all while vocals bark overtop.



Over the course of the album the band never fails to bring the listener down an already driven path. From riffs you’ve probably heard a hundred times before coming straight from Sweden (and probably another thousand times coming from American bands like Unearth, Trivium, or Himsa) to breakdowns that are so generic, I could have sworn I’ve heard them on every American hardcore release since the mid-90’s, let alone every metalcore album in the last couple years. Take for instance the opening track, “24HourHate” which equally rips off At The Gates, God Forbid, and Unearth. Hell, that breakdown at 2:13 is unbearably unoriginal, the typical, two chugs, letting the last one ring out, before a random melodic run before going on repeat. The lyrics aren’t even that well written either, the subject matter many times coming off as a disgruntled PETA extremist, especially in the aforementioned, “24HourHate”. One good thing I can say about the album is that the clean singing section during “Annular Eclipse” is exquisitely done (unfortunately I don’t have the information to tell whether this is a guest appearance or not…), even if the rest of the song is almost completely built around constant breakdowns.



A lot of people are going to give Maroon a lot of slack on this release, just because they’ve been around since the beginning of the metalcore revolution, the problem is, nobody even knew it as this is their first album to see wide distribution on its release (prior albums saw US releases well after the fact). When even the bands that came after Maroon are exceeding them in style and song construction (and still not doing that well themselves) how can one have room for a Maroon in their CD collection?
Track Listing

1. 24HourHate
2. And If I Lose, Welcome Annihilation
3. Sirius
4. Wake Up In Hell
5. Annular Eclipse
6. Arcturus
7. Confessions Of The Heretic
8. There Is Something You Will Never Erase
9. The Omega Suite Pt. II
10. Sword And Bullet
11. Vermin
12. Koo She
13. Below Existence

Lineup

Andre Moraweck - Vocals
Sebastian Grund - Guitar
Sebastian Rieche - Guitar
Tom Eric Moraweck - Bass
Nick Wachsmuth - Drums

Other reviews

» When Worlds Collide
by Lord of the Wasteland

» When Worlds Collide
by Madman


Next review: » MARS - Metaldrone
Previous review: » Mark Schuster - The Return of Buddy Love





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