Release DetailsLABEL Abacus Recordings
RELEASED ON 2/8/2005
Endorsed By Hate
posted on 12/2004 By:
Taking a more direct approach to the metalcore sound so omnipresent in today's underground metal scene, Maroon's - Endorsed by Hate consists of a brand of muscular half-thrash/melodi-core in a similar vein of Chimaira, Devil Driver, Stampin' Ground and early Machine Head.
The second full length release from the band formally known as xMAROONx (the x's should give you an idea of ethos behind the band) is full of extremely tight, mechanical riffing that on the one hand can be satisfyingly heavy, but on the other comes off as far too antiseptic and uninspired.
There are a few moments where the band proves themselves on top their game. The effortless soloing of "The Worlds of Havoc" and pentatonic groove at the end of "Endorsed by Hate" is fondly reminiscent of Chimaira's ability to incorporate NWOBHM songwriting ideals into their more modern sounding approach. Maroon are clearly talented and these little glimpses prove that beyond doubt.
However, for all the band's heaviness and heart-on-sleeve emotional sentiment, the fact remains that they are traveling down an extremely well trodden path and are failing to leave any distinct foot prints along the way. Despite the punchy delivery on tracks like "Watch It All Come Down" and "Human Waste," the band is still unable to mask the overall banality of their riff writing. The cut and paste At The Gates tomfoolery on "Without a Face," is clearly forced and sounds especially awkward when sandwiched between the most base of brutish break downs.
Maroon do gain major points by concluding Endorsed by Hate with the excellent "Goetterdaemmerung." Introduced by a sorrowful melody that hearkens back to Prayer For Cleansing's early material and consists of the album's smartest riff work, this track is only slightly marred by the band's attempts to pay homage to their HXC roots. It also outlines what frustrates me so much about Maroon. For the most part, I enjoy the acts these guys attempt to emulate, but too often on this release they show that, while talented, they don't fully understand the tasks they undertake. In their effort to be a thrash band they consistently compose dry, boring riffs and in their quest for hardcore credibility, they churn out lumbering breakdowns that sully the image of a genre of music that is already vastly misunderstood by metal fans.
I hate to be so harsh on Maroon, because I think there is a good band hiding somewhere beneath this veneer of misguided hero worship. And, to tell the truth, Endorsed by Hate will probably well serve those new to extreme metal who want to earn their lumps by getting into something heavy and accessible. However, Maroon has a bit of work to do before they can appeal to more seasoned members of the metal scene. Lets hope they can take this criticism in stride and seize the opportunity to make use of their apparent potential.
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