Maroon, "Endorsed by Hate"
Maroon play metalcore, which is a genre for which I have no tolerance and less affection. The bio announcing them as a vegan/straightedge hardcore outfit had me flashing back to the years when I was still listening to "Gomorrah's Season Ends" on a regular basis, but a quick listen to "Endorsed by Hate" convinced me that this German five piece had as much in common with the NYC death metal scene as with Earth Crisis.
True, they certainly don't shy away from those breakdowns that are so obviously meant to get the mosh pits going. Yes, the tracks are overwhelmingly mid-paced. Alright, the obligatory group vocals and spoken moments are present and accounted for. And OK, some of the tracks are just too damn repetitive. If you can get past all that, though, you'll realize these guys have more than their fair share of metal influences, as well. Take, for instance, the eerily Slayer reminiscent intro to "Watch It All Come Down" (think "South of Heaven" or "Dead Skin Mask" and you'll get the idea), or listen to the very melodic beginning of "Goetterdaemmerung" (which, by chance, has some very Dave Lombardo-esque drum fills) and you'll get the picture.
Ultimately, these moments aren't enough to elevate "Endorsed by Hate" above the average album in this particular genre; it's neither exceptional nor exceedingly poor. It is just too predictable (how many songs can you end with a breakdown before it gets old?) and there's a certain monotony from song to song that the band just can't shake. I have no doubt that Maroon will get those pits raging when they play this stuff live, but on disc, there just isn't enough going on to stimulate any response from the distinguishing listener, save maybe a shrug of the shoulders.Tom Bransfield