If you thought vegans were just tree-hugging, hairy hippy types who sat in fields tooting away on pan-pipes moaning about sustainable farming methods, you are in for a shock. Maroon, German exponents of devastating, metalcore brutality – will serve as a rather rude awakening to consumers of animal products everywhere, particularly when vocalist Andre Moraweck barks, “Welcome to your own slaughterhouse, it’s your flesh in your mouth!” on opener 24HourHate.
Despite the fact that Maroon have toured with the likes of Hatebreed and Napalm Death, chances are that unless you are a full-time straight-edge devotee you won’t have heard of them, though their third full-length release sees them seeking to take their vegan message further afield.
Lyrical straight edge influences aside (and by that read Earth Crisis), sonically there are elements from the usual metalcore influences such as At The Gates. Wake Up in Hell flirts with the possibility of being a B-side from The Haunted‘s last disc, although the ridiculously visceral beat-down slams the balance back down firmly into hardcore territory.
Annular Eclipse sees the metalcore elements shining through and makes it clear that the six-string section of Maroon (who are both called Sebastian) like to keep Killswitch Engage at the forefront of their pool of influences. Staccato blasts of guitar and pummelling drums pave the way for a chorus that is unexpectedly sung cleanly, a move that will doubtless be frowned upon by the “beefy” (ooh the irony!), arms-windmilling fanatics at gigs.
It is the placement of the four brief, clean instrumental intervals rather than their actual appearance on the album which disrupts the continuity somewhat, preventing what is otherwise a consistent metallic barrage from reaching its full impact. The only exception is the five-minute epic The Omega Suite, which carves an awesome soundscape of battle rhythm drumming and melodic lead lines before dropping to a solo piano mid-section that builds with strings to blast back into its own mini metallic opera.
There Is Something You Will Never Erase is a whirlwind of a track, fuelled by more straight edge philosophy that barks at the undefined enemy that Maroon will “be true till death… blah, blah, blah”. However, as with most of the songs here, the sentiment is a little empty – but that is perhaps more a result of the restrictive dogma of the straight edge scene rather than a particular failing on the band’s part. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to try a little harder in order to breathe some life into these lyrically stagnant waters…
When Worlds Collide is an album that is clear in its message and reasonably effective in musical delivery. I have no doubts that with its introduction of (shock, horror) the occasional clean vocal line it will split Maroon’s fanbase in two. However, with any luck it may also win them some more open-minded potential vegans along the way.