Sunday, April 18, 2010

xMAROONx: Discography

This is a post on a band that helped change my life. While Earth Crisis were obviously the first band to open my eyes to the atrocities of the slaughterhouse and were the main reason I turned to vegetarianism in 2001 (along with the lyrics to Poisoned Seeds by Buried Alive), for whatever reason I was lacking the final push into veganism. There were two factors playing into this as well: Arkangel's spoken word track on Prayers Upon Deaf Ears EP and the intensity of the gang chants in Still Believe What Has Fallen Apart on Maroon's Antagonist album. Plain and simple ... I wanted to be able to sing along to "a commitment for life ... VEGAN!!!".

Forming in Germany in the late 90s, Maroon released their debut EP in 2000 on Kerosene Recordings. Featuring six tracks (one of which would be re-recorded for the Antagonist album), this EP set the tone for what would be expected from the band from that point on: metallic hardcore from Germany. Not unlike their counterparts in Arkangel, Maroon was very centered in their vegan straight edge beliefs and were quite vocal about said issues. Both the Captive In The Room In The Conspirator EP AND the split release with Self-Conquest feature a rather lengthy writing explaining the band's stance on the militancy of their cause.

While "The Key" (the split with Self-Conquest) was released in 2002 after their debut EP in 2000, it featured older material that was recorded between 1998 and 2000. Self-Conquest were pretty similar in style despite not being as good (which is why the post is not about them). Upon listening closely to this split album featuring early Maroon material, one can hear quite a few Arkangel riffs spread throughout. Specifically, the riff at 2:18 into The Second When We Kiss essentially being the same riff as on From Heaven We Fall by Arkangel.

It was after these two releases that Maroon would release the classic album, Antagonist. Seeing its release in the United States by Catalyst Records, the album would go on to become a sort of cult-classic amongst an already obscure vegan straight edge scene. Despite the band never making a trip to the United States for a tour, the album has managed to go to press at least two times over this way.

While one could probably find a copy of Antagonist with a few minutes of online browsing (and I'd highly recommend doing so), tracking down physical discs of the debut EP or split is next to impossible. I had been looking for these album since I was first introduced to the band in 2002 to no avail. I'm a pretty resourceful guy yet came up with nothing. As mentioned in an earlier post, Keith from Hell Fest's CD collection was essentially donated to this blog and I managed to find copies of both discs within the crates given to me. Back when I would talk shit on Arkangel with one of the Maroon members on AIM in 2003, he informed me that they would fly over every year for Hell Fest and would give Keith copies of their albums and beg him to let them play to no avail. Eight years down the road, I would end up with these actual copies of their CDs that were being referenced in our conversation; proving that the earth is a very small place.

I consider this to be the xMaroonx discography due to the band deciding to drop the X's after the release of the monumental Antagonist album. All of their post-2002 albums on Century Media are obviously still in production and readily available. I haven't really kept track since the Endorsed By Hate album but have heard random tracks here and there that seemed to range anywhere from random black metal riffs to epic power metal-styled clean vocals ... who knows?

I want to say that some sort of sincerity leaks through this early material that wasn't there on a lot of other xVx albums coming out at the time, but I don't even know if this is true; especially knowing the current status of the band. There are a million different rumors concerning the band's current stance on veganism and straight edge, but I personally don't care at this point. At the end of the day, they wrote an awesome vegan sing-a-long anthem that totally brought me into the struggle and that's all that really matters upon looking back.

DOWNLOAD - "The Key" split with Self Conquest (2000)
DOWNLOAD - Captive In The Room Of The Conspirator (2000)
DOWNLOAD - Antagonist (2003)

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