When Worlds Collide

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One of the original metallic deathcore bands, Germany's Maroon (if you came here looking for soft rock pretty boys Maroon 5, you better run the other way) were overshadowed by countrymen Caliban and Heaven Shall Burn at the start of their career, but their third album, When Worlds Collide, may just serve as their coming-out party. Whereas those bands' concurrent efforts found them either treading creative waters or softening their sound in search of commercial rewards, When Worlds Collide never loses sight of the more brutal thrash and death metal aspects of this suddenly overcrowded genre, delivering an impressive string of cracking good songs, if not a huge amount of entirely fresh ideas. Surely producer Jacob Hansen (Hatesphere, Falconer, Mercenary) is partly responsible here, coaxing loads of Scandinavian death metal-sized riffs and no holds barred performances from the band on standouts "24 Hourhate," "Wake Up in Hell," and "Confessions of the Heretic." Vocalist Andre Moraweck is also in particularly commanding form throughout, but it's a telling sign of his lingering limitations (his voice generally confined to a cookie monster growl) that he had to call on Agnostic Front's Roger Miret to bulldog some lines into "There Is Something You Will Never Erase" and Mercenary's Mikkel Sandager for the climactic, soaring clean vocals heard on "Annular Eclipse" and "Below Existence" -- both unquestionably album highlights. On the upside, where brief little interludes like "Sirius," "Arcturus," and "Koo She" (which dot the album with melodic acoustic guitar and ambient themes) would normally prove distracting and supercilious to the proper songs, Maroon's songwriting is usually textured and versatile enough to accommodate them. The latter fact also supports the overall consistency of the material here, which likely won't catapult Maroon to superstardom, but may bring them closer to the metalcore movement's top echelons.

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