I must confess to being pretty impressed with Oslo quintet Maraton and their Indie Recordings debut, Meta. I will tell you the main thing that I was impressed with; their energy. When I first queued up the opener, Seismic, I will add that I wasn’t expecting much. What I got was an outside stab at alterna-prog! I don’t even know if that is a genre at all, but if it isn’t then Maraton has invented it. At first I just thought they were an anguished Robert Smith clone on top of a bunch of techno nonsense – then I listened closer. They are more than that – much more. Seismic has some good strong vocals, and is sort of an upbeat techno-prog, if yo will.
Blood Music is another uptempo number, with almost sky vocals and some darned good chops. This is not necessarily metal, but there are some heavy passages. At most times one can hear what amounts to, or sounds like, an unholy choir in the background. Their energy is just infectious here and on the other tunes as well.
Prime begins life as another tech tune, but that is just the intro, true believers. The bleeps and bloops quickly give way to wickedly fast drums and guitars, with an instrumental/vocal breakdown and some incredible BASS licks! A big finish for this tune, and you will see a pattern here if you keep listening!
Change of Skin starts with keyboard FX, then strumming, then kicks in and gives us plenty of cool riffing and a nice lead guitar solo about a minute-and-a-half in. Lyrically, “watch me as I am reborn” struck me as the central motif. Dig it!
Altered State is a more upbeat slammer, with cool guitar intro to boot. The dreamy Robert Smith-vocal vibe comes back on this one, and some powerful blast beats on the drums to bang your head to. Plenty of bass and strong vocals and another big finish finds us one closer to the end, unfortunately. This is getting really good!
Body Double is another slammer, with a big engine room (bass and drums) backing the whole adventure, plus vocally we again get the lilting, almost disturbingly so, vocal passages to go along with a strange instrumental bit about two minutes in.
The Manifest Content wins 5 extra cool points for title alone. It features a driving intro, and strings and lots of bass. Mosaic also contains lots of drums and bass, and there’s that anguished vocal again. Awesome. A busy song, if you will. Lots of stuff going on.
Spectral Friends, the closer, is just as you would expect. Ghostly buds. It is a powerful, heavier track. A big, strong finish for all. The vocals are haunting, pun intended. Go out and buy Maraton now!
2. Blood Music
4. Change of Skin
5. Altered State
6. Body Double
7. The Manifest Content
9. Spectral Friends
Playing Time: 39 minutes and 14 seconds
Fredrik Bergersen Klemp
Jon Vegard Næss