THE MAPLE ROOM - Cities Of Hunger

The Maple Room - Cities Of Hunger

10 songs
44:02 minutes
***** ***


Belgian metalcore band The Maple Room was founded in 2002 and soon self-released an EP. Funtime Records didn’t hesitate signing them, and still have high hopes, as Cities Of Hunger is already the band’s third album.

I didn’t really like their last CD A Glimpose Of The Inside which was a rather run-of-the-mill metalcore album, but things have dramatically improved with the new Cities Of Hunger. The old metalcore influences are still present, but the songs come this time with tons of new elements. One reason for this may be the new vocalist Marcus Deblaere whose voice is perfect for the quieter and melancholic parts, with bassist Dries Mangelschots being in charge of the screams. The mix of different styles could be formally labelled post hardcore, with the richness of ideas reminding somewhat of The Refused. Every track still features screamo vocals, low tuned guitars and mean bass lines, but the band sounds more varied than on the predecessor. The songwriting is technically more impressive than before. Indie, emo rock, grunge, stroner and nu metal are only a few styles you will encounter on this record.

I especially like the slightly longer title track which seems inspired by American nu rock and Karsakov with its intense hardcore parts. It seems nearly contradictory that the angry growls on Vultures is followed by a sugar-sweet chorus, but it’s this crossovering that makes the music so redeeming. The splendid digipak also adds to the overall value, even though the writing is hard to decipher.

It’s very commendable that the Belgians have freed themselves from their past and were able to come forward with a truly mature album full of ingenuity. Belgian may not have qualified for the soccer world championship, but the summer is saved with the excellent Cities Of Hunger.

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