Marathon - Marathon (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Marathon (2005)

Reignition / Art Injection

Marathon's quirky brand of hardcore punk was accompanied by an eloquently stated socio-politico mindset on their debut EP, Songs To Turn The Tide, and showed a veritable ton of promise in the upstate New York-based outfit. So what makes their first full-length so disappointing? A variety of traits as numerous as what made the EP so good, actually.

The disc starts promisingly with a declaratory alarming guitar riff in the right speaker and the opening salvo of "Let's start a war! Let's start a war! What the hell do you think all these new bombs are for?!" It's chock full of catchy, anti-chorus parts, above-par vocal harmonies and fast-paced tempos. Its follower "I Don't Have A Dancing Problem" is another superb track, but immediately after, that's about where Marathon's self-titled debut starts to falter. The remaining portion of the record flip-flops between a boring, slowed down take on the EpiFat sound and fangless melodic rock. Marathon just seems like a forced effort to evolve and make a more accessible sound, as in "Gouge 'Em Out, They're Useless Anyway," which has a small handful of lyrical lines repeated with distortion and add nothing to the song but pointless repetition. The second half blows by without much notice, save for the acoustic ditty "Names Have Been Changed (To Protect The Guilty)."

While there are plenty spots of smart articulation the band initially started developing a following on, a disappointing portion of Marathon relies on poorly worded statements and observations, irritatingly inconsistent in comparison with the preceding release. Even in one of the few standouts on the record -- the aforementioned "I Don't Have A Dancing Problem" -- the lead vocalist simply sings "Everyone's a dealer selling bad shit to each other." They just seem lazy and careless at otherwise important moments like these, when it's obvious the band has the ability to be blunt in more expressive mannerisms. Granted, there are more personal narratives scattered throughout the record than past material, but passages like "This human virus is a nasty contagion / We spread our cancer as we multiply / Our sightless hubris will crush civilization / Soon we'll be harvesting our own demise" prove they still have the ability to write a Biafra-like college thesis of melodicore -- this just isn't it.

There's so much more Marathon could've been, and it only seems to meet it halfway. Here's to hoping it's an early career identity crisis and the band can find a comfortable niche on their next effort.

Paint By Numbers
I Don't Have A Dancing Problem