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Maplerun - Partykrasher Award winner

by Anna Chase at 03 August 2017, 5:07 PM

MAPLERUN are a four-part band based out of Athens, Greece. I must admit, the first thing that stood out to me about the band was their name. What is a maplerun? What gave them the inspiration to name their band thus? If anyone could enlighten me about the origins of the band’s name, I would be grateful. However, what’s more striking about MAPLERUN is the fact that since the release of their debut album, “House on Fire”, in 2007, they’ve had one of their songs featured in the video game Rock Band and played at major music festivals Hard Rock Hell and Hammerfest VI. Amazingly, they’ve also toured with internationally-known bands such as KATATONIA, AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE, and SKINDRED. For a band that only started ten years ago, they’ve achieved incredible things in such a short period of time.

The group’s newest album, “Partykrasher”, was released in April of 2017. “Partykrasher” was actually produced by David Bottrill, if you don’t know who he is, he’s the guy behind productions for well-known Metal bands such as STONE SOUR, GODSMACK, and TOOL. Oh, and one more thing to add to the list of MAPLERUN’s accomplishments. They’ve become such a musical phenomenon in Europe that they’ve received an endorsement by Unity Clothing, as well as an offer for partnership with USA-based Pavement Music, and their guitarist Orestis has a deal with Orange Amplification. Needless to say, their particular style of Nu-Metal/Alt-Rock fusion is a standout, and their talent and rapid rise to renown are signs of good things to come.

The first track, “DIY”, opens with a rhythmic, muted guitar riff which slowly gains momentum along with Nick’s heavy-hitting whispers of “save the world, god.” Despite the Alt-Rock-ish intro and the lilting vocal melody, reminiscent of the style of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, this song has a heavy, almost Punk-influenced undertone created by the guitar and drums which perfectly compliments the rhythmic breakdown in the middle. “Keep On Staring” definitely brings the power and anger, which tend to make the most energetic, emotionally stirring Metal songs. This song is the pretty lovechild of early Nu-Metal and Alternative, and has a powerful central drumbeat which winds inbetween the surprisingly melodic guitar riffs. The tone of this song, especially the rhythm and Rap-style vocals, strongly resembles that of 90’s bands like P.O.D. and SALIVA.

In “When You’re Down”, the band decides to take things in a heavier, slower route. The Alt-Rock influence is still there, but this one has a great swinging guitar and bass groove that continues for the entire song. Here you can really see why RADIOHEAD and TOOL are some of their biggest influences. The gritty, chugging guitar riffs combine with very Hetfield-ish vocals to create a song that’s heavy-feeling but still melodic, and presents a powerful message of optimism and self-reliance. “Give It To You” was, in my opinion, one of the most fun songs of this whole album. The multiple speed and rhythm changes keep the listener engaged, while the chanted vocals give the track the Nu-Metal vibe that MAPLERUN does so well. While this one wasn’t as musically heavy as some of the others, the aggressive lyrics and almost percussive guitar riffs certainly packed a punch.

In “Partybomb”, the guitars are in the spotlight. They have that familiar Nu-Metal distortion, and growl along behind Nick’s shouts in an enchantingly dark riff. The drums also deserve recognition here. They unite all the different components of this song into one cohesive, headbang-worthy masterpiece. Despite the overarching Nu-Metal vibe, an Alt-Rock melody manages to wind its way in with a MUSE-inspired guitar melody which cuts in and out. “Replace Me” is a killer Heavy Metal anthem which makes clever use of the juxtaposition between unearthly acoustic verses and an explosive, distorted chorus which sounds vaguely like a PANTERA riff. Nick’s vocals take on an edge here. He snarls out the lyrics with newfound energy and matches the power of the drums, bass, and guitar. This song is the best of the album; it’s catchy, but with a much-appreciated heaviness and shimmering solo.

In “Krash”, things slow down a little bit in an eerie, Stoner Metal-influenced track which breaks up booming guitar riffs and pounding drums with bouncing rhythms and light vocals. This song wasn’t one of my favorites. It did seem a bit disjointed and just didn’t fit musically with the rest of the album. However, I can appreciate what the band was trying to do here with mixing different styles and tones. “Wasted” opens with a beautiful, slightly melancholy intro which stars the vocals and acoustic guitar, however, the track soon blasts (literally!) into a sudden and shocking transition to a heavy groove and shouted vocals. The chorus is radio hit material for sure, and takes advantage of MAPLERUN’s unique way of hopping from one rhythm and style to a completely different one in order to keep the audience’s attention.

In “Arrow”, rhythmic guitar picking again plays a crucial role in establishing the heavier tone of the song and adding to the percussive element. The gritty, chugging guitar riff is truly the star of this track in the way it contrasts with the melodic, resonating lead riff, it is magical, and it bridges the gap between Nick’s commanding vocals and the background drums and bass. This song has a lot of depth, and is a flawlessly executed mixture between Nu-Metal rhythms and Alt Rock harmonies. “Remedy”, the last song, begins slowly and slightly ominously with echoing vocals and haunting acoustic guitar. This piece is structured much like a MAIDEN song, especially one off of their newest album, and it was a pleasant surprise to see how MAPLERUN interpreted a NWOBHM style. They do it very well for being a self-proclaimed Nu-Metal/Alt Rock band. Here they finish off the album with a mix of catchy hooks, intense choruses, and dynamic rhythms that constantly shift and move along with the track’s melody. This song had a sultry, swaggering groove that leaves the listener wanting more, and is one of the best on the album.

Overall, I was very impressed by MAPLERUN. They obviously have so much passion for what they do, and that emotion and dedication shines through in their music. Most importantly, they create something new, by crafting a carefully structured mix of multiple styles, tones, and rhythms, they really stand out through their unique sound. “Partykrasher”, in all effect, is sure to bring the party to you.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. DIY
2. Keep On Staring
3. When You’re Down
4. Give It To You
5. Partybomb
6. Replace Me
7. Krash
8. Wasted
9. Arrow
10. Remedy
Nick- Vocals/guitar
Orestis- Guitar
Chris “Jo”- Drums
Nick “the Moor”- Bass
Record Label: Independent


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