Somewhere in the neighborhood of MARTYR AD and BLEEDING THROUGH resides Germany's MAROON. The sheer weight of the former and the manic song-craft of the latter pop up at various points throughout "Endorsed by Hate". After forming in 1998, the straightedge and vegan (what's left?) quartet released the "Captive in the Room of the Conspirator" MCD, a split EP with SELF CONQUEST, and the "Antagonist" full-length before unleashing "Endorsed by Hate" on Alveran Records in early 2004 and Abacus Recordings in 2005. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for metallic, tough-guy hardcore, but with each new release in this flooded market, the adrenaline flows a little slower (with a few exceptions …STAMPIN' GROUND, A18, TERROR, anyone?). Now I'm not saying that "Endorsed by Hate" isn't a solid, face-breaking metallic hardcore release. It certainly is; it's just damn tough for all but the most talented and original 'core bands to stand out in the crowd.
Aside from a few tried and true hardcore tricks, the group does inject a fair amount of its own personality into a batch of songs that induce tooth loss and much frothing at the mouth. The breakdown-ridden arrangements, kick-drum thunder, and scalding riffs are made even darker and more menacing by a Tue Madsen production (THE HAUNTED, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, EXMORTEM), as well as the mouth-full-of-gravel barks of Andre Moraweck. Several tunes are worthy of note. The SLAYER-esque twin-guitar misery lines are busted out during the first two minutes of "Watch It All Come Down" before a shout of "Let's go!" takes the stomp plod up a notch and the killing begins in earnest. BLEEDING THROUGH's raging style (complete with synth accent line) is heard on the rather tuneful "Without", while those now cliché and desperate-sounding spoken parts (ala UNEARTH and about 50 others) leap out of the mix on chug monsters "At the Gates of Demise" and "Suffer or Endure". You even get bits of somber acoustic guitar that morph into dense riff crunch on the brooding instrumental, "The Omega Suite". Live performance videos of "Shadows of the Vengeance" and "Still Believe in What Has Fallen Apart" (both on the "Antagonist" album) from the With Full Force festival are enhanced CD treats.
In the final analysis, "Endorsed by Hate" is a decent album, but you've heard much of it before. In consideration of limited funds, you'd probably be better off purchasing "One with the Underdogs", "A New Darkness Upon Us" or "This is Love, This is Murderous". A tough one to rate because I dig the battering ram style, but it's a competitive field we're talking about.