If you look up “Maranatha” on Facebook, you’ll mostly find three things: my favorite brand of almond butter, about 50 different churches, a Christian college and one of the best new stoner-sludge metal bands. Out of the four, I’d personally go with the almond butter. That stuff is delicious. Next, I would pick the stoner-sludge band, Maranatha.
When I first heard about the band from my hometown of Columbus, I was surprised to see a sludge metal act named “Maranatha.” It is the expression St. Paul uses at the end of 1 Corinthians to say, effectively, “The Lord Cometh.” I guess it also makes a rad name for a sludgy hardcore band. Their new EP was recorded all in three days with Collin Simula playing all instruments. Being a one-man band might make live shows a bit less common, but it doesn’t change how impressive Spiritless is. The EP is only six songs long and clocks in at around 17 minutes, but odds are that you’ll end up listening to it multiple times.
While it isn’t an entirely unique EP, it is a great mix of slow, angsty-sludge metal, and quick, noisy hardcore. To top it off, the last track, “Spiritless,” adds a dose doom metal into the mix for a perfect closer. In comparative terms, the EP sounds like a mix between High on Fire and The Chariot’s debut album.
Perhaps equally notable are the lyrics. With lines such as “Where can I go from your spirit? Where flee from your presence? Am I missing something? Are my eyes closed? I’ve tried my damnedest, but my heart is hollow,” it’s unfortunate they might be ignored by many in the Christian music scene. They aren’t “Spirit-filled hardcore,” but instead are striving so much for God, even in the difficult times of life. It’s the raw honesty similar to Pedro the Lion that gets you thinking, instead of just enjoying another mindless sludge album.