For my money, Toronto’s Mil-Spec have been one of the best hardcore bands on the map for years now. After a bunch of promising early records, the band released their full-length debut World House during the dark COVID days of 2020. The album was this huge, visceral, searching, ambitious thing, and it really lifted my spirits right when I needed them lifted. Today, without much advance warning, Mil-Spec have released their sophomore LP Marathon, and it’s just as great as I’d hoped it would be.
Mil-Spec dropped the awesome advance single “The Days Don’t End” back in April, and they didn’t intend for Marathon to be a surprise release. Guitarist Matt LaForge tells me that “there was a rigamarole with the streaming platforms,” and they only just figured out that the album would be ready for release. But Marathon is here now, and it fucking rules. It’s the kind of primal, heart-on-sleeve melodic hardcore that almost nobody makes these days, and it hits me right in the gut.
Alongside “The Days Don’t End,” Marathon includes a re-recorded version of Mil-Spec’s 2019 stand-alone single “Just Our Imagination.” The album also has “Belle Époque,” a six-minute synthpop track where Sophie Vallée, wife of singer Andrew Peden, recites a monologue about the time, just before COVID, that the band drove to Dallas and played Power Trip’s Evil Beat fest, seeing the late Riley Gale for what turned out to be the last time. LaForge tells me that “Belle Époque” was inspired by Arab Strap’s “First Big Weekend.” It’s heavy.
Mil-Spec co-produced Marathon with their buddy Ned Russin, the Glitterer mastermind who used to lead Title Fight. Arthur Rizk mixed and mastered the record, and Wild Side’s Brandon MacFarlane and 9 Million’s Danielle Clark add guest vocals. I’m mad at Drake for releasing a gigantic album this morning and preventing me from spending real quality time with Marathon, but after one listen, I can tell you that I love it. If you aren’t a fucking psycho, attempting to review the Drake album on the day it comes out, you should really dive all the way in. Mil-Spec also have a few shows coming up; check those out and stream Marathon below.
10/15 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
10/27 – Edmonton, AB @ The Buckingham ^
10/28 – Calgary, AB @ Modern Love ^
10/29 – Vancouver, BC @ 369 Carrall ^
11/11 – Toronto, ON @ Nineteen Seventy-Eight & Toronto Style @$
11/12 – Syracuse, NY @ Silver Street @&
* with Fucked Up
^ with Wild Side & Best Wishes
@ with Diztort & Truth Cult
$ with Demolition, Stigmatism, Gil Sayfan, Lice, & Bliss Fields
& with Street Hassle & Prime Suspect
Marathon is out now on Lockin’ Out Records.