Caliban could rip the face off a Rottweiler at a thousand paces if the opening track to new album ‘Say hello to tragedy’ is anything to go by. A storming journey into the darkside of brutal metal, this album looks set to propel them into the major league.
Opener ’24 years’ is a storming melee of brutal kick-drum action, Fear Factory esque vocal harmonies and throat-shredding screams. It passes in the blink of an eye only for ‘Love song’ to appear out of a swirling mist of synth before turning into Devin Townsend covering the Terminator theme at something approaching light speed. Warped vocals collide with viciously down-tuned riffing to create a true anthem for the mosh-pit – make no mistake this is toxic stuff.
Caliban’s revenge’ is up next, a storming track that is more straight forward than the first two tracks, but still guaranteed to get heads-a-banging although the clean vocals on the chorus do veer dangerously into Killswitch engage territory (something to be avoided at all costs). ‘End this sickness’, alas, makes the same mistake damaging what is otherwise an awesome track. Moving swiftly on ‘Walk like the dead is a ballad’ that simmers gently, the clean vocals working better here than when placed between screams in the somewhat arbitrary fashion of so many so-called ‘metal-core’ bands. ‘No one is safe’ happily returns to more brutal pastures with nary a clean vocal in sight to ruin things and a riff that could demolish buildings. Equally ‘liar’ is none-more-brutal until a melodic bridge section which works because it is unexpected rather than formulaic and actually sounds like something new. ‘The degeneration of humanity’ open in an ominous fashion before taking flight with a razor-sharp riff that cuts like steel and the song gets bonus points for featuring a tasty solo that demonstrates the talents of lead guitarist Marc Goertz who clearly knows his way around the fret-board. ‘Unleash your voice’ is a nasty slice of primal metal but unfortunately it resorts to the good vocal/bad vocal of ‘Caliban’s revenge’ and ‘end this sickness’.
‘All I gave’ opens with an array of interesting sounds before a quiet guitar line creeps in. Here the band use clean and brutal vocals largely at the same time – a technique which distinguishes them from the dreaded KSE and which sounds pretty damn good. ‘In the name of progress is a storming track, thrashing around to its conclusion before waves of feedback introduce album closer ‘coma’ which shifts through a variety of tempos and styles over its five minute run time.
Overall Caliban have the potential to be a truly awesome force in metal if only they’d ditch the obnoxiously Killswitch engage moments – a trick that’s been done to death in the last few years (Adam D even helped to mix the album for crying out loud) – and which limits Caliban to a style of metal that is rapidly becoming cliché-ridden. On the whole the album has enough ideas to stand on its own merits – a clashing tour-de-force of brutal metal with enough innovation thrown in (if you ignore the offending tracks) to keep the listener hooked. Expect great things form the future and pick up this hugely enjoyable album in the meantime, but this is not yet the work that will label Caliban as one of metal’s great innovators.
Special Edition Notes
Aside from the usual CD/download options Century Media have released this album as a limited edition digi-pack and limited LP/CD package both of which are obviously of greatest interest to fans of the band and collectors. The LP in particular is worth picking up as Century Media have a reputation for investing a lot of time and effort into making their LPs top-of-the line affairs with 180g vinyl and stunning art-work.