Metalcore stalwarts Caliban freshen things up on album number 8.
The suggestion that Caliban have become a stable of the genre they helped to popularise whilst other bands reached a higher level of popularity in the middle part of the last decade actually does the German five-piece quite a of a disservice.
Caliban - Ghost Empire (OUT NOW on Century Media)Eight albums in, they’ve become remarkably consistent at this metalcore malarkey since their debut on Roadrunner, The Opposite from Within in 2004. Latest effort Ghost Empire broadens the band’s horizons a little; the guitars are tuned a little lower, the beats are a little slower and more punishing and there’s even a tune in their native tongue for good measure. It’s no great shock to the system, but it’s still an impressive record. The introductory mid-paced chug of King begins proceedings with a suitable level of destruction, Andy Dorner’s vocals a little gruffer and production seemingly a little thicker than usual. It sets the tone for what becomes a well-rounded, varied effort, Chaos-Creation boasting an impulsive gang-chant of a chorus inamongst a frenzy of chaotic drums, Your Song a hardcore slugger replete with easily the most violent, sluggish beat of the band’s entire career. Even better, Cries and Whispers encapsulates the band’s strengths in one fantastically intense four-minute burst; an addictive, bursting syncopated beat, soaring chorus replete with Denis Schmidt’s recognisable clean vocals and a dark, urgent streak. This might not translate to the entirety of Ghost Empire, with Nebel standing out more due to its use of German lyrics (a rarity for the band) as opposed to its intense delivery, but as the apex of the record, it’s nigh-on perfect. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrsTMLPrxcY Ultimately, the metalcore genre is arguably too entrenched in its tropes to allow for startling progression at this point, so it’s just as well that Ghost Empire offers enough in terms of expansion to make it something more than simply a worthwhile listen. It might not scale the heights of their own defining moment in the shape of The Awakening, but Caliban’s eighth offering feels fresh enough to warrant attention. 7/10 Ghost Empire is out now on Century Media.