Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: Caliban - I Am Nemesis

 I was actually really surprised when I fist discovered how long German metalcore quintet Caliban had been around for. I first came across them when journeying through Youtube looking for new bands and found some of their songs gathered in with the likes of We Came As Romans, Capture the Crown and Spies Like Us. So I figured they probably formed together around 2007 or something and gone an opposite direction from their peers by choosing a more traditional manner of making metal rather than the whole inclusion of trancey synthesizers and auto-tune. But, it turns out they've been around since 1997 and have released eight albums, the latest of which I Am Nemesis is a continuation of group's more violent and brutal take on horror punk. So nothing new then.

 Nothing new indeed. Caliban have effectively managed to shape their own definitive style of playing and when listening to a lot new metalcore acts of this generation such as The Devil Wears Prada, The Word Alive and even (groans) Attack Attack! a similar musical style to the past works of Caliban, so it's seems unlikely that they would totally revolutionize their style now. Jeez, they're not Korn! But the seriously hard hitting and devastatingly brutal impact of their music cannot be denied and it's still more prevalent than ever on I Am Nemesis. And thus, meaty breakdowns from Denis Schmidt and Marc Görtz are found on... pretty much every track alongside the deliriously evil vocals of Andreas Dörner which are filled with astonishing amounts of crude and unrefined bile. So, while there isn't a song on this album that doesn't involve a display of unforgiving forceful breakdowns and relentless rage, sometimes we can find riffs to be more thrashy and straight heavy metal based than others like Edge of Black and Dein R3.ich featuring driving that also carry with them the group's greater punk mentality.
 So, the basic work of the album is simply a powerful array of pounding breakdowns and epic punk riffs delivered as brutally as possible, which is awesome. More interesting on this album are the kind of effects that go on beyond the metalcore. They manage to be some of the really captivating moments of the album. Moments such as the synthesizer usage across Broadcast to Damnation with it's trancey backdrops and usage of the effect where the music is slowed down before transcending into another breakdown. I don't know the technical terms for it. Bring Me the Horizon and Asking Alexandria make good use of the technique, which suggests that Caliban may have looked at the modern peers as an influence during the making of this album. The synthesizer usage also appears in the form of usage of samples, which leads to the album's highlight on Davy Jones, which takes place just past the three minute park, which is actually indescribably incredible to hear. I won't give away what happens but if you love heavy drops to come out out of nowhere, then you're in for a treat. This Oath contrasts from this using a genuine symphonic backdrop to their insanity-filled metalcore in a similar vein to Bleeding Through, who are very much their America's answer to Caliban.
 So, Caliban have brought nothing new to the table with I Am Nemesis, but there is still a truly epic metalcore performance to be found. The album is alive in it's sheer insanity and furious delirium with which these songs are delivered with lot's of additional moments that create a more atmospheric and grand approach to the listening. So, prepare yourself for absolute intensity as you listen to this album, but chances are you won't be too surprised by what's on offer.

 Caliban's I Am Nemesis is out now via Century Media.

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