REVIEW: CALIBAN – “Elements”
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
Whenever I hear the notion that rock is dead, metal is dead, I vehemently disagree. With so many modern metal bands flooding the market, both bands brand-new to the industry and established bands that have been around a while, the genre is alive and well and doing fine.
Within this convergence of modern metal lies Caliban, a metalcore quintet out of Germany. Caliban is an example of one of those established bands having released their first studio album in 1999. Their forthcoming effort, ‘Elements’, comes almost 20 years after the release of that first album. Their musical direction has evolved over the years into what is now known as metalcore. With driving drum lines and a mix of clean and screamer vocals, Caliban embodies pretty much everything within the signature modern metal sound. Their heavy moments are majestic in grandeur and intensity, their softer moments are emotional and dynamic. Comparable to Parkway Drive or, dare I say, Linkin Park.
‘Elements’, by all accounts, is a great album. Guitarists Marc Görtz and Denis Schmidt, bassist Marco Schaller, drummer Patrick Grün and vocalist Andy Dörner have put together a masterful modern metal offering consistent with their breakdown-driven and melodic musical history. This outing also boasts several collaborations, such as Matthi from Nasty and Sebastian “Sushi” Beisler from Eskimo Cowboy, both adding vocals to “Ich Blute fur Dich”, the only song done with exclusively German lyrics. German lyrics work with this song perfectly.
Another stand-out song on the album is “Masquerade”. Brian “Head” Welch from Korn fame added vocals to this musical opus with yet another pounding drum line. According to the Caliban website, Andy Dörner delivers both the clean and harsh vocals on this album which is a feat in and of itself. “Before Later Becomes Never” is another highlight featuring Chris “CJ” McMahon from Thy Art is Murder adding his signature growls to the track. The album tops out at 13 tracks freight-training through songs like “This is War”, “I Am Fear”, “My Madness”, “Incomplete” and “Sleepers Awake”, all of which possess the common characteristics of all the great metalcore bands out right now. Nothing More, Asking Alexandria, and the like. Caliban’s take on the genre is a bit more heavy than these comparable bands which is a fresh perspective on modern metal in general.
Unfortunately, with the timing of this album and the overall sound within, and notwithstanding Caliban’s history, this effort could easily be mistaken for a Linkin Park tribute band. Dörner’s clean vocals sound far too purposely similar to Chester Bennington. The more you listen to this 13-track collection, the more it’s noticeable. This IS a good album by all rights. I think die-hard Linkin Park fans will get the most enjoyment from it.