Monday, April 16, 2012

Caliban - I Am Nemesis

Caliban
I Am Nemesis
Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

In their early days, German based outfit Caliban were a force to be reckoned with. The band’s early albums helped establish the current metalcore movement, long before the scene and genre was firmly established and taken over by a multitude of followers. But somewhere along the way, Caliban seemed to lose a bit of their footing, which meant that while they were still a worthy outfit, their recorded output seemed to pale in comparison to some of the scene’s newcomers.
After releasing their less than well received ‘Say Hello To Tragedy’ full-length effort in 2009, the band decided to have a bit of fun and release a rather short covers E.P. in ‘Coverfield’ in 2011. It was hardly the sort of release that showcased what Caliban were about, and left many feeling that the band’s better days were long behind them.
A year on, and the five-piece act (Comprising of vocalist Andreas Dörner, guitarists Denis Schmidt and Marc Görtz, bassist Marco Schaller and drummer Patrick Grün) are back with their eighth full-length effort ‘I Am Nemesis’. And what a turn around the release is for the band.
After a string of releases that seemed to focus more on melody and breakdowns, Caliban have managed to craft an album where the balance of aggression and melody has been restored to all its former glory, and inspiration is found in abundance throughout the twelve new tracks the band have to offer throughout the album.
With the spoken words of ‘You gotta be fucking kiddin’ me’, the band gets the album off to a punishing start with the opening track ‘We Are The Many’. With the combination of melodic death metal riffs, upfront keyboards, Dörner’s dual vocals (Screams and cleaner lines) and a host of guest vocalists throughout the choruses (Heaven Shall Burn’s Marcus Bischoff, Suicide Silence’s Mitch Lucker and The Mercury Arc’s Benny Richter), ‘We Are The Many’ is a killer opening track, and one that clearly states Caliban’s return to form.
Despite its dodgy title, ‘The Bogeyman’ is a hammering track where the drumming and breakdowns takes centre stage during the verses, while the keyboards flesh out the choruses, while the follow-on track ‘Memorial’ follows a similar path, albeit with a greater breakdown section towards its tail end.
‘No Tomorrow’ is definitely a favourite with its rather straight-forward metallic direction, harmonised guitar solo and catchy choruses, while tracks such as ‘Edge Of Black’, the darker sounding ‘Davy Jones’ and the scathing/soaring ‘Open Letter’ are further stand out cuts.
But Caliban’s latest release isn’t all about catchier elements thrown together with the aggressive, with songs such as rhythmic and groove driven ‘Deadly Dream’, ‘Dein R3.ich’ (Which again features guest vocalists Bischoff, Lucker and Richter) and the mildly catchy ‘Broadcast To Damnation’ prove.
The atmospheric and somewhat experimental ‘This Oath’ is an interesting diversion with its semi-ballad like moments and heavier passages, while ‘Modern Warfare’ (Which features Christoph Koterzina on clean vocals) finishes the album on an incredibly high note with its hard hitting metallic foundation and stunning choruses.
After a couple of unremarkable efforts, ‘I Am Nemesis’ signifies a huge return to form for the long running German metalcore act, and one that’s sure to have fans who faded away over the last six years coming back in their droves.

For more information on Caliban, check out - http://www.calibanmetal.com/

© Justin Donnelly