Album Review: Caliban – Elements

In literature, Caliban is the main character of William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. A half man/half monster, Caliban was a monstrosity who inflicted pain an grief upon those who crossed him. Pain, sadness, fear, hatred, loneliness were all emotions inflicted by this cantankerous and mischievous individual, and all are emotions created by varying experiences and encounters we can all have in our day to day lives. Each and every person has faced their own ‘Caliban’ on numerous occasions. Whether it be through the pain and sadness that comes from the loss of love, the fear of the state of things around you in the world, the hatred towards those who have wronged you, or the loneliness you can feel when it feels as if you’re the only one left with any of these afflictions. These are all sentiments which the band Caliban has demonstrated better than ever before on their new album, entitled Elements. The groups latest effort has taken all the ferocity and vicious intensity from some of their past albums, but combined all of that relentless energy and combined it with a melody rarely heard before from the German heavy hitters.

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Genre: Metalcore
Label: Century Media Records Ltd.
Release: April 6, 2018
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play
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The album begins with a ferocious fire. A violent and vehement track, the singer will assuredly be seeing red within the first mere moments. “This Is War” sets the landscape for the onslaught that is to come. Initially the song starts off on the quieter side with an antagonized sounding guitar riff, and single piano key. This swiftly ramps up to a devilish pace with bone rattling guitars and bass combined with chaotic blast beats. The song is a back breaking head banger, but finds a healthy balance with a melody one could also tap their feet to. The breakdown is a rhythmic monster, with vocalist Andy Dorner screaming ‘VIOLENCE! RESISTANCE!’, the listener won’t be able to resist the mosh it is sure to induce (Even if they’re simply in their own home. Prepare for damaged personally property if this is the case). To start off the album with such a rager was a perfect choice. This track will more than get your adrenaline pumping right off the bat.

For all of their fervent heaviness, the band has never been a stranger to the more melodic side of metalcore. But before Elements, it had not been shown with this great of execution. Case in point; “Before Later Becomes Never”. The song begins with Andy Dorner expressly howling ‘Wake me up!’, inviting the listener to do the same. Pay attention to what comes next, if you will. A measured drumming sets the pace for the equally controlled guitar and bass. One thing (among many) the group has done differently on Elements is that rhythm guitarist, Denis Schmidt, has taken a step back from his clean vocal duties, and Andy Dorner has taken on the task of both clean and harsh. This song is a wonderful introduction into hearing the progression with what Andy has been able to do over the years, and the incredible advancements he has made. The breakdown of this track is raging and ballistic. Aside from the definition of the word breakdown, the sheer rage that it is sure to create, will be enough to make you break everything down in sight. CJ McMahon is featured, and there could not have been a more fitting part throughout the entire record. The song executes both melody and intensity in perfect manner, and therefore will cater to fans of both.

CALIBAN – Before Later Becomes Never feat. CJ McMahon (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

CALIBAN – Before Later Becomes Never feat. CJ McMahon (OFFICIAL VIDEO). Taken from the album “Elements”, out April 6th, 2018.

Gravity was one of Caliban‘s first records where fans were introduced to a slightly more experimental side of the group. Certain attributes were added to the bands repertoire that were rarely if ever heard on previous releases. This was a welcome change in direction, as no band (nor their fans for that matter) want to reproduce the same sound or record over and over for fear of becoming bored themselves or sounding stale to their fans. That attention to detail has only further progressed on Elements in fantastic fashion. “Carry On” is perhaps one of Caliban‘s greatest risks, yet most diverse songs they have ever created. On the softer side of the albums spectrum, the verses are lead by Andy Dorner conveying his lyrics in s spoken word/almost rap like delivery over a softened drum play and singular guitar notes. The choruses although much heavier than the verses, are still not as crunching as others on the album. This is a good thing. The overall feel of the song has a phenomenal flow that would have otherwise been disturbed by something too fierce. This song once again shows that Andy Dorner has truly put in the time to further his ever growing skill set. This track could have never fit onto any other Caliban record they have released in the past, but Elements would have been at a miss without it.

For all of the experimentation and softer sides Caliban has tried to find within themselves on Elements, they are still at their truest state, metalcore. From beginning to end this album has no lack of heaviness whether that be portrayed through the instrumentation or the emotion that is conveyed through both words and sounds. But if you’re in search of the song that most resembles the Caliban of ‘ol, look no further than “Masquerade”. Beginning with an eerily haunting choir-like singing and samples, the song kicks into high gear with a monstrous and glorious acuteness that carries on throughout the tracks entirety. The song is relentless, never once letting up on the magnitude of its force. The guitars and bass are the definition of in your face, while the drums more than help to ramp up that sentiment well past one hundred. Another song to have a feature on this album, yet this one will more than likely be a surprise to most. Brian “Head” Welch lends his voice to the song, which if you haven’t heard the blood curdling screams he can put forth, you’re in for a treat. His inhuman growls and screams once again add a perfect ingredient in making this song that much heavier.

CALIBAN – Intoxicated (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

CALIBAN – Intoxicated (OFFICIAL VIDEO). Taken from the album “Elements”, out April 6th, 2018.

When a band chooses to stay on the same path since inception to years down the road, they become stagnant. A band which never experiments with their sound, what they wish to convey lyrically, or simply release tunes to appease the one track minded fan will eventually fade into musical purgatory. There’s no sense of progression which ultimately results in the group becoming complacent in their ways, and irrelevant in their fans eyes as a whole. Sometimes when a group has been around as long as one like Caliban, this sometimes can become the case. Caliban on the contrary have ever endeavored to become something different with each and every record while remaining true to who they really are. With Elements this is thankfully no different. Taking notes from each of their past albums, this was the natural next result from Gravity. Once again the band took some bold risks in taking new approaches to their sound and lyricism which have more than paid off. Throughout the record you can almost feel fire, water, earth, and air correspond with the overall feel and sound to each track. This album will only excite the listener ad to what the future will have in store for this ever progressing group.

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