Caliban
Say Hello to Tragedy


3.5
great

Review

by Ethereal Space Yogurt USER (205 Reviews)
August 24th, 2009 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Powerful songwriting and strong musicanship have revitalized the career of this long running German metalcore outfit. Often times melodic and atmospheric, and at other times savage and relentless, Caliban explore new territory while staying true to their

Metalcore is a strange bird. Like an owl perhaps with it’s piercing eyes, constantly angry facial expressions, and seamless ability to turn their heads around to an 270 degree extent. Most people are amused by owls with their plump body structure and oddly cute HOOT! HOOT! HOOTING! patterns that echo through the night. What most people don’t know however, is that owls are savage mother***ers that dispose of their prey in the most vile of manners. Sure they look cute but once you turn your back on a Great Horned Owl, watch out because it’s going to rip you apart with it’s talons. Anyways back to the music. Modern metalcore on one hand is loved by many with it’s fashionable image, catchy choruses, and sick breakdowns while hated by others for the same exact reasons. Caliban fall in between the genre’s constraints although they’ve been around a lot longer than most of these other metal influenced hardcore bands that integrate cleanly sung choruses into brutal hardcore. Caliban, forming in 1997 have released 7 full length albums, all basically relying on staccato riffing, driving verses, and epic choruses to hook the listener. I dub them the German Killswitch Engage for better and worse. This one dimensional approach has been commercially successful for the band but in a double edged sword type situation Caliban has lost much of it’s luster since 2004’s The Opposite From Within. In 2009 something else is happening. Not just that blonde lady’s Chihuahua being snatched up by a ***ing Owl.

Say Hello To Tragedy, the band’s 7th release improves on a stagnant musical style by tightening up on the core songwriting abilities while experimenting with new ideas and dynamics. Caliban’ music has generally been heavy metal core in the vein of Hatebreed, Earth Crisis, and Pantera, but they’ve grown increasingly melodic over the years. This time around Caliban have opted for an atmospheric and textured sound with a striking amount of aggression and melody. You wouldn’t know by the first single “24 Years“. Generally Caliban have been pretty consistent in delivering infectious pit stirring anthems but 24 Years” kind of disappoints. Opening up with blistering drums and shrieking vocals, the song starts off promising enough. But unfortunately the song runs out of steam in the uninspired verse and haphazard chorus. One bright note is the new found emphasis on ambient keyboard runs which would go on to play a bigger role through the album’s 12 track 50 minute duration. Other new influences include the black metal styling’s of “End This Sickness and “Love Song”, the melancholic piano driven “All I Gave”, and orchestral keyboards of “No One Is Safe”. It’s safe to say that Caliban have stepped up their game big time but longtime haters of the band will still find something to complain about.

Guitar wise Caliban will never win any awards for creativity or technical prowess but Marc Goertz and Denis Schmidt have added some new weapons to their previously limited arsenal. Where they were previously constrained to just writing breakdowns and down-tuned chug-a-thons, Caliban now incorporate uplifting melodic passages courtesy of both keyboards and guitars with blistering solos to contrast with the breakneck savagery. There are also a few Meshugga-isms and Industrial metal moments to break up whatever monotony comes there way. Breakdowns are still present but they surprisingly play a diminished role in favor of the aforementioned elements. Also worth mentioning is the second track “Love Song” which bravely attempts to fuse black metal with hardcore punk. Blackcore you say? Well, Abigail Williams and The Funeral Pyre do it so why not. The cluster***ing drunk driving amalgamation that is blast beats and agonizing shrieks stupendously drive head on with Pantera styled groove and punk rock intensity resulting in a hybrid that will be sure to influence a whole new scene. Deathcore? Check. Owlcore? Not quite but blackcore is making a BOLD statement.

There was a time when lead vocalist Andreas Dorner sang and scream. But at some period in time, the singing duties were handed over to guitarist Denis. It doesn’t matter though because both vocalists bring it A game style. Andreas’s distinct German-ized roar, growl, scream, whatever you want to call it sounds crisp and feral. I previously mentioned that he attempts to go black on a few tracks and he does so without overexertion. As for the singing, Denis’s voice is less obnoxious and processed than on The Undying Darkness. Actually this album contains his finest performances. Most notably the ballad “Walk Like The Dead” which features mellow guitar work before erupting into raging hardcore. His contributions feel natural and perfectly complement the spacious musical environment. The harsh/clean transitions run smoother than ever thanks to strong musicianship, stellar songwriting, and cutting edge production. Lyrically, Caliban introduces an idea based on how tragedies could be avoided. If the whole world cared kind of deal, not like Nickleback though. This is Caliban and this is metal.

The rhythm section consisting of Marco on bass and Patric on drums form a competent duo. The drums are loud and crisp thanks to a magnificent production job courtesy of Killswitch Engages Adam D. The bass is also executed with relative ease. Militaristic drum fills, snapping blast beats, and energetic double bass patterns merge with grooving bass lines to solidify a solid musical performance from the band. Caliban have always put on a tight knit performance since I began jamming to them in 2004 and this is no different.

I’ll go out on limb and say this is the best album they’ve released in years. The songwriting has improved tenfold resulting in stronger overall songs. The musicianship has also improved greatly, adding dimension and depth to a rehashed formula, easily separating themselves from the As I Lay Dying’s and Killswitch Engage’s of the world. Melodic yet still heavy, atmospheric without being pretentious, and accessible without any baggage, Say Hello To Tragedy is a career high for Caliban. And like I said before though, anyone who hates Caliban’s earlier material or Caliban just for the hell of it is probably not going to enjoy this. But for open minded people who don’t suck the dicks of douchbaggery and elitism will probably have a different opinion. Overall, Say Hello To Tragedy is a fun and enjoyable album that you and your bros can agree on whether it’s cruising to a strip club, head butting minorities, or going owl hunting. 3.7/5.



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user ratings (128)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
August 24th 2009


44806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

A shoutout goes to the fag who added this album to teh database. Thanks ass, three times and I still cant get the pic up.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

Roach
August 24th 2009


2148 Comments


I used to listen to this band a lot in my early teens, can't say I particularly like anything they've done anymore though.

Ponton
Emeritus
August 24th 2009


5815 Comments


I'll probably check this out at some point.

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2009


17944 Comments


i'm wiley im so cool i insult converge and botch FUCK YOU WILEY

BallsToTheWall
August 24th 2009


44806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'm just insulting the people on sputnik who swear by those two bands and than just fuck off metalcore altogether. Both are pretty good albeit I enjoy these kind of bands more.


4 times I tried to add artwork. And it's Wylie btw.

Roach
August 24th 2009


2148 Comments


I enjoy these kind of bands more.


But they're not as good :-/

BallsToTheWall
August 24th 2009


44806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Technically no but i'm not a logical person. I'm sold on catchy choruses, solos, and well actually...earth Crisis is my favorite core band.

Jim
August 24th 2009


5110 Comments


i guess i won't like this. i thought the awakening was pretty poor

good review mang

BallsToTheWall
August 24th 2009


44806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man, This destroys The Awakening however. The elast you could do is check out a few of the songs at the end of the second paragraph

fireaboveicebelow
August 24th 2009


6837 Comments


so if I don't like Caliban should I get this

BallsToTheWall
August 24th 2009


44806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

At leats check the songs I mentioned out. And/or get the new Ensiferum, it's fucking epic. The new keyboardist is a hottie.

sspedding
August 24th 2009


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i was surprised about how good this was. 24 years is awesome and so are a couple of other tracks. Miles better than the tripe theyv released of late.

Good review

Digging: Devil Sold His Soul - Belong ? Betray

Willie
Moderator
August 25th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Funny intro. Very random. I heard parts of this album and was unimpressed.

Try using this artwork: [a]http://www.mp3boo.com/cover-album/medium985521222111.jpg

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

BallsToTheWall
August 25th 2009


44806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I've tried 7 different covers. Fuck it, i'm done trying.

kenti123
August 25th 2009


136 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this just blasted my ears off.sweet cd.

jingledeath
August 25th 2009


7104 Comments


didn't like the previous album and I was thinking about avoiding this but I'm a bit curious now so I might check out the mentioned tracks

forshoredividesusger
September 1st 2009


34 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

weird. i dont like this band at all, mainly because their singer is a dick (heard some stories from a friend of mine) and all this eyeliner bullshit. but this album has some catchy tunes. nothing innovative or anything, but a very fun listen.

Dystopic
October 30th 2009


183 Comments


Not a redefining album by any stretch, but laden with the catchy hooks and sing-along choruses that defines this group. Another fun Caliban album but still think that 'The Undying Darkness' was their defining moment.

Gnominator
November 14th 2009


41 Comments


Can anybody tell me the story behind the recording? The drum cymbals sounds overly compressed or limited or something, they're really distracting. Maybe that's what the engineer intended?

Writer
November 19th 2009


136 Comments


I'm looking for some catchy metalcore music so I guess this band is a good place to start. Since their albums generally have the same average rating, what's the best place to start?



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