This was a release I was really looking forward to, but that kinda got lost in my (recently more than bad) memory. Being on the hunt to check out the new BoySetsFire album, I came across this one and with my refreshed memory, I'm here with the latest album of "one of Germany's bst metalcore acts" (Quote from various magazines)
I had doubts regarding that statement with the last album, and I have them even more with this one. Not that Caliban are not one of the best outfits of hard guitar driven music emerging from Germany, but that this is pure Metalcore. I personally think there is even more Metal edge present here than on "The Opposite from within". But I'm not the all knowing metalhead, so I might be mistakin' here (someone like ShadowsFallen should give his verdict on this matter ;))
Within the two years that have passed since their last release, a bit has changed. Regarding the song structures and performance alike. Melodic passages were present on the last album as well, but those were sung by guest vocalists on the album. This time they were all recorded by the guitarist (who also does all the melodic vocals live). He has really worked on his vocal performance, very good improvement to be noticed there. The lead guitar changed a bit as well IMO. Maybe it was the influence Andres of Ghoteburg-based band In Flames had producing this album. Some leads sure show Ghoteburg roots IMO. Which is not necessary a bad thing. I alwayws liked it with Heaven Shall Burn, so it's cool here as well.
What bums me a bit though is the typical song structure. The songs turned out pretty much Killswitch Engage style. Shouted/screamed verses, supported by chuggin' guitars, double bass. The usual shebang. Then a clean melodic chorus, nice guitar melodies and vocal harmony. Don't get me wrong here, it's really done good. Songs like "My fiction beauty" really show their strong side during the chorus, which comes through the melodic touch. And though "No more 2nd chances" starts with a simple picked guitar line, it soon goes into the known and mentioned structure, with a screamed chorus though. It seems it's just the scheme inverted - on at least two or three songs, I would loved to hear a more or less complete different approach.
Still, the work done here is definately upper-par. Andy does a great job on the vocals, presenting low grunting shouts paired with screams in a higher pitch. And like I mentioned, the musical work is on the known level. The lyrics seem to have improved as well, on the former album they unfortunately seemed pretty weak here and there. It looks like a more consistent work here.
Overall, this is a consequent and solid follow up to "The opposite from within", defining the sound and style of the band further. I hope though that they will not just turn into one of these bands "doing the Killswitch Engage thing". It seemed less obvious on their last record.
Overall I would give this a lean 3/5