For most bands, reaching two decades into your career can cause a lot of pressure. Any hinderance such as becoming repetitive musically or releasing a sub-par album can lead to a fan backlash. However, this is not the case for CALIBAN. The German metalcore act show no signs of slowing down and they have set the bar at its highest for album number ten, Gravity.
The five-piece formed in Hattingen in 1997 and have since been making a name for themselves in the metalcore scene. With their 2014 release, Ghost Empire reaching Number 7 in the German Album Chart, CALIBAN are continuing their ascent to become one of Germany’s biggest exports.
Gravity kicks off in fine fashion with the frenetic Paralyzed. The immediate similarities to War Is The Answer era FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH resonate throughout the track. It is brutal, but extremely compelling. The chorus provides a haunting counterbalance to the brutality of Paralyzed. Just one track in and CALIBAN have written a metalcore masterpiece which is an early candidate for song of the year.
Mein schwarez Herz provides that same instance of imminent heaviness which then transcends into a stomping chorus, filled with eerie backing vocals.
Who I Am begins with a djent-style riff which wouldn’t be out of place on a MESHUGGAH album. However as the track progresses, the modern UK metal influences are heard, especially from the likes of BURY TOMORROW, and even elements of WHILE SHE SLEEPS within the gang vocals.
Left For Dead is a masterclass in metalcore. It is nothing too extravagant, just a barrage of riffs accompanied by pounding drums and vocals filled with angst – simple, yet effective. Following on from “metalcore 101” is Crystal Skies, a track which screams out HATEBREED, especially within Andreas Dörner’s vocals.
One of the most noticeable components of metalcore is the similarity of some songs within an album. In this case, Walk Alone gets merged into this category. It has moments of greatness, particularly within the breakdown, but overall it feels too formulaic and generic.
The Ocean’s Heart provides a moment of redemption. CALIBAN have taken the tempo down a notch, which helps the clarity of the instrumentation. It is still chaotic musically, but lyrically it is the most powerful track on Gravity. “Can’t you feel the pain?” rings out in the chorus in a chilling manner.
One of the first instances of a clean guitar tone is heard in brOKen. The entirety of the track is sombre, but the passion is clear and provides a moment of reflection. It is evident that CALIBAN write songs with true intent and meaning. The softness subsides when For We Are Forever kicks in. The track is a prime example to prove that Gravity is one of CALIBAN‘s heaviest albums to date, an incredible feat for a band who have been releasing music for 20 years.
A highlight from Gravity comes from Inferno. It encapsulates all that is metal. From the chugging riffs, to the bellowing of “Inferno” and the clean, catchy chorus, Inferno will be an incredible track to witness live. No Dream Without A Sacrifice is the main instance on the album which illustrates CALIBAN’s death metal roots. There is not a moment throughout the track for a breath – from start to finish it takes you on a ride through the depths of metal.
Finishing the album is Hurricane, which is the most apt name for any song of the album. The entire track is a whirlwind, sending you in all directions. CALIBAN have really mastered the art of switching up their songs at the appropriate points, between the softer parts and the anarchic moments.
It truly can be claimed that Gravity is CALIBAN‘s finest album. Throughout the twelve tracks, Gravity is a thrilling musical roller coaster, with very little disappointment. If CALIBAN continue to release songs to the calibre of Paralyzed and Inferno and manage to avoid the trap of repetitiveness, then there is no reason why they cannot be one of the biggest metalcore bands in the world.
Gravity will be released on the 25th March via Century Media Records