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Stepping From The Shadows: Caliban Discuss 'Ghost Empire'

Thursday, 09 January 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Having walked in the shadows of metalcore’s heavyweights since their debut full-length back in 1999, Caliban haven't often been a hot topic on everyone's lips. But their ninth album, 'Ghost Empire', could change that. Out on January 27, it boasts a collection of songs to rival bands such as Killswitch Engage. Caliban have a gem on their hands.

Prior to the release of the record, we caught up with founding members Andreas Dörner [vocals] and Marc Görtz [lead guitar] to get the skinny on 'Ghost Empire'.

Andreas, the lyrics on the new album all seem to be quite foreboding and apocalyptic, especially on tracks like King and Chaos – Creation.

Andreas: The whole record is very, very dark. We wanted it to be a step up from 'I Am Nemesis' [the band's eighth album], and this one's more about the world and the wrongdoing of mankind. We used very dark topics for the record, and in turn it's created a very dark atmosphere.

The lyrics are in English, except for nebeL, which is sung entirely in your native German.

Andreas: We always like to have something special on each record – something to shift the dynamic. We started on 'I Am Nemesis' with Dein R3.ich, which was sung in both English and German. For this one, we just wanted to try doing a whole song in German. I previously sang Sonne by Rammstein [included on the special edition of 'I Am Nemesis'] – I just like singing in German.

Marc, over the past few albums there has been a Meshuggah influence in the Caliban guitar sound.

Marc: I'm into the Meshuggah stuff, but I don't like it if it's too complicated. For me, it's too much. I can happily listen to a few Meshuggah tracks, but I can't listen to a whole album – I end up drifting away. There isn't enough variation for me. I try to capture the energy of the whole thing, but I try to make it more variable.

Tracks such as Devil's Night, I Am Rebellion and Who We Are sound like they were made to be played live. With such an expansive back catalogue, it must be hard to decide which new songs to add to the setlist.

Marc: Actually, I like the ones you said. I think we're going to try six or seven at first, and then we'll just see what works best. It's just a matter of trying stuff out.

Andreas: I think that will be a problem. Everyone in the band has a different opinion and we all like different things. We don't have a set just yet, but we'll see which songs are strongest during rehearsals. I would pick nebeL, Devil's Night and yOUR Song. I see us picking maybe three or four new songs.

Caliban formed in 1997. In that time, you must've seen some weird stuff on tour.

Andreas: 9/11. At this time we were in the States, and we slept at a friend's house. He woke up in the morning and he was just totally freaked out. He turned on the news and it was the moment where the second plane was crashing into the tower. It was pretty fucked up and a very weird position to be in, especially in the States. It was just crazy.

Marc: Last year in China, we were at this University festival. So the audience wasn't the usual underground one that we usually get – there was such a mix of people. There were people in the moshpit with torches. Burning torches. It was some kind of crazy movement, but they weren't trying to scare or hurt anyone – it was like a circus. But seeing that happen as I played on stage was pretty weird.

You have the power to destroy any album and wipe it from existence. Go.

Andreas: Ooh, that's a tough one [laughs]. What was the album Metallica did after the Black Album. Load! Yeah, everything Metallica did after Black Album should just be destroyed. I was a big fan of Metallica from the beginning, I still liked the Black Album, it wasn't great though. But after that, I just lost track.

Marc: There was this German pop band called Modern Talking. I don't know if you've heard it, but that's got to be the worst thing ever. Don't listen to it.

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