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Caliban - Ghost Empire (Album Review)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Caliban have always, through no fault of their own, failed to make the sort of waves that their abrasive brand of metalcore perhaps should have. On ‘Ghost Empire’, the latest fluctuation in their sound has seen them embrace down-tuned guitars in the same vein as Meshuggah - could it see Caliban rise to the top of the pile?

Well, the first track certainly makes the idea seem feasible. Packing enough punch to knock Mike Tyson's silly tattoo off his face, King is a powerhouse of an opener and proves that Caliban are still blindingly relevant. It has plenty in common with bands like Heart Of A Coward and is a sign that they are not lagging behind their contemporaries this time around.

With not a dud track in sight, this could well be Caliban's crowning moment across the board. Andreas Dörner's screams are as savage as ever, channelling the sort of rage In Flames were capable of before they went soft. The intensity of the vocals stunts none of the melody, though, and the chorus to Wolves And Rats is a scream-along triumph.

Of course, it wouldn't be Caliban without bone-shatteringly heavy breakdowns scattered here and there. yOUR Song provides plenty of them and by the time it takes its leave, a change of pants may be required.

Caliban's use of clean vocals throughout 'Ghost Empire' also elevates the choruses further. Devil's Night oozes with emotion, while I Am Rebellion completely steals the album. The weighty guitars also prove to be a nifty addition, adding an extra layer of muscularity to proceedings.

Who We Are manages to sound like a better Bleed From Within song than Bleed From Within ever wrote, and it's this sort of comparison that makes 'Ghost Empire' so special. Caliban are no longer snapping at the heels of the big boys.  

Metalcore has ceased to be a dirty word. Far from being the shunned sub-genre it one was, bands such as Bury Tomorrow, Bring Me The Horizon and Killswitch Engage happily embrace the tag. And so should Caliban. With 'Ghost Empire', they have not only produced their strongest set of songs to date, but have also managed to stand toe to toe with the giants.

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