Release DetailsLABEL Abacus Recordings
RELEASED ON 10/5/2004
The Opposite From Within
posted on 10/2004 By:
I have to admit, as little as a few months ago I was hardly aware that there was a metalcore community in Germany, let alone a thriving one. However, recent releases by Heaven Shall Burn and Fear My Thoughts have enlightened me to the merits of the burgeoning kraut-core explosion. So, it was with an eager anticipation that I chose to review this release by Caliban. If it even approached the pummeling production value of Heaven Shall Burn's Antigone or the meaty guitar tone and stellar song writing of Fear My Thoughts' The Great Collapse then, I thought, I may be in for quite the treat. However, after giving this album a considerable number of spins, it is clear that Caliban's The Opposite from Within lacks the personality or distinctive touch to put them in the same league as their countrymen.
Now, I'm going to say something that may upset some long time Caliban followers, but this band sounds a whole hell of a lot like Killswitch Engage. And, I don't mean that in a general, "sort of reminds me" of kind of way. The song structures, vocal patterns, production and riff patterns all sound right out of the Killswitch playbook. I know what you're saying, "Hey man, Caliban have been around just along as those Killswitch guys." Touche. However, the evolution of this band's sound seems strikingly similar to that of its American counterpart, and many of the songs on The Opposite From Within seem geared toward cashing in on a trending sound. The most blatant example of this comes on the album's opener, "The Beloved and the Hatred." The resemblance to Killswitch's Alive ... or Just Breathing opener, "Numbered Days" is uncanny, right down to the anguished screams that serenely fade into melodramatic clean vocals. Granted, it's done well, but in many ways it feels like facsimile rather than an actual artistic creation.
To be fair though, Caliban is capable of slightly more than just sounding like Killswitch Engage. If you were to pretend that Caliban were the only metalcore band on the face of the planet, then you would more than likely find every aspect of this album competent. The riffs are somewhat simple, but get the head banging in an almost imperceptible manner. For the most part they range from a tight Gothenburg bounce ("Stigmata," "Salvation") to some thrashy galloping ("The Beloved and the Hatred," "I've Sold Myself"). The breakdowns are just that; open notes and double bass locked in at various tempos in an attempt to incite mosh pits. Again, if that's your thing, you'll find the breakdowns to be pretty well done. However, the most winning aspect of this album are sections that focus around lead singer Andy's clean vocals. As is the case with most metalcore bands, Caliban just cannot compete in the heaviness department with the death and grind outfits of the world, and as a result they leave a far more lasting impression on the listener when they play to their strength of writing catchy tunes. Andy's voice borders the line ever so tentatively between desperately passionate and completely ridiculous, and it is this duality that will more than likely get a hell of a lot of listeners singing along to songs like "Goodbye" and "Certainty ... Corpses Bleed Cold"
With so many albums of this caliber being put out, it's really hard for me to recommend The Opposite from Within based on any of its particular merits. Even though this band does many things well, they don't do anything with any real degree of distinction. The talent and attention to detail are there, and I'm sure this will please some diehard fans of the genre. However, I would strongly advise those who aren't to avoid this release.
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