posted on 11/2007 By:
Say what you want about Caliban, they certainly have a strong work ethic. Following on quick smart from last year’s lackluster The Undying Darkness, The Awakening is the German metalcore outfit’s third full-length since making the move to Roadrunner in 2004. Due to the band’s prolific nature I imagine most of you have been exposed to Caliban already, so the main question is whether or not they’ve managed to improve upon their last two albums. The good news is that The Awakening is superior to both The Undying Darkness and The Opposite From Within. It’s heavier and noticeably more energized and intense. The melodic vocals have often been a sore point with this band and here again, they’re very sugary and don’t always fit well with the heavy parts, and yet taken separately the clean singing is well-executed and not as prominent as before.
What about the songs? Well, for me there are definitely a number of above-average tracks on The Awakening. Opening cut “I Will Never Let You Down” has the standard structuring of heavy opening riff to breakdown to cleanly-sung chorus and back again, but it’s executed well. “My Time Has Come” is a punchy, up-tempo number that screams Gothenburg thrash in its riffing and melodies, while “Stop Running” is a good example of how these guys are able to construct a powerfully melodic song without those clean vocals. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the songwriting is that the last few tracks up the aggression and intensity rather than fade out. Both “Nowhere To Run, No Place To Hide” and the closing “I’ll Show No Fear” are strong and energetic numbers with some of the album’s best breakdowns. And the rest of the songs are by no means poor, just disappointingly generic.
Ultimately, I can only recommend Caliban’s latest to either previous fans or those who have yet to tire of this style. For me, the brand of mosh ‘n croon that these guys serve up isn’t bad at all, but has never been more than decent. The frequency of Caliban’s output in recent years makes me wonder if these guys are all too aware of metalcore’s slow but steady decline, and are making the most of their time in the sun. It’s hard to say where the band will go next, yet if it were still 2004 and The Awakening was Caliban’s first release for Roadrunner, I think they would have made a greater impact. As it stands this is a strong effort that eclipses the band’s previous two, but sadly there’s nothing on it we haven’t heard done better elsewhere.
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The Undying Darkness
The Opposite From Within