German Caliban have always been lurking under the surface for me, ever since I first became aware of them in 2004, when I saw them support Machine Head on tour. Their music has been good, but never really original and not with quite the same power as for example their compatriots Heaven Shall Burn, although they're definitely related.
'Ghost Empire' doesn't change the power balance for me; HSB is still the strongest card on the German metalcore table. But I'm willing to admit that this new album, Caliban's ninth full-length, makes the distance between the two bands shorter when it comes to quality and power.
Right from the outset, it is clear that Caliban mean very serious business indeed, and this is clearly the most consistently captivating album from their hands. A powerful and effective mixture of staccato riffing and drumming in particular, machine-like
rhythmic work (is an acquired taste, I know, but, man, I think Caliban manage to make it sound really brutal in instances), a lot of groove (just hear the intro to Cries and Whispers!) shouts, screams, and melodic, clean vocals plus gang shouts. Those of you out there who read this site regularly will know that I like diversity, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is on offer on 'Ghost Empire'.
If you like metalcore, but also like the constant pounding to be interrupted every now and then by more melody and contemplative tones, Caliban has become a good bet for you. 'Ghost Empire' is an excellent album, which grows on you a bit with every listen. Many details, much variation. Cool one.