Despite being a reliable presence for nearly two decades, the career of Caliban seems to have been defined thus far by a dogged pursuit of their peers. Indeed, as the likes of Killswitch Engage and Trivium made sizeable waves at the turn of the millennium, the Teutonic quintet failed to ignite in quite the same way, being swiftly left in the dust as a select few metalcore trailblazers carved out their footing.
‘Gravity’, Caliban‘s ninth LP, updates the band’s sound somewhat with a plundering of tech-metal complexities and the mechanical clout of a dwindling djent movement. Yet, despite some glorious high points (‘Who I Am’‘s thudding assault and the fire and brimstone theatrics of ‘The Oceans Heart’ being but two), this is a record which frustratingly suffers the very same pitfalls which have beset Caliban since their inception.
Opener ‘Paralyzed’ is a muscular slab of modern fury, whereas ‘brOken’ tries its hand at some arena sized melody / shimmering atmospherics, and whilst the record delivers a wealth of consistently entertaining stuff, it all too soon loses its potency as we realize how exhaustively predictable ‘Gravity’ is. Electronic touches, Meshuggah-lite riff work, scything blast-beats and clean chorus hooks all feature as the band leave no stone unturned in a bid for relevancy, yet the fact remains that recycled ideas and embracing current trends will only carry you so far. To trade blows with the untoppled veterans and newbie metallic flag wavers who continue to outstrip them, Caliban are going to have display a serious up-swerve in pedigree.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)