When a band has been around since just after the birth of nu-metal and embraced its most brutal side, you do need to see how far they have come in relation, especially as most don’t make it this far except the legends re-re-touring on old material.
Germany’s Caliban have kept going instead, producing new material, and, while they’re not a mainstay of the metal shows that they once were, they stick to their guns and keep producing fresh material.
In comes eleventh album, ‘Elements’, on which the band certainly stick to their original metalcore roots without rehashing what they’ve already done over and over. There are melodic parts but the rhythm is very upbeat, with some electronic interludes scattered to give some space from the relentless ad crushing pace. Rather than blast beats they rely on heavy riffs, a range of vocal styles and big drums mixed with large choruses and breakdowns.
‘Delusion’ gives the best incorporation of these styles, including a short build-up into a breakdown of low open guitars and drums that initiate the intent of aggression from the track throughout. The chorus then opens to multi-layers of screaming, shouting, and singing before swinging back to another section of brutal verses.
This album develops as it continues into different styles in a purposeful attitude, saying “Here’s what we did” and “Here’s what we do now” while still staying true to form from their origins. There’s one negative thought left nagging that with all the changes in verses and rhythms, the band still resorts to a formulaic anthemic chorus on nearly every song. This does not meline the quality or writing on ‘Elements’, but it does form a pattern after 15 tracks, and it does highlight a need for more variety.