Sunday 27 April 2014

Caliban - Ghost Empire (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 27/1/2014
Label : Century Media Records

Ghost Empire, album track listing :

1. King (4:02)
2. Chaos - Creation (3:30)
3. Wolves And Rats (3:59)
4. nebeL (3:11)
5. I Am Ghost (3:46)
6. Devil’s Night (4:23)
7. yOUR Song (4:26)
8. Cries And Whispers (3:55)
9. Good Man (5:07)
10. I Am Rebellion (4:21)
11. Who We Are (4:09)
12. My Vertigo (3:15)

The Band :

Andreas Dörner | Screams and Clean Vocals
Denis Schmidt | Clean Vocals and Guitar
Marc Görtz | Guitar
Marco Schaller | Bass
Patrick Grün | Drums

Review :
“Be not afeard; this isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds, methought, would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak’d
I cry’d to dream again.” 

For those who don’t know, this is a quote from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’.  And it’s Caliban, the twisted, indentured servant of wizard-exile Prospero who’s saying these words.  And I found this section of text reminding me of Caliban the band, whose album ‘Ghost Empire’ came out in January.  This new album of theirs is simply breathtaking: its sheer power, confidence and musical vitality makes it one of my top albums of the year for certain.  Here’s why: 

Firstly, it’s an evolution of the band.  For those who remember 2004’s ‘The Opposite from Within’, the album in which I was first introduced to this Germanic quintet, let me just tell you there is little resemblance to that offering with ‘Ghost Empire’.  For starters, this new album has, like many other similar albums around it, taken elements of electronica and dubstep rhythms and incorporated them into ridiculously intense blast beats and riotous riffery.  That’s not to say that mixing genres has diluted the sonic potency; rather, the smashing together of these disparate elements has created a musical atomic event, an explosive happening which is riotous, devastating, and truly mesmerising to experience.  As soon as I heard opening track ‘King’, I knew I was going to love this album.  And, if you love bands like The Witch Was Right, Born of Osiris, Thy Art Is Murder and Messhuggah, you’re going to adore Caliban’s ‘Ghost Empire’. 

Of all these twelve tracks, I couldn’t find a single one that wasn’t firing on all cylinders.  From the get-go of ‘King’ to the slamming finale of ‘My Vertigo’, it all rocks, rages and reinvigorates the spirit.  A song like ‘Chaos – Creation’ rolls in with the drums then bends reality with its guitar-rending trickery.  The chorus on this track is a bellowing, chest-beating triumph of melody and delicacy, before dragging you back into the moshpit riffs.  My personal favourite, though, has to be ‘nebeL’: the German word for ‘fog’, its lyrical content deals with the pain of being left alone and looking to an uncertain future, but its being sung in German turns it into this bombastic powerhouse of epic proportions.  Couple the lyrics with the techno-riffery and the snarling electronic tinctures and ‘nebeL’ becomes a creation of pure wizardry.  For maximum effect, listen to this while a lightning storm erupts in the background. 

‘Ghost Empire’.  Germany’s Caliban have made this album with the intent to make all releases this year futile, as this is such a mighty offering to the Gods of metal.  If it’s sick riffs, slamming beats and vocal sorcery you’re after, you’ll find it all contained in the ‘Ghost Empire’.  Is this one of my albums of the year? 


Most definitely. 

Words by : Chris Markwell

You can buy it everywhere now

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