Caliban

I Am Nemesis

01. We Are The Many
02. The Bogeyman
03. Memorial
04. No Tomorrow
05. Edge Of Black
06. Davy Jones
07. Deadly Dream
08. Open Letter
09. Dein R3.ich
10. Broadcast To Damnation
11. This Oath

[02/28/12]
[Century Media]

I know this review isn’t timely, and I apologize for that. As a reporting blog, we are usually on the ball when it comes to new releases – however this review isn’t the by-product of procrastination or oversight; rather it took a long time to absorb it all. Lately, we have been spoiled with excellent releases full of emotion and technicality – it has just been fantastic album after fantastic album – so when Caliban‘s I Am Nemesis found its way onto my iTunes, it just didn’t stack up. I just wasn’t interested — partly because it’s pretty average and partly because it’s average in great length.

So down to the nitty-gritty: Caliban are a five-piece metalcore act from Germany, and boast a solid eight albums to their name. Over the course of their discography their releases have been pretty hit and miss; they’re most enjoyable when they step out of their comfort zone (i.e. when they covered ‘Helter Skelter‘), yet it irks me that they actually have a comfort zone because it means that eight albums into their career they will still be stuck in the same ‘phase’ and not pushing any boundaries. I Am Nemesis feels more like a routine and less like artistic expression at this point.

As a metalcore album, it’s pretty much archetypal. Judged strictly on that merit, the tone and attack of the guitars and vocals are bang on: double kick and break downs present themselves at every opportunity; clean choruses and electronic breaks also make their mandatory appearances — it’s all here. That isn’t what I want though. I might have been pretty happy about this if I were five years younger, but I’m not. The metal scene is constantly pushing itself and it’s no testament to originality when I can sum up a subgenre and how a band covered all of the bases typical of that subgenre.

With that being said though, I really don’t know what Caliban could do to innovate (or change), which in this case puts them in a worse situation than Asking Alexandria and Emmure, whom I could see putting out a pop or a rap record in a heartbeat. Caliban haven’t shown any signs of deviation from the metalcore sound, and I don’t know how you would expand on straight up metalcore. Perhaps they could put out a pretty decent pop album with their use of synths and auto tune, but they haven’t even displayed enough pop-esque moments on I Am Nemesis for me to even suggest that much. As the saying goes, it’s better to be divisive and controversial than to be generic and unremarkable.

I Am Nemesis isn’t entirely a textbook album, though. If there is one asset that Caliban could capitalize on, it’s the high screams. Andreas does a great job giving a raw and visceral performance when he applies himself, though a lot of the time you’re trudging through a sea of middle-of-the-road screaming. Not to mention the lyrics are juvenile; the overuse of  the word ‘fuck’ and unity themed gang vocals you would expect. Caliban have truly produced the ultimate textbook metalcore album, otherwise.

I’m not dismissing the whole genre of metalcore; I thought The Devil Wears Prada‘s latest release was really really good and displayed a fantastic growth that I haven’t seen in many bands. Along with the likes of For Today, ERRA, and As I Lay Dying, I’m sure there is still a lot of value in this genre. Caliban on the other hand, struck out.

Caliban – I Am Nemesis gets…

2.5/5

– CD

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YHbohnqlcA]

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