Ghost Empire review by Caliban

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  • Released: Jan 27, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 5.6 (24 votes)
Caliban: Ghost Empire
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Sound — 8
Caliban formed in 1997, effectively predating most other bands in the metalcore scene. While their earlier releases were considered more in the vein of hardcore than metalcore, their sound quickly evolved. The band has had a consistent lineup since 2005 when Marco Schaller joined as bass guitarist. "Ghost Empire" is Caliban's ninth studio album, consisting of thirteen tracks with a runtime of approximately forty-eight minutes. The album is released by Century Media. The album was written and produced by guitarist, Marc Görtz, and the lyrics were written by Andreas Dörner (vocalist) and Benny Richter (co-producer). Matt Heafy of Trivium fame performs guest vocals on the bonus track "Falling Downwards." Bastian Sobtzick from Callejon is featured on the song "nebeL" and Cristhoph Koterzina from Callejon is featured on the track "Good Man."

The album opens up with a bang with the track "King," which opens up with the line "Bow down and hail to the king/ I don't care what people think/ Bow down with your face in the mud/ I'm larger than life, I don't give a f--k." Next up is "Chaos - Creation" which is a very groove-heavy track and a synth melody in the background of the song during parts. "Wolves and Rats" unfortunately falls into the realm of being kind of generic to my ears. "nebeL" is up next, and features guest vocals from Bastian Sobtzick from the band Callejon. The track is pretty much full on aggression from beginning to end. "I Am Ghost" has a very ambient type of opening, but builds into a pretty heavy track pretty quickly. "Devil's Night" was almost instantly one of my favorite tracks from the album because it evokes a certain type of mood very quickly in the song and keeps it throughout the track. Next up is "Your Song" which is essentially the closest thing on the album to a single, and with heavy use of gang vocals for the hook. It is pretty catchy in a way that metalcore rarely is. "Cries and Whispers" has an intro that is really a change of direction in the album, sounding almost like a little western melody for a second before the distorted guitars and heavy drums come in. "Good Man" is up next, with guest vocals provided by Cristhoph Koterzina, and an acoustic guitar and piano in the intro. The song moves from there into some groove-heavy riffing. "I Am Rebellion" starts out like some kind of trippy shoegaze thing for a few seconds but builds up into a more traditional metalcore song within the first minute of the track. "Who We Are" is one of those tracks that starts out pretty aggressively and stays in that wheelhouse pretty much throughout the track except for a chilled out section partway through, but it is done well. "My Vertigo" is another high adrenalin track, defined by heavy riffing and pounding drums which makes me want to turn on my amp and just go. "Falling Downwards" is the bonus track that the album ends on, including guest vocals by Matt Heafy. The track manages to be heavy as hell with a slow to mid speed tempo.

Lyrics — 7
Andreas Dörner has provided vocals for the band since they formed, with clean vocals being provided by Denis Schmidt since 2002 and the rest of the band supplying very occasional backing vocals. Andreas has provided a consistent and stellar performance since the band was founded, and this album is another album under his belt with some exceptional metalcore lyrics. Denis has helped transform the band to who we know as Caliban today thanks to his clean vocals which have become a defining part of Caliban's sound. The guest vocals on the album are all nice counterpoints on the album as well. As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are some lyrics from the track "King": "I live among gods, I dine in hell/ I'm on top of the world and I never fail/ But within my towering walls/ I sing a song about an empty soul/ Nothing to hold on/ King of kingdom gone/ I'm all alone/ Where I walk/ There's light/ Where I speak/ There's quiet/ Darkness inside/ Silence cries/ Is this what I long to be!?". Pretty standard fare for Caliban lyrics, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Overall Impression — 7
I go back and forth on how I feel about metalcore as a genre, but bands like Caliban help prove that metalcore is a worthwhile genre even though a lot of bands in the genre have become very derivative of each other. This is just something that happens and unfortunately it can give the whole genre a bad name, such as what happened with nu-metal and modern pop music. My favorite tracks from the album would probably be "Devil's Night," "Falling Downwards" and "Chaos - Creation." My least favorite track is "Wolves and Rats" which has a very generic type of sound to me. Overall the album kept me engaged from start to finish with a few slightly less enthralling tracks, none of the album was bad.

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    seventh_angel
    "Possibly the best metalcore album that has come out so far in 2014" Oh cool, it was the best metalcore album to come out in 27 days. I'm sure the competition was fierce.
    Gexzilla
    Metalcore bands are like pregnant women. They sing about "destroy everything", then in a minute "oh I'm so emotional why don't you love me", and then again "destroy everything I want strawberries" and in the end it feels like they just can't make up their mind.
    Gibson_SG_uzr55
    The chorus in that music video is awful, I thought it was an alright song until that point.
    svelle
    Check out some stuff from their previous album "I am Nemesis" it's basically the same style, but a lot of songs without the Boybandish clean Vocals.
    devonsdad
    Why don't we listen to the music for what it is. Who gives a shit if it is "metalcore" or a ****ing apple core. If you like the way it sounds, that should be good enough. It seems anymore, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a new genre. It is becoming over used.
    svelle
    I really enjoyed this album, but not even close as much as their last record 'I am Nemesis' which in my opinion simply was the better album. But I have to say I like their new direction. One could say they are following trends. I would say they are going with the time a and adapt new sounds into their own sound. What definately keeps this album from 8 or higher for me are the clean vocals. I just can't like them and I was hoping for more tracks without them, but was disappointed. Oh and the biggest disappointment was the bonus track which was some weird dub-step electro f*ck with matt heafy as background vocals... didn't like that.
    nobrightskys
    Metal songs with a poppy-feel-good-sing-song chores is what is holding this band back. They should stick to there strengths; everything else.
    ridinglightning
    Erra by Augment is actually pretty good metalcore, I prefer them over this band because not as poppy.
    djralphied72
    But it's the first month of the year how can you judge something like that....
    JSmith38
    that was the first thing that came to my mind too. Best of 2014 so far? Its January. I don't know of any metalcore releases yet this year.
    bakutakamine
    Caliban is quite bad in terms of metalcore. They pump generic through the speakers at full volume. And I haven't heard of any metalcore releases so far this year xD so how could it be considered the best?
    azrael667
    I didn't know metalcore was still a thing.
    Patrijz
    Then you don't care about the genre, I guess. It's still there, with all it's ups and downs music-wise.