Way back in college when I was getting into metal with bands like Job for a Cowboy, Children of Bodom and Gojira, I remember stumbling across a split album from two German bands. Those two bands were Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban. While I went on to be absolutely smitten with HSB (and still am to this day), I would occasionally check out each Caliban output when they dropped and knew that I would get some quality metalcore each time. No different with this latest output called Dystopia, which is Caliban’s twelfth full-length album with Elements being their last back in 2018. Opening the album is the title track, which starts with some distorted guitars and vocalist Andreas barking at the listener until the drums kick in with a nice cadence. Like all metalcore, this is chorus driven, with clean vocals over top the instruments but I know what you are thinking. Cleans in metal? Well I can assure you these cleans are done very nicely, fit in with the song perfectly and don’t overstay their welcome. The cleans are a guest feature from Christoph Wieczorek of Annisokay, a band I have heard of but not familiar with. He did a very good job here with them. The highlight of the track is the blegh done by Andreas followed by a crushing breakdown that leads into the last chorus. The guest features continue on the track VirUS when Marcus from none other than Heaven Shall Burn jumps on board. The track jumps to life with a HSB style riff that sounds like it could come off of Deaf to Our Prayers or Antigone. Just break neck speed through the whole track, slowing down for the choruses, and then ramping back up for the verses. The breakdown about two and a half minutes will definitely have you banging your head. “Phantom Pain” is the next track up and it keeps up the speed from the previous track. A lot of fun, bouncy riffing to go with superb drumming done by the drummer Patrick. The track slows down about halfway through with some soft cleans until it explodes back into that chunky, bouncy riffing and drumming before launching into another breakdown that is accompanied by a blegh. Such a fun breakdown callout. “Alien” is the next track up and it is more of an anthemic track, a bit slower and more chorus focused. Still bouncy and groovy in parts but overall more of a chill track. “sWords” brings back the speed and ferocity from the earlier tracks with a main riff that sounds like something you would hear in a Slipknot track. The breakdown in this track is also massive, it would be the perfect track for a live set as the pit would go wild over it. The next surprise vocal feature comes on the track “Dragon” and it features none other than Jonny Davy, front man for Job for a Cowboy. This slow building track has a very brooding atmosphere with more of a growling spoken vocal style overtop droning guitars. Jonny comes in with his trademark snarling, vile vocals before the breakdown crushes the listener. The track moves back into its chorus with Jonny finishing off the track with that snarly and one more beefy breakdown. Wrapping up this album is the track “The World Breaks Everyone”. It brings back that nu-metal riffing in the verses that had me headbanging while trying to type of this review. The choruses are huge sounding and have both clean and unclean vocals completing each other. A nice closer to the album for sure. This album was a fun trip down memory lane with a band that I really had not listen to in quiet sometime and was delighted to see they were still cranking out some great tunes.
- The Metal Architect