Caliban: Ghost Empire

German metalcore contenders just miss the boat once more

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Despite a steady evolution between their releases, Caliban have always been the nearly men of metalcore, the overriding new elements and influences introduced each time always seeming to have been perfected and exhausted by others.

Such is the case with Ghost Empire, as the focus on downtuned guitars, precise rhythmic attacks and swathes of digital effects and keys is one that’s been trotted out by numerous bands over the last 18 months. Yet, as with previous career best I Am Nemesis, there are enough songs that punch above their weight to ensure Caliban aren’t lost in the crowd.

The opening salvo of King hits with clinical efficiency, while Who We Are shows their technical chops yet retains the importance of coherent songwriting. Vocalists Andreas Dörner and Denis Schmidt have drastically upped their game, with the sing-along choruses of I Am Rebellion giving the likes of BMTH a run for their money.

Ghost Empire again proves the Germans to be worthy contenders, but you just wish that they could rise to the rank of leaders rather than being followers.

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.