I remember “Goodbye” from the 2004 album “The Opposite from Within” to be the first track I ever heard from German metalcore heavyweights CALIBAN. I wasn’t big into metalcore back then, but the opening riff just blew me away. Along with HEAVEN SHALL BURN, they relentlessly swooped down upon the scene and made their mark. Nevertheless, I lost sight of the band for quite a while, even though – eleven studio albums and a couple of line-up changes later – they haven’t been quiet. CALIBAN has a consistent habit of releasing a new album every 2-3 years and with the last one, “Elements,” dating back to 2018, fans have been on the edge of their seats. Sadly, coronavirus decided to spoil yet another party, but the band didn’t just sit back and wait. Today, on May 14th, 2021, they released their new EP, “Zeitgeister.”
This is the band’s first entire EP in their German native tongue. Considering the success of fellow countrymen RAMMSTEIN and CALIBAN‘s 2012 cover of the former’s legendary “Sonne,” I wonder why they didn’t give it a go sooner. They reworked seven songs from their substantial repertoire, “nICHts” being the only newcomer on the EP. Knowing this, I was slightly afraid that “Zeitgeister” was going to be some sort of regurgitation of earlier work, but it turns out to be quite the opposite. They really got creative with the songs, not only by stepping away from literal translations, but by reimagining them whilst staying true to the essence. New nuances highlight the band’s strengths and filter out earlier weaknesses. In a world where metalcore is at times lacking inspiration, this is a hugely welcome relief.
There is nothing predictable about this EP; on the contrary, there is so much to like. It is said not to judge a book by its cover, but I am in love with the cover art. It immediately piqued my curiosity by setting the scene, which made me want to press play faster. CALIBAN is one of a handful of bands that have the ability to sound both insanely heavy and poetically melodic. This is the common thread throughout the EP, the glue that keeps all elements together, no matter what genre the band drifts to. Vocal patterns range from moving cleans to harsh gutturals. There has been some experimentation with unexplored styles (like prog, for example) on more recent records, which seems to be an ongoing trend on “Zeitgeister.” I definitely hear some RAMMSTEIN influences as well, especially in tracks like “Herz” and “Intoleranz.” This industrial-inspired vibe gives the EP yet another interesting edge. Of course, the band doesn’t shy away from an earthquake equivalent breakdown now and then either. CALIBAN has always been on the heavier spectrum of metalcore, but a track like “Trauma” tips the scale towards deathcore. NASTY’s Matthi Tarnath turns up the volume here as a guest vocalist.
All this being said, it’s the last track, “nICHts,” that really grabbed me by the throat. This hostile yet strikingly melodic anthem reminded me again why, against all odds, I became a metalcore fan in the first place. Fans, both diehard and new alike, will enjoy “Zeitgeister.” CALIBAN has so much musical experience and has definitely been putting it to good use. Even if you didn’t care much for the band before, I highly recommend you to give this latest effort a go. I believe they will change many minds and will reach an even bigger audience in the future. I, for one, am definitely looking forward to listening to the new studio album when it’s finally released!
- Trauma (feat. Matthi from NASTY)
- Ausbruch Nach Innen
- Feuer, Zieh’ Mit Mir
- Nichts Ist Fuer Immer
- Mein Inferno
Andreas Dörner – Vocals
Denis Schmidt – Guitar
Marc Görtz – Guitar
Marco Schaller – Bass
Patrick Grün – Drums