If you are into the Metalcore genre, chances are quite high you have come across a German band called ESKIMO CALLBOY. Their first EP dates from back in 2010, and they have recently put out their fifth studio album, “Rehab” on 1 November 2019. They are quite popular in Germany, actually, with three of their previous albums having reached the charts’ top 10. The band is known for not sticking to one particular style and exploring many different aspects of the Metal genre. They are also not afraid of picking up elements from other genres – techno, to give you an example, and incorporating those into their music. Because of this, they never really felt at home in the whole “hardcore scene”, and adopted their own style identity, which seems closest to Electronicore/Electrocore*.
As you may or may not know by now, I personally love myself a band who is eager to experiment and broaden their horizons. Yet, as I have said many times before and will say many times more, you can not please everyone when you are bold enough to do this. Some fans will be enthusiastic about the new direction, and some will be thoroughly disappointed. The same goes for this newest album, with some fans’ voices crying out that the band has become “too mainstream”. Well, I believe ESKIMO CALLBOY is fully aware of this and just doesn’t give a flying f*ck, and I can only applaud them for that. So, there’s nothing left for me to do but open my mind and take in the latest style shift, which is in no way a surprise punch to the gut, but a symbol of the band’s gradual musical growth and exploration.
The album opens with “Take Me To”, which swiftly flows into “Rehab”, coming together as one. Considering previous albums, the focus seems to have shifted towards a more melodic approach, with easy listening as top priority. The Electrocore elements are there, but they are accents to compliment melodious leads working up to a catchy chorus. This is the main formula you will find throughout the album, but every track does have its own particular groove and vibe, which convinces me of the band’s intentions to truly take it to the next level. My personal favourite, “Nice Boi”, brings back a hint of an earlier ESKIMO CALLBOY sound, but it remains a rough edge on a melodically smooth surface. Moreover, tracks like “Supernova” and “Prism”” could easily be on today’s mainstream charts, I have to admit. Fans’ reactions are especially mixed about this last one, as you can read in the YouTube comment section on the music video.
I can dig the vocals by both Sebastian Biesler and Kevin Ratajczak, even if it is rather challenging to tell them apart at times. This does mean that they compliment each other, and they both have their moments. However, the devil is in the details, and this is where the band actually managed to impress me. The harsh drum and bass vibe that sets off “Nice Boi”, contrasting with the following acoustic happy-go-lucky segment and sarcastic lyrics, really tickles my fancy. As do the interesting transitions in “Okay”, and the surprising bonus piano version of “Supernova”. These tiny twists and turns are what make “Rehab” worth checking out, even if you are suspicious considering the band’s past image.
I mention this because there is at least one thing that has stayed pretty consistent up till now: the recurring lyrical themes of drinking, parties, and casual sex. In the recent political climate, it comes as no surprise that the band has been called out on their lyrics being misogynistic and homophobic. In an interview with German FUZE magazine, vocalist Sebastian Biesler countered these critiques by stating that the songs are only meant to be satirical, and should be interpreted this way. To be frank, if you name your band ESKIMO CALLBOY, satire is exactly what I expect to get from you. I recommend you listen to tracks from previous albums such as “VIP” and “The Scene”, and then decide for yourself if this is deliberately politically incorrect or not. As for “Rehab”, I feel like their songwriting has simply matured, with “Made By America” being one of the most obvious examples: an angry song dealing with the influences of the American culture the band sees as harmful and negative. “Hurricane”, one of the previously released singles, is on board with this as well, being a track about the potentially damaging side of living from one party to the next.
So, this is the album that, first and foremost, stands for the band maturing into something more than their “live fast, die young” image, hence the obvious title. They seem about ready to shake off the outrageously exaggerated personas they created for themselves back in 2010. This is, let’s face it, some much-needed introspection, yet I cannot help but feel like ESKIMO CALLBOY still somewhat played it safe with this release, and I hope this new direction takes them even further in the future. This is an evolution some fans will embrace, and others won’t, but – at the end of the day – the band has made a clear statement to keep growing (up). Kudos!
*Other well-known bands that can be considered part of the Electronicore genre are ENTER SHIKARI, BRING ME THE HORIZON, and I SEE STARS.
- Take Me To
- It’s Going Down
- Made By America
- Nice Boi
Sebastian “Sushi” Biesler – Vocals
Kevin Ratajczak – Vocals, Keyboards
Daniel Klossek – Bass
Pascal Schillo – Guitar
Daniel “Danskimo” Haniss – Guitar
David Friedrich – Drums
Century Media Records (release 01.11.2019)