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Caliban - "Coverfield" (CD/EP)

Caliban - "Coverfield" CD/EP cover image

"Coverfield" track listing:

1. My Girlfriend's Girlfriend (3:47) originally by Type O Negative
2. Sonne (3:45) originally by Rammstein
3. Blinded By Fear (2:35) originally by At The Gates
4. Helter Skelter (3:36) originally by The Beatles

Reviewed by on June 6, 2011

"Unfortunately with 'Coverfield' only one half of the party was having any fun."

EPs are generally a fun thing. Bands write a couple songs, provide a holdover between larger releases, maybe cover some songs (which is what happened here), and the fans get a nice shot of life. In this case German metalcore act Caliban has covered four of the band’s (presumably) favorite songs from the past. Is the EP worth your time? Let’s go cut by cut…

The opener “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” is a Type O Negative song, and it just doesn’t work. The original had understatedly subtle music behind Peter Steele’s creepy croon. Caliban unfortunately brings the riffs to the front, which the band has to do since vocalists Andreas Dorner (harsh) and Denis Schmidt (clean) just can’t capture Steele’s emotion, or any emotion for that matter. We have no idea if they are mad, glad, sad, or afraid of the tawdry events they verbally encapsulate.

“Sonne” has the standard and well known Rammstein’s industrial plod and crush. Here Caliban’s take is much lighter than the original, with lithe riffs and teasing keyboards playing wistfully underneath the raspy shouts of Dorner, and it is a pretty good ride. The solo break is a nice counterpoint to the Rammstein-made riff machine, and ultimately these Germans do a good cover of other Germans. Guess they all are in the same headspace or something.

“Blinded by Fear” is a very faithful interpretation of the At The Gates classic, and Caliban apes its heroes quite accurately. Not to say that it is bad, but covers that are too close to the real thing aren’t so fun – we might as well listen to the original.

“Helter Skelter” fails, simply because it has none of the Fab Four’s frenetic frenzy. The genius of the original version is that out of control music was so new. Jump forward fifty-some-odd years and thousands of bands less talented can cover “Helter Skelter” while feeding their child mushy peas or doing their taxes (complete with itemizing), and those same thousands of bands have surpassed the intensity of the original “proto-metal” with the same ease. The cover itself sounds like a basic hardcore chunk from the local bar band, but the choice of song was even less inspired. With Caliban’s sound there are dozens of Beatles tracks that could have been picked that would have been quite interesting to explore in a style entirely different from the Beatles, but Caliban took the obvious avenue.

To be fair, covers aren’t the easiest thing to get right. It isn’t as simple as picking a song you like - to do a really great cover both musical styles and legacies must be considered. Done well, covers are fun for bands, because they get to play their favorite tunes, and fans, as they get to hear their favorite band step away from the norm and get give new twist on an old classics. Unfortunately with “Coverfield” only one half of the party was having any fun.

Highs: “Sonne” is a good take on a Rammstein classic.

Lows: “Helter Skelter” sounds like it was written by teenagers, not the Beatles.

Bottom line: This cover EP is successful only one quarter of the time.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)