"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Caliban - "Ghost Empire" (CD)

Caliban - "Ghost Empire" CD cover image

"Ghost Empire" track listing:

1. King
2. Chaos - Creation
3. Wolves And Rats
4. nebeL (feat. BastiBasti / Callejon)
5. I Am Ghost
6. Devil's Night
7. yOUR Song
8. Cries And Whispers
9. Good Man
10. I Am Rebellion
11. Who We Are
12. My Vertigo
13. Falling Downwards

Reviewed by on January 24, 2014

"The album has a whole lot of energy and a handful of interesting twists, but nothing that really breaks down any boundaries or changes up the genre."

German metalcore stalwarts Caliban are now up to their ninth full-length album, again coming by way of Century Media Records. The album has a whole lot of energy and a handful of interesting twists, but nothing that really breaks down any boundaries or changes up the genre. Overall it’s clear from the get-go what fans can expect from “Ghost Empire:” competent melodic metalcore with great sound quality.

The clean vocals –a frequent presence on most songs – are definitely of the “mallcore” variety, so if you don’t dig vocals that could appear in soft alternative rock on the radio, then much of “Ghost Empire” will be a chore to sit through. The poppy, club music-style sound effects on “Falling Downwards” aren’t going to be a big hit with fans of more extreme metal either.

On the other end of that, you’ve got the chorus chants and epic feel of “Chaos – Creation,” which seems custom made for some action or sci-fi movie sequence. Twangy, mournful guitar chords open “Cries and Whispers,” and then it shifts gears into one of the most fast-paced and extreme offerings on the entire disc, accompanied by harsher and more hoarse vocals than are heard on the other tracks.

The metalcore chugga-chugga-chugga-breakdown on “Ghost Empire” is energetic and somehow both aggressive and upbeat, but it’s also never ending, so it can get stale listening through the entire album in one sitting if you aren’t a devoted fanatic of this style. If you liked previous Caliban material or dig melodic hardcore bands with lots of clean singing, this is an album to check out, otherwise skip it and move on to something else.

Highs: Good musicianship, stellar production, and lots of energy.

Lows: The chugga-chugga never really ends, and the mainstream elements will be too prevalent for many fans of extreme metal.

Bottom line: If you dig chugging metalcore and like clean vocals, pick this one up. If mainstream elements in metal make you want to burn a church, then you can safely skip this one.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)