|Caliban / Heaven Shall Burn - The Split Program II [EP]
26 July 2005
Heaven Shall Burn
01. Unleash Enlightment
02. No One Will Shed A Tear
03. Nyfædd Von
04. If This A Man
05. Downfall Of Christ
06. Destroy Fascism
07. The Revenge
08. Arena Of Concealment
09. One Day
10. A Summer Dream
11. One More Lie
Lifeforce Records released in 2000 a split CD gathering two of the biggest names of the metalcore scene: Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban, both hailing from Germany. Five years later, these two colossuses, pioneers of metalcore, are at it again still through Lifeforce Records. I'm not going to hold the suspense for long. If you consider yourself to be a real metalcore (i.e. as the name says, a mix of hardcore and metal, not that wave of nu-thrash most people call metalcore) fan, you can't do without it.
The veterans of Heaven Shall Burn open fire. The sound is absolutely huge, blasting and powerful. At the first notes you take a big kick in the face, as HSB hammer mercilessly their hardcore anger right down your brain. The two brand new songs, "Unleash Enlightment" and "No One Will Shed A Tear" start exactly where the previous excellent full-length Antigone had stopped. Both tracks would have been highlights on this album. They undoubtedly reach the level of the 'hit' "The Weapon They Fear": aggressive yet melodic, straight yet catchy. The instrumental "Nyfædd Von" after that is a beautiful atmospheric piano piece by the Icelandic Ólafur Arnalds who handles the some interludes on Antigone. "If This A Man" is only a re-recorded old track. They finally show their roots with the covers of the hardcore bands Merauder and Endstand. "Destroy Fascism" is funny but brings nothing really valuable. "Downfall Of Christ" actually sounds like a HSB song, proof that it is a good cover. This song is one of the best of this album. At least it is the catchiest. Overall, this is a great performance of Heaven Shall Burn.
Then Caliban steps in. I consider this band to be good but slightly overrated, and this split won't change my mind. The new song "The Revenge" almost sounds like a Killswitch Engage" mainly because of these annoying clean vocals. Ok it is catchy, but it also sounds like déjà-vu. The four last tracks are re-recorded versions of songs appearing on their first albums and splits released by Lifeforce Records. These old songs sound much better than the new one. At least they're really aggressive, almost don't have any clean vocals and appear to really be on the edge of hardcore. Those are good songs, unfortunately they sound too similar, and I couldn't manage to pick one highlight up.
The result? Heaven Shall Burn wins the race hands down. I find this band much more convincing than Caliban, who unfortunately failed to interest me more than five minutes. So let's say I'd give a 9 to the Heaven Shall Burn side, and a 7 to Caliban. That shall do an 8 for the whole stuff. Anyway, if you like one of these bands or if you're a metalcore fan, go get this split. You really need to hear the HSB side.
Highlights: Unleash Enlightment, Downfall Of Christ for HSB, Arena Of Concealment for Caliban
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