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Caliban - The Opposite From Within review


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Band: Caliban
Album: The Opposite From Within
Release date: September 2004

01. The Beloved And The Hatred
02. Goodbye
03. I've Sold Myself
04. Stand Up
05. Senseless Fight
06. Stigmata
07. Certainty...Corpses Bleed Cold
08. My Little Secret
09. One Of These Days
10. Salvation
11. Diary Of An Addict
12. 100 Suns
13. Trapped In Time [bonus]

Hidden gem.

The Opposite From Within served as the cross pollination point for Germanic metalcore lead by the likes of Heaven Shall Bleed and the American kind driven by bands like Shadows Fall. This inflection point makes for a compelling listen and one that sees a meeting of minds that gives fans of the genre a whole new avenue to explore.

Fans of the Killswitch Engage brand of metalcore will likely enjoy this record, with the band aligning their template on tracks like "The Beloved And The Hatred"; although not as immediately catchy, thanks to the production work of Anders Fridén (yes, the In Flames singer), the songs hold your attention through their sheer heaviness and space.

The fast-moving and heavy-hitting tracks like "Goodbye", "Senseless Fight" and "Stigmata" remind you of why metalcore became the dominant genre it once was, melding the heaviness of driving hardcore riffs with a dose of metal injected into the formula to add a hell of a kick to proceedings. Added to the mix are expansive tracks "Certainty... Corpses Bleed Cold" and "One Of These Days", which see the band utilize tempo changes to good effect, loosening and tightening the leash that is your earphones.

The aforementioned production work of Anders Fridén in tandem with Andy Sneap (who mixes the record) is perhaps the secret weapon for Caliban, giving Görtz and Schmidt perfectly balanced guitar tones that sit on the razor's edge between hardcore heaviness and metallic might, resulting in a crushing tone on the likes of "The Beloved And The Hatred". Although Pracht's bass is largely inaudible (though thankfully given a reprieve on "Salvation"), it is placed next to Grün's bass drum to give the songs a hell of a low end.

Though Caliban did move with their best foot forward in this new direction, there are shortcomings to this new approach that show that while the band were making strides, they were still dragging their feet slightly. "My Little Secret" and "Diary Of An Addict" sound like a collision of styles rather than coherent tracks, trying and failing to merge slow brooding and mid-paced chug into a compelling song.

Dörner's vocals are a very mixed bag; his harsh vocals are limited and when they are not compensated for by the rest of the band (i.e. not putting him too far in front of the mix) it leads to his limitations being exposed. As a result, on tracks like "I've Sold Myself", they sound very thin, like he is straining himself doing harsh vocals, which make up a good portion of a metalcore vocalist's arsenal. While he far from the worst vocalist in the genre, he cannot carry the tracks by himself, which, thankfully for the most part of the album, he does not.

Though this culture clash didn't ignite the way it should have and extend the genre's time in the ascendency, it doesn't mean that it was all for naught. The Opposite From Within shows at the very least that it would provide for some great and compelling music that still sounds good to this day.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 14.02.2021 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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