Caliban - Shadow Hearts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Shadow Hearts (2003)

Prosthetic Records

Shadow Hearts is the third full-length release from Germany based metal-core act Caliban, and their first on Prosthetic Records. Head on "metal-core" if you like speed mixed with breakdowns you'll no doubt dig this album. Musically I would best describe them as a cross between Hatebreed and OLD Poison the Well. Yeah I know everybody gets compared to those two bands but everybody has heard Poison the Well and Hatebreed so you all know what I'm talking about, and it really is what Caliban sounds like. Plenty of double bass pounding, also a nice mix of melodic guitar work, these guys also throw in their share of evil breakdowns. If you're all about the pit this album should be added to your kickboxing sound track. A good example of such a breakdown can be found on track #4, "Vicious Circle," they are all over the place but that is one of my favorites.

A unifying theme of this album is that all the songs are relatively short, the longest song, track # 3 "Storm of Rage," is the longest clocking in at 4:02. None of the other songs really come close to licking the four-minute mark. The song structures are varied but not mind-boggling complex, which I personally like, it's easier to listen to when you're not in the mood for "high-tech-math music." It's not simple there is some thought and nice breaks, it just won't strain your metal battered head, which is good. The musician ship is enough to make you realize these guys do know how to play their instruments.

The vocals are mostly screaming (yeah…bet you didn't expect that) with a bit of clean singing, more then in previous Caliban releases, and some spoken work. I really like Andy's voice, it's a little hard to describe though. It's on the higher end of the spectrum but not to high pitched and screechy, it compliments the music well. The lyric meanings are kind of hard to decipher at times, with the meanings lost in symbolism and eloquence, but for the most part seem to be based around self-anguish of one form or another. My favorite lyrics may be "you've split and I spit on you/ call my name and I'll catch you/ carry my ring and I'll kill you" from track #10, Between the Worlds.

Overall I give this album a high 9/10 rating. Its got a little of everything and I personally dig it, its one of my favorites so far this year, I was very close to giving it a 10/10, but it just barely lacks that certain indescribable something. However all in all it's a great album, I definitely recommend it.

Standout Tracks:

#2- Forsaken Horizon
#4- Vicious Cycle
#7-Scream from the Abyss
#10-Between the Worlds