While Caliban have remained a metalcore standby in recent years, their series of missteps which have seen them soften their edges in a bid to appeal to the North American scene have greatly dulled their impact. Thankfully some of this criticism seems to have hit home as "The Awakening" actually grows back some balls and recaptures a bit of the fire that propelled their earlier releases - you know, before they all got a hard on for Killswitch Engage.
However, while the additional intensity is great and the band launch into a fairly beastly album, there are still the expected soaring melodic choruses, subtle calls and responses and a general been there done that feel to "The Awakening". It's completely serviceable and has its moments and yet it's practically the end result of playing the latest efforts from the likes of As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage together at the same time.
It's actually kind of sad that a band that has as much chops and technical ability as Caliban would still toil in an overcrowded market where every band barely differentiates themselves from one another. The playing is solid, the compositions intense and yet it all has few discernibly unique traits. As far as metalcore goes, Caliban deliver their best album since "Shadow Hearts". But good luck picking the band out if your iPod is on shuffle.
(3 / 5)