I'll be honest, I've wanted to take my appreciation of Caliban to a higher level for some time now. After keeping tabs on them after their signing to Roadrunner Records, I was finding 2004's 'The Opposite From Within' and last years 'The Undying Darkness' quite unfulfilling affairs. This band has had problems really pushing to become a leading light in the metalcore scene, as too many of their songs were lacking much in the way of creativity, flair or identity. Fast forward to today, and the band have released another long player, 'The Awakening', and it might just be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Everything the band does well is improved on with 'The Awakening'; the songs are tighter with more variety, leaner, heavier, more cerebral and crushing than anything I've heard from them before. The band's clean choruses remain, and soar especially high on album opener 'I Will Never Let You Down'. The breakdowns dont define or bog down the songs as much, and are especially lean and mean in 'Give Me A Reason'. The band just seemed to have learnt how to write better songs, even if mostly all thats changed is their guitar tuning. Such a seemingly small thing brings with it a darker and heavier mood, evident in the faster numbers like 'Let Go' and highly intense 'Nowhere To Run, No Place To Hide'.
In my eyes, Caliban have had trouble stepping up to become a leader of the metalcore genre aswell as an originator, and whilst this album isnt a huge departue it could certainly change a few minds. 'The Awakening' stands as an impressive progression for the band and a great example of intense and impressive metalcore. As I Lay Dying should take note; this is how to make this music sound interesting.