Kaliban - The Tempest Of Thoughts - Crash Music, Inc. 2005
9 Songs
Running Time: 42:03

Not to be confused with British metalcore upstarts Caliban, this group of Finnish power metallers has spent the past ten-odd years and a handful of demos in an attempt to find their musical direction. From the rehearsal-quality death metal of 1995's Celestial Sounds to the flirtation with black and doom that was 1996's From The Darkest Season, it's safe to say Kaliban's tried it all. Being as the previous seeds strewn by Kaliban bore no fruit in the way of label interest, I suppose power metal with shades of melodic death was next on the list. At long last, Kaliban arrives with their debut full-length experiment, The Tempest Of Thoughts.

After the seventeen second intro track, which is less an intro and more the beginning to the first song, 'Orchard', begins it's Edguy-inspired journey, until the heavily-accented vocals of Henri Peltola kick in. He's got a decent delivery, does Henri, and the guitars seem well-played if standard. It seems, however, that the drums are struggling to overplay everything, and fill all the empty spaces in the song. This doesn't work to the benefit of the rest of the band, and makes the song suffer due to finding at every turn, tom fills and neat double-bass breaks. Mertsi manages to calm himself down for the beginning of 'Carnal Cage', but as soon as the rest of the band kicks in, there he goes, unstoppable as ever. While that's a winning trait in bands like Dragonforce, it doesn't work so well for the genre in which Kaliban are seeking to place themselves. Or maybe the drums are just mixed too high, I can't tell. When he lays back and lets the rest of the band through, Mersti shows himself to be a passable drummer, nonetheless. Lyrically, Kaliban isn't half bad, joining fantasy-esque lyrics to lightweight melodic death with far more emphasis on the "melodic". 'Forever In Bloom' has a nice main riff, and everyone seems to have the importance of the song in their mind while playing, no one overstepping boundaries. 'The Angel' continues the standard fare, and comes across as "more of the same old same old", both in riffery and arrangement. The background vocals of Kaisa Jauhki are most prevalent in 'The Crimson Ark', and in my opinion, Kaliban would do well to expand her role in the band for future releases. While the male/female duo has been overplayed for years now, Kaisa seems to blend well with the music and with Henri's style, and would go miles in creating an identity for this band. They have good ideas, and the mix of straight-ahead power metal peppered with a lighter death is a horse that hasn't been beaten to death yet, so there's hope. 'Call Of Siren' doesn't really jump out and say anything besides "Attention: You are still listening to music", so I can't really vouch for anything besides the incessant overuse of drums. It seems that after attempting to write songs in so many subgenres of metal, Kaliban would be excellent arrangers of music. Sadly, this is not the case, as 'My Songs Silent' regrettably drives home this point. The talent seems to be there, but that one thing that makes songs memorable seems to get lost in the execution. A listen to the album closer, 'Time To Burn' reveals all that is good and bad about Kaliban, the too-present drum fills, the decent musicianship, and the vocals of Henri blending with the underused Kaisa in the end to create a damn nice finish to an album full of too few ups and too many downs for a solid recommendation.

It seems that while there is potential in Kaliban, maybe they've spread themselves too thin over the years in not focusing on one style, and exploring all the aspects of it. With some heavy work in arrangement and a marked toning down in the drum department, Kaliban could finally see something worthwhile bloom from their planted seeds. For now, only die-hard fans who must have everything need apply.

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