Caliban- Elements

With around twenty years and now eleven albums to their name, it is safe to say that Caliban are Metalcore stalwarts. Yet they remain one of the genre’s overlooked, even near forgotten, names. Having never reached the commercial success or the attention levels of the likes of a Killswitch Engage back in the day, the current resurgence in Metalcore today still sees them majorly overshadowed whilst While She Sleeps, Of Mice & Men and others ascend, even as far as to arena level in the latter’s case. Nevertheless, Caliban has always proven to be a reliable entity who continuously deliver strong (if not ground-breaking nor game-changing) material, with The Undying Darkness (All Blacks) and Say Hello To Tragedy (Century Media) being particularly strong efforts.Continue reading

Within Temptation – Let Us Burn: Elements and Hydra Live In Concert


2014 seems to have been the year that symphonic metallers Within Temptation proved their status as one of metal’s modern giants. Arena tour shows across the globe including in the notoriously difficult to tackle UK market (which sees very few bands of our world reach such heights, and still stumble), the announcement of their return to Bloodstock Open Air in 2015 as main stage headliners, and a new album in Hydra (BMG/Nuclear Blast) which epitomised their grandiosity (and even got songs onto Radio 2). This double live release is a showcase of what to expect from this special act.

The first half sees the long awaited release of their 15th anniversary show Elements (BMG) from Antwerp, with accompaniment from Il Novecentro Orchestra, whilst the second is taken from their Amsterdam show this year in support of Hydra (for clarity this review is based on the audio and not the video content). Both sets have significance for different reasons and it is commendable for this reason instead of a lazy release of near identikit sets. Encompassing and celebrating the band’s history, Elements proved a milestone show with a wealth of rarities and guest appearances from ex members such as Martjin Westerholt, plus a large chunk of their well received The Unforgiving (Roadrunner) album, which was released the previous year.

The accompanying orchestra adds an extra element of boldness to proceedings, making the likes of ‘Stand My Ground’ sound absolutely colossal. Not to mention that WT are always a reliably impressive live act; with Sharon den Adel showcasing her talismanic presence.

The second set may not have the gravitas of celebration of its predecessor but is still a huge statement of their strength as a live act. In support of their latest effort, this shares some set similarities but holds a significant chunk of Hydra (opener ‘Let Us Burn’ leaving no prisoners), particular highlight being ‘Dangerous’ with guest vocals by Howard Jones projected via video screen. Yes it would have been great to have the collaborators perform live, and the clumsy ‘And We Run’ could have been omitted from the set altogether, but this shows that even on a more standard booking, Within Temptation are a true live presence.

Fans will of course lap this up, and the uninterested will not have their minds changed, but nevertheless this is a fine exhibition of one of our worlds largest entities (whether you like it or not) in their natural environment.


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