The Tempest Of Thoughts
Kaliban - The Tempest Of Thoughts - 2005 - Crash Music
|Track Listing1. Intro |
2. Carnal Cage
3. Crimson Ark
4. Time to Burn
6. Forever in Bloom
8. Call of Siren
9. My Song Silent
10. Divine Landcapes (Demo Version)
Popping this one in the boom box for the first time yielded a pleasant surprise, if only momentarily. Really, this one seemed to have all the makings of a metal album I would love: flawless musicianship, crisp sound, and a strong sense of melody. But then, something went terribly wrong: the singer opened his mouth.
Yes, it probably sounds like the sort of cruel joke you often hear musicians making about the guy at the front they resent for hogging all the attention. But in all seriousness, I am of the opinion that too many potentially great bands have been reduced to merely okay bands by the presence of a voice not worthy of the music enclosed. Such is unfortunately the case with Kaliban, although frontman Henri Peltola redeems himself somewhat with some killer guitar playing. He and co-guitarist Toni Kettunen rattle off one impressive barrage of riffs and dueling leads after another, fully earning my respect as musicians, as does their capable rhythm section. But man, those vocals have got to go. I’m not the anal retentive type of power metal fan who feels that all frontmen must belt out standard D&D tales and support group mantras in castrato-like tone, but this almost Morbid Angel-like growling simply does nothing for Kaliban’s music. It’s too bad that the band shows such an aversion to clean or even tuneful vocal styles on most of this album, as songs like “Carnal Cage” and “Time To Burn” demonstrate a fairly mature and thoughtful approach to power metal-type song construction. On that note, “Forever in Bloom” shows promise with some Evanescence-style female vocals, until Peltola once again ruins the elegant display with his tuneless croak. The aforementioned “Time to Burn,” meanwhile, has a nifty, surprisingly non-clichéd sitar intro.
On one level, I feel like I am being quite cruel- denying a respectable rating to a record with no dearth of good ideas on it, almost exclusively due to a vocal style I just don’t like. But at the same time, I feel that the band’s musical potential is so great that they are actually doing themselves a major disservice by not exploring the possibilities of a more melodic vocal style. Heck, the solution might be right under the band’s collective noses in the form of guest vocalist Kaisa Jouhki. When her expressive vocals kick in, the majestic possibilities of this band become readily apparent. Unfortunately, that also makes the band’s current limitations painfully obvious.