I am Nemesis is another metalcore album from German band Caliban. I am Nemesis is pretty standard metalcore at it’s base, with some unfortunate keyboard drones and sound samples that would have been more interesting over music with more of an edge to it. The clean vocals are problematic at best.
We are the Many starts with the sample: “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” which apparently is also the chorus. This repeats over a very straightforward metalcore set of riffs. The Bogeyman picks up the pace a little but takes a break during the chorus to remind us that Linkin Park was a thing once. Other than the chorus some of the riffs here are pretty solid for metalcore. Memorial though, this is where the band goes full on Linkin Park. I was waiting for the rapping to start. Memorial starts with an anthemic series of chords, seems to briefly pick up speed but even then contains the drone-y background keys… then the clean vocals start. If I were the type to watch Twilight, by that I mean a teenage girl or a 40 something woman with emotional problems, I would fucking love the chorus here. So there’s an audience for it I guess somewhere. The almost A Capella singing over the keys nearly had me in tears… of laughter. No Tomorrow is next, starts out pretty metalcore, but again, we get the damn keys over the chorus with gang vocals. It’s not there isn’t a place for keys in music ever, but loudly droning over anything and everything almost indiscriminately is not the right way to do it. All that said No Tomorrow is a vastly more solid track than Memorial. Edge of Black is starts with some type of string/keyboard intro, but quickly turns into a metalcore track… before the cheesy chorus with clean vocals and gang vocals. The emo here is almost off the charts. There’s even a sort of chanted part. I bet they wanted to rap it, but someone must have talked them down. Davey Jones, same formula, but the emo clean chorus hit a new level or fruitcake:
“the waves are coming in,
they’re washing you awwwaaaayyyy,
they’re leading you astrayyyy – aaaa- aaaa”
Really? Moving on. Deadly Dream starts with a pretty decent riff, if somewhat formulaic at times, still not bad overall. This is more what I was expecting from Caliban. Solid metalcore riffs and aggression. The clean vocals come back on Open Letter, not quite as emo, and the track itself is higher quality in terms of the music as well. It’s get worse instead of better near the end unfortunately, musically OK but lyrically and vocally pretty weak. Dein R3ich starts right away with the drone-y keys, then jumps on the same formula, metalcore riffs, big key infested chorus, this time thankfully without the whiny vocals. Broadcast to Damnation is a pretty standard metalcore track, until we hit the middle break, where we get the big chorus, gang vocals and the emo clean vocals all at once. The second to last track, This Oath, starts with clean guitars and emo growls, which at least is a change from whiny emo vocals. The closer here is Modern Warfare. Good energy, but again the clean vocals derail it and sentence it to quasi-emo hell. I’m not sure what the gang vocals were creaming it at the end, sounded like FYI. I’d look it up but at this point I’m just glad I’m done listening to basically the same song twelve times in a row.
This version of I am Nemesis came with a collection of covers that Caliban have attempted at one point or another. All sound like Caliban, and I think that they would be pretty cool to throw into a set list when playing live, not sure they work so well otherwise. Caliban never really make them their own, and the covers chosen, some of which are pretty cool tracks maybe don’t lend themselves to this band as well as other choices might have. The Rammstein cover maybe, but some of the others are just epic disasters.
Overall I am Nemesis is an almost but not quite metalcore album that suffers from the menstrual cramps of whiny clean emo vocals and keys that do nothing more than drone over the rest of the music, which is itself formulaic and predictable. If your a hardcore Caliban fan this might work for you, otherwise I’d look elsewhere for my next metalcore fix.