ALBUM REVIEW: Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
Photo Credit: Rachel Graham
In the decade since their debut album, Caligula’s Horse have proved themselves time and again to be a force to be reckoned with on the Australian prog-metal scene, and indeed, the world. This latest offering, Rise Radiant, sees them master their sound, step back, and reap the rewards of their labour.
The album gets started with the djent-y beats of The Tempest, a song which flows effortlessly between beauty and brutality; the perfect marker of what is to come on this album, which is as full of majesty as it is of distorted riffs and ferocity.
The undisputed jewel in the crown of this album is the eight-minute epic Salt, a schooling in syncopation and rhythmic experimentation. Notice the haunting guitar part harmonising with Jim Grey’s seemingly endless vocal range – this is a band who know their strength lies in the moments they choose to break down their sound for us. Providing what is basically a cross section of the layers they use to craft a song is a genius move, and allows us to appreciate every nuance of this multifaceted sound.
Resonate is a moment of stillness in the middle of the album, making use of a more sterilised sound with measured and restrained drum beats. It’s an interesting look at this band’s range but doesn’t really fit in with the other tracks. This is something which is also a recognisable shortcoming at the very beginning of a track like Slow Violence – for a band who clearly pride themselves on tones that are full, earthy and full of life, it’s a strange choice to return to this more electronic and staccato sound.
A slower song which does work really well, however, is Autumn. A really beautiful track, it shows off the softer side of the band in a warmer and more lilting way, which works infinitely better than Resonate. It keeps the humanity of the band a little more intact.
This record has all the best elements of prog – it’s fun and epic (at times a little cheesy), but most importantly, the overwhelming sense of triumph is what we are left with at the end. Caligula’s Horse are a band who have produced an album which sounds exactly like the image they want to present to the world, and are now basking in the glory of this feat.
Standout Tracks: Salt, Valkyrie, Autumn
For Fans Of: Haken, TesseracT, Pain of Salvation
Written by: Rosie Esther Solomon