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WLM Reviews: Caligula’s Horse – In Contact

September 10, 2017

Caligula’s Horse captured my attention a while back with their album Bloom.  They return with a worthy follow up titled In Contact on Inside Out Music.  Much like the previous, it’s a fantastic album, but difficult to sum up the album as a whole.

The Aussies definitely have their own sound and continue to employ dynamic contrasts between more placid songs and passages and djent-y, Prog Metal.  The band shows their talents individually and collectively with a fantastic array of styles and moods, capped off with vocalist Jim Grey’s tenor delivery.

From the epic beginning of Dream the Dead through the 15 minute closer Graves, Caligula’s Horse delivers nothing but quality music.  Perhaps a bit unorthodox, a spoken word track appears late in the album.  Other than that, I essentially got what I expected from the band.  The eight minute opener has all of the elements of what I’ve come to know as Caligula’s Horse, presented professionally and with precision.  From the engaging song writing to the instrumental heaviness to Grey’s singing, they deliver no surprises, but interesting music nonetheless.  The atmospheric ending of the song seems like a different track.

Will’s Song (Let the Colours Run) is a comparatively compact song, coming across with a sense of urgency and a sort of laid back groove – an effective combination.  Certainly digging it.  Perhaps more in a Prog Rock vein, The Hands are the Hardest is much more subdued.  Granted the playing is well done, but it lacks a degree of heaviness that much of the rest of the album has.  Not bad, not great.  Love Conquers All reflects the title in its placid approach.  Nice song, but not Metal.  Songs for No One ramps up the intensity to the Prog Metal that Caligula’s Horse is capable of producing.  Then they come back with an acoustic, sublime song in Capulet.  It’s rather short though.

Turning right around, the band shows a wide range of styles and aggression (or lack thereof) in Fill My Heart.  While it’s a good song, Caligula’s Horse steps it up on The Cannon’s Mouth, the song set up by the spoken Inertia and the Weapon of the WallThe Cannon’s Mouth proves to be one of the more proggy tracks on In Contact.  The lead guitar work on the song, courtesy Sam Vallen and Adrian Goleby, is likely the most compelling part of the song, although the rest is quite good and I really enjoy the djent-like section near the end of the song.  Closing track Graves runs through a gamut of styles and atmospheres.  Even the inclusion of saxophone didn’t dissuade me from the track – it adds something in the melody line.

Check Songs for No One:

I felt like I knew what I was going to get with Caligula’s Horse, and was pretty much spot on.  There may be a few too many soft spots on In Contact, but overall it’s quite an accomplished album.  For a taste of Prog Metal that’s more Prog than Metal, check out the Australian band.

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