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Caligula's Horse - In Contact CD (album) cover


Caligula's Horse


Progressive Metal

3.90 | 141 ratings

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4 stars This album definitely qualifies as one of the top three or four heavy prog/prog metal albums of the year. Though there are many segments in which the similarities to Australian band KARNIVOOL come crashing into my face, this is an extremely well produced album of well-conceived and performed songs.

1. "Dream the Dead" (8:09) great opener--ominous metallic sounds from the opening are soon held in check for the arrival of the gorgeous vocal but they're there: lurking beneath, you can feel them waiting to pounce despite the pretty music and singing. Very KARNIVOOL-like--Karnivool at its best. (9.5/10)

2. "Will's Song (Let the Colours Run)" (4:42) opens with a fairly simple melody played over aggressive djenty guitar chords and machine gun bass drumming. Before the first minute ends, the music scales back to make room for the vocal--which is nice--soft and breathy with great, edgie melodies. The chorus bursts forth again sounding very much like KARNIVOOL--a sound that seems to carry forward into the next verse section as the singer sings in full Ian Kenny voice. Impressive guitar solo at the 2:55 mark. Again, the KARNIVOOL sounds and styles are unmistakable--especially in the chorus--but it's a great sound! (9.5/10)

3. "The Hands are the Hardest" (4:46) Before the age of metal and djent, this could have been a great techno-pop song. Great melodies. Strange that the line "love conquers all" appears in the chorus. The guitar-strum murky final minute is actually awesome! (9/10)

4. "Love Conquers All" (2:21) delicate acoustic guitar arpeggi open this one before rhythm track enters beneath. Multiple guitars set up a melody before everything cuts out, resets, and Jim's vocals start. The multi-voice-supported chorus enters with only a minute left! and then we restore the opening vocal theme for the finish. Simple, odd, pretty. (8.5/10)

5. "Songs for No One" (7:43) opens with voice that is quickly joined by the full-force of the band. Nothing held back here! Almost a "metal shoegaze" guitar sound here! The lyric and vocal, however, fails to grab me while the rest of the music in support is fairly simple--until the quiet passage beginning at 1:40. Effective; gives the listener a better appreciation for the construction of the fuller, heavier passages. At 2:30 there is another lull, this time without vocals, before power chords and drums come bursting back in. Nice variety with djent-guitar during the bridge before the second chorus. The choruses, however, just don't do it for me. Nice vocal-lead guitar handoff at the 4:10 mark--followed by a sweet guitar solo. Another lull at the end of the fifth minute, with whispery vocals and floating guitar notes, sustains itself into a beautiful gentle choral section before we fly back into the fast lane. Vocal growls shout out in the background of the next high-octane instrumental section. An interesting song with some clever highlights and mildly disappointing situations. (9/10)

6. "Capulet" (3:23) gorgeous, emotionally delivered upper-octave vocal supported by acoustic guitar-led trio. I like the middle octave backing of the second voice. I also like the change in upper end dynamics of the guitar and organ in the final minute. Cool! (9/10)

7. "Fill My Heart" (6:42) an edgy, aggressive song with a nice melody that is set up by a catchy chord progression. Interesting contrast between the active drums and simple guitar picking. Deep bass notes sneak in during the third minute. Ominous syncopated instrument play at the halfway point. Long high note singing reminds me of Ian Kenny from Karnivool. Blistering guitar solo in the sixth minute sets up the final repetitions of the chorus. Nice heavy prog song. (9/10)

8. "Inertia and the Weapon of the Wall" (2:57) theatric stage soliloquy--no doubt from some play.

9. "The Cannon's Mouth" (5:56) opens with a very chunky, djenty sound--over which lead guitarist wails intently. When the vocals enter, over a very quiet, spacious foundation of sparse music, it feels/sounds like a continuation of the previous song's thespian vocal delivery, except for the fact that the music amps up to full metal guitar chopping with the choruses. Slow, Ian Kenny-like high-voice singing at the end of the third minute. The chorus gets heavier next time around. Nice melodies. (9/10)

10. "Graves" (15:31) this prog epic contains many moments that remind me of the sounds and work of Poland's 1990s prog revivalists, COLLAGE: instrumental and vocal melodies, synth sounds and even drumming style. Still, the highs and lows and overall effect of the song is not anything that feels innovative or even refreshing; there is nothing new here. And the fact that the chorus starts each time with the familiar words and sound of KARNIVOOL's "We are" detracts and distracts. The presence of piano and sax are different (yet add nothing new or exciting). (8/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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