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Caligula's Horse - Moments From Ephemeral City CD (album) cover


Caligula's Horse


Progressive Metal

3.92 | 128 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dougie of Anubis
5 stars Pulling on the heartstrings from the get-go, Caligula's Horse is a melodic feast of tasteful guitar histrionics and perfectly textured grooves. I am always impressed to see the diversification of the Progressive "scene" in my home country of Australia. Thankfully for me and prog lovers abound, we have Sam Vallen (Quandary) and his perfectly selected singer, Jim Grey (Arcane). This truly is a unique piece of writing and something that moves you in a way that true progressive album should. Perhaps it is unfortunate for the boys in Caligula's Horse that the first track 'The City Has No Empathy" is my favourite as the rest of the album does not live up to the feeling I got from the opener. This is due to the sheer brilliance of the opener as opposed to any flawed songwriting. At 3:45 in the opener the chorus breaks down into a Xylophone unison with the guitars that makes me shout "Yes!" and I don't mean the band, althought that may be equally apt.

The guitar playing and tones therein are simply astonishing with enough girth to keep the heaviest Progressive Metal fan entranced as well as the gentlest of Progressive fans. The emotional warmth to Vallen's guitar playing is perplexing at times and I really wonder how such music would be approached in a live setting as the note density is comparable to that of any instrumental guitar hero (Vai, Satriani, Petrucci). Perhaps what I enjoy most about the album is the blend of modern and vintage sounds which sits in complete equilibrium and does not evoke thoughts that this is simply an homage to the band's influences. The music is very rich harmonically whilst not isolating listeners with excessive breaks from diatonic tonality. That being said, Vallen and Grey together work to build great moments of tension and release - a special highlight is the magnificent outside note choices in Vallen's leads.

There are some moments of shear guitar brilliance like all of 'Singularity' and the clean guitar arpeggiations in Ephemera. Tosin Abasi eat your heart out, Caligula's Horse is here.

Vocalist, Jim Grey has always impressed me since hearing 'Chronicles of the Waking Dream' by his band Arcane. This is a singer who is both pleasurable to listen due to his ethereal vocal qualities, as well as being able to unleash some visceral power when called for. Being a singer, it is quite an intimidating and humbling listen to hear how effortless Grey can communicate every emotion imaginable; a wonderful gift to Australian music and Caligula's Horse indeed.

So far, this is the best release to come out in Australia this year and I will be keeping it my top 10 internationally for 2011. For fans of Allan Holdsworth, Animals as Leaders, Arcane, Opeth, Frost*, The Beatles, and anyone with an open mind to progressive music.

Dougie of Anubis | 5/5 |


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