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Caligula's Horse - Colossus CD (album) cover


Caligula's Horse


Progressive Metal

4.46 | 28 ratings

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5 stars Seahorse

After buying Moments from Ephemeral City, listening to it on repeat in my drives down from Brisbane to Uni, I realised I needed more C-Horse. The Colossus EP is a follow-up to Moments, it's an EP dedicated to the fans, a way of thanking them for the support of this extraordinary project.

Sam Vallen's songwriting, production and performance are incomparable with most musicians in music today. Colossus is a step towards the next C-Horse project in terms of production and performance. Colossus still has that pristine sound like Moments (and that sexily pure guitar tone Mr Vallen) but rather than being Vallen's project, Colossus features the band, signifying a movement from Jim and Sam's project. The intensely layered vocal harmonies and great vocal production on both songs are becoming a trademark for the C-Horse sound, not at all meaning to detract from the phenomenal performance of Jim Grey, whose intelligent phrasing of lyrics, dynamic changes in melody and virtuosic technique make for a pungent ear load of organic vocalisation.

"Colossus" opens with a beautifully harmonic vocal section and a cool electronic, borderline dance track. The song then progresses into a verse that ebbs and flows vocally, with a chorus which opens up in terms of rhythmic complexity to something that shows some very intriguing chordal changes and again the amazing vocal harmonies. Dave Couper's bass playing comes to fruition in Colossus with his smoothly contoured bass lines contribute in a huge way to this eclectic mix of sounds, inclusive of some truly tasteful fills and well meshed tight doubling with guitars. Dave's clear, present tone, full of chunk is complimented by that cool fretless bass, more proof Dave's great proficiency in his instrument. Geoff Irish, whose ginger locks make his performance just that much better, has an artistry in his drumming style which incorporates a great feel, ghosting on the snare during the song and moving through some sweet sweeping tom fills like the one leading into the first verse. This song also features a short solo from Zac Greenshill, tastefully chosen notes which form a melodically compelling solo. Though there is a clear difference between guitar styles when Sam introduces his typically grand solo, the change in guitar feel genuinely makes me want to hear Zac come alive in the next C-horse album.

Vallen's songwriting has once again digressed from anything I've heard before in "Vanishing Rites (Tread Softly Little One)"; disagree with me if you want. Vanishing Rites has such a crazy range of musical styles it can only be described as prog-vante garde. Strangely however, as a person who 6 months ago thought the epitome of technical music came with Karnivool's "Cote" in 15/8, this song is a personal favourite of mine, including almost any other band I listen to. The vaudeville verse with the shuffle drums is an aspect of music I've not yet discovered in popular music, the way that Sam blends the verse transition into the chorus and back again, the change in dynamics from the sporadic build up in 5/8 to the jazz fusion interlude gives me a musical hard on. The peak of this song, and it gets me every time, is the teeth exploding sub drop into the brootul djent section that makes you want to destroy furniture and Smart cars. I reciprocate the same compliments in this song from Colossus to the band members, with special mention to Geoff's performance, who once again makes a cupcake out of polyrhythm. Not unlike Meshuggah, Irish's playing on this track makes the rhythmically complex, accessible to the audience smashing that china in simple 4/4.

This review is pretty much just an outlet for me to express how much I'm in love with Zac, Dave, Geoff, Jim and Sam's work. After seeing them at the Beergarden on the 27th of October, proving that they are not only a brilliant studio band but an encapsulating, tight, engaging, virtuosic [go get a thesaurus] band when playing live.

ginjaninja | 5/5 |


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