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Caligula's Horse biography
Founded in Brisbane, Australia in 2011

Taking their name from the mad Roman emperor and his beloved steed Incitatus, CALIGULA'S HORSE is an Australian progressive rock/metal band intent on bridging the gap between dynamic, meaningful songwriting and instrumental prowess.

The brainchild of guitarist, songwriter and producer Sam Vallen, CALIGULA'S HORSE - initially composed of just Vallen and vocalist Jim Grey - released its digital debut "Moments From Ephemeral City" in April 2011, and received instant acclaim from lovers of all strains of progressive music across many continents. Originally intended as a studio-only project, Vallen and Grey put out feelers for a live band soon after the album's release, assembling the current lineup of Geoff Irish on drums, Zac Greensill on guitar and Dave Couper on bass and vocals.

CALIGULA'S HORSE's approach to songwriting is uncompromisingly eclectic, but no less accessible to audiences of all different musical styles. They take influence from such bands and artists as Devin Townsend, Pain Of Salvation, Opeth, Meshuggah, Porcupine Tree, Steve Vai, Frost, Periphery, Karnivool, Muse, Steely Dan, The Beatles, and Frank Zappa amongst many others.

After months of rehearsing the recorded material, and also recording two additional tracks as the "Colossus" EP - released in September of 2011 - the "C-HORSE", as some devotees like to abbreviate it to kicked off with live shows in October 2011. These are early days for a diverse and enthusiastic bunch of young virtuosos, but 2012 looks to be the breakout year for CALIGULA'S HORSE.

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In ContactIn Contact
Century Media 2017
$4.27 (used)
Inside Out Music 2015
$12.68 (used)
Tide The Thief & River's EndTide The Thief & River's End
Inside Out Germany 2017
$9.68 (used)
Moments From Ephemeral CityMoments From Ephemeral City
Inside Out Germany 2017
$6.36 (used)
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CALIGULA'S HORSE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

CALIGULA'S HORSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 130 ratings
Moments From Ephemeral City
4.00 | 186 ratings
The Tide, The Thief & River's End
3.91 | 192 ratings
3.89 | 99 ratings
In Contact

CALIGULA'S HORSE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CALIGULA'S HORSE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CALIGULA'S HORSE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CALIGULA'S HORSE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.47 | 25 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Contact by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.89 | 99 ratings

In Contact
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 192 ratings

Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by ProgAlia

3 stars Caligula's Horse have cohesive songwriting, They write slick tracks, binding heaviness and borderline tech 'Marigold' with expansive melancholy 'Dragonfly'. They can knock out tracks that I wouldn't be surprised to hear on the radio 'Rust' or extremely epic and catchy choruses 'Turntail', and songs like 'Daughter of the Mountain' and 'Firelight' show off their progressive credentials. Even closing anthem 'Undergrowth' pretty much convinced me that I'd purchase an acoustic record written by these gentlemen. The variety of styles and the ease with which the band moves between them demonstrates a love for, and mastery of, varied influences and styles. Such twists and turns call to mind bands like The Dear Hunter, Katatonia, or even Swedish gladprog Kaipa. If there's one downside here, I think it's that Bloom is less varied in its writing than its predecessor. Certain quotes or melodies, phrasing and tone can make Bloom seem repetitive. And while Grey is a dynamic singer, one can get the sense he thinks a song isn't a good song unless he's used every last octave in his range. But since this record is littered with excellent moments, stellar performances from all the musicians'once again putting on display the immense talent that seems to be cropping up in the Australian scene'and only a single misstep in 'Burn,' this nagging sense of repetition is merely background noise.
 In Contact by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.89 | 99 ratings

In Contact
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Cylli Kat (0fficial)

5 stars Okay; first listen; Bleh... Second listen; Meh... Third listen... Hmmm... Errrrr, What?!?!?!? Fourth listen; Okay, Now I'm getting it!!! Fifth and beyond: I Love this album!!!

This is NOT going to be the masterwork of Caligula's Horse. They are one or two albums away...

And when THAT happens, heaven help us...

Despite the ever rotating cast of characters, Caligula's Horse (at the core: Sam Gallen, Jim Grey and Dave Couper), still find a way of making relevant, absolutely outstanding progressive metal. And (ever so much) more...

This does to me what Close to the Edge, The Underfall Yard, and so many other albums have done to me: It makes me pick up my guitar and learn every note... If only for the chorus of "Dream the Dead" alone, I'd give this 5 PA stars, but there is SO MUCH More to be found here...

The vocals and writing of both Jim Grey and the guitars of Sam Vallen make this a five star to me... Once I start with this band, I don't stop for days...

Obviously, your mileage may vary... Best $17.00 (U.S.) I've spent this year...

Grace and peace, Cylli

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 192 ratings

Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Bucklebutt

3 stars This album came with a sticker on the front stating something along the lines of.. 'For fans of Opeth, Haken, Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, and Riverside' which is pretty fitting albeit broad. The biggest similarities can be drawn between Karnivool or Haken (they are kind of a mix of these 2). The Porcupine Tree comparison is a bit of a stretch.

Bloom: This is an excellent album opener, providing a good look at what is to come. The song starts off slow and quiet then builds and 'wakes up' quite literally with a burst of energy. The track rocks for a few more minutes and abruptly ends in a wonderful transition into the next track. Much like Fly On A Windshield leading into Broadway Melody of 1974 by Genesis, for this song to be heard how it was meant, it must be followed by the next track. Not a good track for shuffle but as an opener it is fantastic. 5/5

Marigold: Absolute beast of a track. The super catchy guitar riffs and vocals, particularly during the chorus, are bound to get stuck in your head for days, for which the only cure is to listen to it more! Favorite track on the album and only made better if listened to immediately following the opener, Bloom. 5/5

Firelight: This song slows it down a bit and treads into poppy territory. Not a bad song, catchy, but pretty mediocre. 3/5

Dragonfly: I'm having a really hard time finding any redeeming parts of this song. The guitar solo is alright, as well as some of the parts following, but overall this song feels as if it is an exercise in this type of music rather than any new. 2/5

Rust: Oh hell yeah! This song makes me want to hop into a mosh pit even after nearly a ten year hiatus! Only complaint is that the chorus feels a bit weak. 4/5

Turntail: Like Firelight, this song treads into poppy territory but unlike Firelight, this song is wonderful, blending the poppy catchy sections with their heavy riffs wonderfully. Did I say Marigold was my favorite track? Maybe it's this. This is the track that might have got Porcupine Tree's name on that sticker. 5/5

Daughter of the Mountian: A slower melodic jam that has some interesting moments but is largely forgettable and passable. The outro is pretty good. 3/5

Undergrowth: This song left a bad taste in my mouth. It immediately reminded me of the outro to Changes by Karnivool on Sound Awake. To me it seriously sounded as if the drum solo at the end of Changes should kick in right at the end of this track. The lyrics wrap up the album well enough. 2/5

Overall this is a solid release and I'm very excited to see what is to come with this band. 3.5/5 really.

 The Tide, The Thief & River's End by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 186 ratings

The Tide, The Thief & River's End
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars CALIGULA'S HORSE are a Prog-Metal band out of Australia and this is their second release from 2013. They remind me of fellow Australians ARCANE with the way they contrast the heaviness with the mellow and also both bands have very emotive vocals. This is a concept album about isolation, exodus and the human spirit overcoming insurmountable odds.

"A Gift To Afterthought" opens with guitar that reminds me of IRON MAIDEN but then it turns heavy before that guitar line returns along with vocals and drums. Man these guys can change the tempo and mood so quickly and often over the course of a song. "Water's Edge" is a really enjoyable tune with it's laid back sound with vocals. Double tracked vocals before 4 minutes with acoustic guitar in this feel good section. Then it all hits the fan 5 1/2 minutes in without vocals at first with some killer guitar over top. It stays heavy to the end.

"Atlas" has a relaxed intro then it's the drum show as it all turns powerful with the vocals in tow. Contrasts continue. An okay tune. "Into The White" opens with piano before reserved vocals, bass, acoustic guitar and a beat take over. It's building 2 1/2 minutes in but not for long as a calm arrives as contrasts continue. I really like the pastoral sound after 5 minutes then it's heavy again a minute later.

"Old Cracks In New Earth" is intense to start, complex and heavy. It mellows out before 3 minutes then it's building after 5 minutes as the heaviness returns. "Dark Hair Down" is heavy with riffs to start, love the guitar solo that comes out of that. A calm follows before it kicks back in with vocals. Another calm but it's brief. A guitar solo lights it up around 4 1/2 minutes then back to the heaviness. Great ending to this one.

"Thief" is a short ballad-like tune with fragile vocals, atmosphere and acoustic guitar leading the way. "All Is Quiet By The Wall" has this heavy duty intro with some ripping guitar before we get a calm with reserved vocals. It picks up and the vocals continue only more passionate here. Excellent instrumental section 4 minutes in as they are shredding it up. This section ends with a scream but it continues heavy until another calm arrives as contrasts continue.

This just hasn't clicked with me but the instrumental work is outstanding.

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 192 ratings

Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Cylli Kat

5 stars Following in the wake of (the exceptional, and should most certainly be included in the collection of any prog-metal fan) "The Tide, The Thief & River's End" (Which remains as one of my all-time top 10 favorites), Caligula's Horse comes back with another wonderfully enjoyable epic: Bloom.

Truth be told; when I first gave the album a run-through, I was only going to give it 3.5 to 4 stars, as I guess I was expecting "The Tide" part II, and how does a band follow up on one of your top top albums ever?!?! - It should be noted that I have been a great admirer of this band since the "Colossus" EP & "Moments From Ephemeral City" Albums, but "The Tide" just knocked me right out of my shoes, so to speak...

This was an absolutely unfair way for me to approach this album, which is (upon subsequent listenings) showing Caligula's Horse doing exactly as they should be: maturing, growing, and expanding their vocabulary. This album is truly BRILLIANT!!!

Everything on this album has its place and it is placed correctly, indeed. The songwriting and production are top-notch, and the playing by all members is absolutley flawless, add to that the vocals of Jim Grey soaring majestically above it all, and you have another Caligula's Horse masterpiece!

This is going to have to go on my 5 star most highly recommended albums to all of you out there in progarchives land that are fans of progressive metal as I certainly consider "Bloom" to be Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

As always, your actual mileage may vary... Grace and peace, Cylli Kat

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 192 ratings

Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Dougie of Anubis

5 stars The hiss crackles in and we are welcomed with the soothing tones of pastoral acoustics and the delightfully gentle timbre of Jim Grey in tender mode. The presentation isn't too different from what we've seen from C Horse on their previous releases with gently building EBow and full band homophony joining playful and emotional mid gain solo phrasing from Maestro Vallen. "Wake Up!" - and you will as the track which seems to start at a pleasing volume has at least a few decibels of juice left in it to give some dynamics beyond the soft verse/loud chorus dichotomy of 21st Century Prog and Metal. The band moves into what I would deem less technical but equally enjoyable full forced Caligula's Horse with orchestrated guitar octave melodies and signature riffage, with all band members presence felt from the round and floor rattling bass support of Dave Couper, the natural and smashing skin assault of Geoff Irish, the twin guitars of Vallen and Greensill and Mr Grey entering vocal hero and angelic vocal modes in perfect balance.

Tastefully segueing into Marigold, the track begins with a cracking snare and some Opeth inspired head nodding riffs. The music is raw yet polished with some transitional ear candy and the signature Caligula's short subdrops. This is a head nodding riff main riff. I particularly like how the kick drums are in simple 16ths to start with then begin to follow the guitar rhythms stepping up the groove factor. I suppose this is this album's 'Dark Hair Down' with it's anthemic choruses and angsty verses and I mean that in a non-pejorative sense. The soundscapes of the verses are lulling and despite the echoing clean tones, we are not faced with a hint of Tesseract clone to me. There are so many times in this track that I feel completely filled with energy and I can just imagine my smile and satisfaction of singing "take heart, it's all fools gold" with the equally enthusiastic crowd which the band has been known to command now. Stellar track working on all levels and from the moment I heard the excerpt on the Inside Out teaser, I was hooked. On that note, even from a couple of tracks into the album, you can easily see what would have grabbed the attention of the world's biggest progressive label.

'Firelight', I had heard before listening to the album as the band had played it live at one of the Sydney shows I managed to catch. An ode to one of Grey's lost friends, and a touching tune which is markedly gentler than its predecessor. I am particularly fond of the moving basslines under the simpler chimey chords of the chorus which helps the tune avoid being rhythmically stagnant. Bandpass filters keep the tune interesting by adding an additional dynamic layer. The fast guitar solos are ridiculous as per usual and I believe the slower paced solo which comes after the first bandpassed section is actually courtesy of Greensill due to the differed phrasing. It is welcome piece of variety to the tune. I must note that this is probably the most commercial sounding tune in Caligula's Horse arsenal by the point in time you first hear this song. I'd say it is topped in ways by another track later on the album. As such this song is rather simple chordally which actually turns out to be unfortunately one of my grievances compared with some of the older material.

'Dragonfly' is perhaps the most adventurous C Horse song to date with a definitive link to the sound of 'The Tide, the Thief & River's End' however there is some stellar restraint in all the right places that allows the melodic themes to develop so effectively to pull on the heartstrings. The recurring riff at 1:35 has enough stank to entice the most hard-to-impress curmudgeon. It definitely receives the nod of approval as well as immense djent cred. Perhaps my favourite movement on the whole album comes in at 2:30 with an absolutely masterfully crafted falsetto line and musical backing extremely reminiscent of 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley in its execution. I have noticed that even in a tune which could have been shredded over by Vallen for at least 5 minutes, there is such a degree of only doing so when it serves the song. When you can play like this guy, it would be hard to resist playing odd grouped quintuplet lines and he doesn't and that's ok because sometimes you just need have your face ripped from the bone. The layering of the record is very much what could be achieved live in terms of guitar, bass, drums, vocals and a couple of keyboard layers at times just to accentuate the harmony of the tracks or to lead a symphonic melodic reprise of a key guitar figure. This is a very successful track that exemplifies all the finest qualities of the band for me.

'Rust' sounds kind of what I think Karnivool would sound like if they were writing for Ihsahn. There are some really nice tremolo picked riffs in there to supplement the delayed cleans and when the chorus comes in, it is pleasing and rocking. Probably not one of my favourite songs and it probably didn't hold my attention the same way as most of Tide did. I started to wonder by about this point about why there wasn't quite as much presence of the very jazz inspired harmony of the groups last two records, I don't really have much of an answer but maybe their overall growth has leaned towards a relatively simpler harmonic approach when compared with themselves. Maybe your everyday fan won't really notice and likely the new fans that being on the mammoth Inside Out label will bring will start to know the band has not having the fusion harmony that I've grown to love but I think some people will miss it. Just as I start to think negatively about this, I am smashed with a djenty groove that makes me forget about it. Tank.

'Turntail' is probably the band's most commercially accessible track to date. The quirky guitar line is similar to what one might hear in a Plini or Polyphia track and it definitely is a piece of ear candy keeping up the interest. The optimism I hear in this track almost reminds me of something like C Horse's take on a modern Linkin Park approach at least in the chorus, verses and break before the last chorus. I'm sure people will be raving about this track and rightly so.

'Daughter of the Mountain' is an extremely progressive track that has all the syncopation and aura of Pain of Salvation from their creative peak. Beautiful song. The band is on fire on this one. So enjoyable, I somehow doubt it will have much circulation live due to its heavily artistic touch and I dare say it would be too soft for my home town of Sydney to fully get into. This shows so much growth for the band to me, it is technical, groovy, delicate, and memorable without any unwarranted flash. It builds to such a peak and in all honesty I would have much preferred it to end the album.

'Undergrowth' is a beautiful acoustic track filled with all the drama and variance that I love in a track with chord movements that give me goosebumps. I just feel like it would have worked musically and dynamically for my tastes better before 'Daughter of the Mountain'; the two could have even been joined as one song for me to create the ultimate C-Horse prog monster. Lyrically it may not have worked at all as I haven't been able to put together the big picture lyrically but I look forward to sewing the tapestry together when I get a lyrics booklet. 'Catch me weightless, by her side she breathes..." melodically and emotionally is so strong, I don't want my critical appraisal of this song to minimise the quality of the writing.

The production of the album is competitive and modern, however very natural. I guess I probably prefer a more polished/hyper produced sounding album just in terms of unrealistically big drums and thicker layering at times but what Caligula's Horse deliver here is a slick, professional, loud album that isn't in the slightest a tedious listen.

I think with such an artisan and masterful band like this, it's inevitable for huge fans to have different favourite albums based on small differences in preferences and I would say that I still prefer 'The Tide, The Thief, & River's End' but only by a whisker and I'd think that would come down to my preference for the jazzier harmony and a few more of the really strong hooks like in 'All Is Quiet by the Wall' and 'Dark Hair Down'. In spite of this, this record definitely feels like a band that has grown and is on an upward climb and I wish them the best. In a year of "out of the park" quality releases across all genres of music, this is one of my favourites and is surely to please fans old and new. I highly recommend anyone to get in early and watch these boys play with Tesseract in October 2015 or any time they are playing in your town. Remember that crazy band name because these guys are about to explode.

Score: 4.5 stars.

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 192 ratings

Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by crashandridemusic

5 stars If it weren't for progressive/alternative rock/metal band Caligula's Horse, I might've simply passed over some of my current favorite records, including their 2013 hit 'The Tide, The Thief & River's End.' A modern staple in the alt-prog scene, it only took two albums from Caligula's Horse to grab the attention of major music label Inside Out Music, who signed them earlier this year. Now with their first release with the label, Caligula's Horse has released a contender for album of the year in 'Bloom.'

If fronting two different (and successful) bands with conflicting writing styles wasn't hard enough, just ask vocalist Jim Grey about the timetable for their newest album 'Bloom.' In a prior interview, Jim Grey recalled the different direction the band took in writing this album:

'Our approach was to not edit anywhere near as much as standard in modern progressive music' Everything else is minimal editing and very live sounding. A lot of the vocal takes we were attempting to get long, one-take blocks of performance to try and capture something. It wasn't perfect, but it was special. I feel like it's a very natural sounding album in that way.'

Consisting of eight songs at around 45 minutes long, 'Bloom' feels longer than it lets on. With the opening title track and closer 'Undergrowth,' the attention is focused on an acoustic guitar, something I cannot easily recall ever occurring on any previous album of theirs. Spotlighting Grey's incredible vocals, the melody is simple but passionate, effectively pulling the listener to take their seat and catch their breath for the ride that awaits them. It isn't until the halfway point of the song where the rest of Caligula's Horse comes charging in, picking up where 'The Tide'' left off. I remember flinching my first listen because of the sudden sonic rise, my heartbeat quickened and a smile graced my face. Caligula's Horse is back.

The song smoothly transitions to their single 'Marigold,' one of two heavy tracks on the album. Using the same volume changing techniques as 'The Tide'', the listener is treated with another record filled with epic highs and eloquent lows. In fact, I would say the band improved on this skill, since one of my only complaints with their last album was the too-drastic ups-and-downs in tempo. Caligula's Horse finds their groove by balancing these highs and lows in a more effective manner. This is perfectly shown in the lead-in to the song's chorus, with Grey singing 'taking what's mine, with soil below and nothing above me (me me me me).' The echoing of that last word is timed perfectly with the deep booming sound of the drums and guitar, giving me goosebumps every time. It's a headbanger, especially with the quick-paced solo by Sam Vallen and bass-pedal drum beat of Jeff Irish. At this point, we're only two songs in and the listener will want to storm around the house in vigor. A little later in 'Bloom' we're introduced to 'Rust' and its angsty, passionate lyrics. Grey's grumbling vocals is accentuated by the heavy drumming of Irish, purposefully building in intensity as the song progresses. Kudos to Irish for providing enthusiastic yet appropriate percussions not only on this track, but on the entire album.

If you're expecting an album jam-packed with heavy, gloomy, and dark themes as its predecessor, you'll be pleasantly surprised. As Grey mentioned in our interview, 'Bloom' is the response of a band seeking something lighter, brighter, and more luminous. Evidenced in upbeat tracks 'Firelight' and 'Turntail,' most of the album finds the band exploring a more emotional side, utilizing clear guitar arrangements and lighter drum sections. The lead guitar in 'Turntail' alone dances along lines of pop, interspersed between crunchy guitar chords and the ridiculously quick picking of Sam Vallen in the song's bridge. The album's longest song 'Dragonfly' also provides plenty of moments of livelier songwriting, including the Jeff Buckley-inspired, improvisation vocals in the first half of the song. The fluttering vocals carelessly float over the clean guitar sections like, well, a dragonfly. The album continues in this manner up until their closer 'Undergrowth,' containing a lone acoustic guitar and Grey's delicate, falsetto vocals. Being more approachable and less experimental than prior albums, the lighthearted 'Bloom' is the perfect album to introduce to new listeners. The sound of this album will please longtime fans while simultaneously collecting new listeners. And it doesn't hurt to be signed to a major record label, too.

The eight minute 'Daughter Of The Mountain' competes with 'Marigold' as my favorite track on 'Bloom,' simply because of the thoughtful lyrics and soft-natured orchestration. With all the effect-laced guitars, piano arrangements, and simpler guitar rhythms, the bass guitar is able to stand out from the rest. Although simple, the statement is made, especially as it accompanies the passionate cry of Grey in the lyric ''This is my choice father,' she said.' It's the song with the most drastic shifts between high and low, but is marvelously composed.

As much as Grey attempted to describe the thought process behind this album, it couldn't have been better represented than in the music itself. He said the music is upbeat; the music more than delivered on his words. He said it was raw, using single takes on many vocal tracks; the vocal quality seethes through my earbuds with every word. There currently isn't a better representation of Australian progressive and alternative rock. This is the pinnacle, and it's only Caligula's Horse's third album. Congratulations guys on the impressive release.

Taken from

 The Tide, The Thief & River's End by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 186 ratings

The Tide, The Thief & River's End
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Cylli Kat

5 stars This will be my fourth attempt to post a bit of a review of The Tide, the Thief & River's End. (The site was having some issues with accepting my posts previously) I LOVE this album. Staring with the opening line of "Here and now, it ends..." which launches into A Gift To Afterthought all the way through to the concluding song All Is Quiet By The Wall, I love this album through and through. My personal favorites are A Gift To Afterthought, Atlas and Dark Hair Down (which I posted a video of a little while back). Solid from end to end, great guitar, bass and interesting vocal melodies and harmonies, I think this one is a winner! A genuine 5 stars in my opinion. As always, your actual mileage may vary...
 The Tide, The Thief & River's End by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 186 ratings

The Tide, The Thief & River's End
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars I've rekindled recently interest in typical prog metal, because of the new bands out there that, while not radically changing the formula, subtly mix up the ingredients and adding a new layer. Well this Horse is why I stop at the boundary of prog metal and noisy American-style alternative and math metal. Listening to this, somehow I'm reminded of the band Zero Hour - that while mastering the technicality fails at the melody, and so relegated to obscurity, - and also Haken for certain vocal inflections. Here you've got your non-linear structures and your changing dynamics, but the whole affair is too noisy and guitar driven - and, with some exceptions, unmelodic one, at that. Vocals also kind of meh. Best songs probably the starter, for its the most melody-driven, the almost instrumental Old Cracks in New Earth (sans the weird chant), with good variation, and Water's Edge, cause its quieter.
Thanks to bonnek for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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