Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

CALIGULA'S HORSE

Progressive Metal • Australia


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Caligula's Horse picture
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.

Find Caligula's Horse on facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/caligulashorseband

Bio provided by band, edited by progmetalhead

CALIGULA'S HORSE forum topics / tours, shows & news


CALIGULA'S HORSE forum topics Create a topic now
CALIGULA'S HORSE tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "caligula%s horse"
Post an entries now

CALIGULA'S HORSE Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all CALIGULA'S HORSE videos (7) | Search and add more videos to CALIGULA'S HORSE

Buy CALIGULA'S HORSE Music



More places to buy CALIGULA'S HORSE music online

CALIGULA'S HORSE discography


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

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

3.92 | 149 ratings
Moments from Ephemeral City
2011
4.08 | 225 ratings
The Tide, the Thief & River's End
2013
3.96 | 236 ratings
Bloom
2015
3.97 | 152 ratings
In Contact
2017
3.67 | 81 ratings
Rise Radiant
2020

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 | 31 ratings
Colossus
2011
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Tempest
2020
3.80 | 5 ratings
Slow Violence
2020
3.50 | 4 ratings
Valkyrie
2020

CALIGULA'S HORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Contact by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.97 | 152 ratings

BUY
In Contact
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

5 stars With their fourth album, 2017's In Contact, Caligula's Horse managed to write one of the best and most notable progressive metal albums of recent decades. The creative and compositional leap that the band took between their previous release, 2015's Bloom, and In Contact is astounding. While Bloom let foresee that Caligula's Horse is a hugely talented band, that album did not quite succeed in channelling this talent into a fully-accomplished musical statement. Given that Bloom was already their third album, one might have been excused for wondering whether Caligula's Horse would ever manage to break big or whether they would instead remain one of the eternally unfulfilled promises of prog metal. In Contact simply blows all doubt out of the water, showcasing a band at the apex of their creative powers.

The formula the band uses on the album is remarkable in its simplicity: they start with a catchy, melodic alt-rock sound and push it to its utmost limits by using it in the context of structurally, harmonically and rhythmically complex songs. The result is an album that somehow manages to strike the perfect balance between compositional brilliance and emotional accessibility, and that has the capacity to stun the listener on first listen with its melodic immediacy, but also keeps drawing him in for more with its depth and complexity.

There are three key qualities that make of In Contact a prog metal masterpiece. First, the album bursts with absolutely stunning melodies, monstrous earworms that will inexorably get stuck in your head without ever being corny or cheesy. And I am not just talking about the vocal melodies, beautifully delivered by a Jim Grey in a state of grace. The album also contains plenty of tasty melodic instrumental leads that often complement and compete with the vocal lines. These leads are mostly performed by Sam Vallen's guitar, but there is also an awesome sax lead on the last song "Graves" performed by Shining's frontman Jørgen Munkeby.

Second, these melodies are used outside of a conventional verse/chorus structure that subordinates the melodies of the verse to the chorus and uses repetition to anchor the song. In most songs of In Contact there are no verses and no choruses. There is simply a succession of separate melodic figures perfectly flowing into one another without break of continuity. The melodies are so infectious that often it is almost like listening to songs that only contain choruses. In a few songs ("Will's Song", "Song for No One", "Graves"), the quality of the melodies is so high that the effect is simply awe-inspiring.

Third, each song, and the album as a whole, transmit a sense of moving forward, of being on a musical journey that is bigger than the sum of its parts. This is partly achieved by avoiding the circularity and repetition of traditional song structures, but also through the rich and varied sonic palette that Caligula's Horse use across the 10 tracks of In Contact. Spirited djenty guitar riffs and complex polyrhythms are alternated with soft acoustic moments ("Capulet") that sometimes even veer toward delicate synth-pop ("Love Conquers"). Elsewhere, we have emphatic shouted choruses that add a touch of post-hardcore aggression to the music ("Will's Song", "The Cannon's Mouth", "Graves"). The band even manages to throw in a piece of spoken poetry ("Inertia and the Weapon of the Wall") without making it feel out of place, somehow. There is also lots of color on the album: electric and acoustic guitars, Hammonds, sax, and synths are all aptly used to inject variety in the songs.

The best example of what this albums sounds like can be found on its closing track, the 15-minute long prog-epic "Graves". This is the musical peak of the album and is packed to the brim with awesome vocal melodies and great instrumental breaks. The opening section contains some of the most emotional signing of the album (when Grey sings "Faint heart?"). After a jazzy instrumental break, the song transitions to a splendid choral counterpoint with multiple voices at the unison creating a somber, almost sacred atmosphere that eventually finds relief in a beautifully serene vocal melody ("He sees me?"). The song picks up in intensity again soon afterwards and, after a few more twists and turns, it culminates in an epic chorus with shouted vocals over a foreboding King Crimson-esque sax solo. Pure brilliance. There are so many good ideas in this song that other bands would have made a whole album out of them.

In summary, In Contact is, to date, the creative peak of Caligula's Horse. It is an exhilarating album, one of those rare records where everything just falls into place. Stuffed with brilliant melodies, complex compositions and daring experimentation, this is simply any prog-lover's dreamworld. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in prog, but also to anyone who is looking for music that is complex and thought-provoking while at the same time remaining authentic and emotionally accessible.

(Originally written for The Metal Archives)

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 236 ratings

BUY
Bloom
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars Released on Inside Out, one of the world leading contemporary prog rock and metal labels, Bloom is the third album of Australian prog-metallers Caligula's Horse and is the record that made the Aussies known to the prog world ? gaining them interviews in the UK Prog magazine and wide coverage on various prog and metal webzines. It is an album that shows all the potential of the band and I remember liking it quite a bit when I bought it back in 2015. But listening to it now, 5 years and 2 albums after its initial release, I cannot help but feel that Bloom is the sound of a band still trying to find its footing and its own identity.

Bloom is by no means a bad or unsatisfactory record. It simply does not reach the compositional heights that Caligula's Horse will touch on their subsequent, monstrous album, In Contact, nor does it have the brazen immediacy and catchiness of the band's most recent release, Rise Radiant. In a way, Bloom can be described as an early precursor of both these records. One can detect traces of the compositional adventurousness that will find full expression on In Contact. But one can also sense the band's ambition to reach wider audiences by flirting with poppier and more accessible melodies, a route Caligula's Horse will fully embrace with Rise Radiant. The result is an album that is caught halfway between the adventurous and the glossy, alternating moments of creative greatness with episodes that are more mundane and do not completely convince.

Compositionally, the album has a neat structure. It is bookended by two gentle, partly-acoustic pieces that remind me of Opeth at their calmest (especially on the title-track "Bloom"). Albeit somewhat forgettable, these songs work well as opening and closing tracks of the album. The remaining 6 songs come in three varieties. We have two poppier pieces, "Firelight" and "Turntail" (both chosen as singles), that try and captivate the audience with catchy choruses and memorable melodies. These are among the weakest tracks of the album in my opinion, and not because of their poppy undertones: I am usually a big fan of bands that bring pop influences into their prog, such as Leprous or Ulver. However, Caligula's Horse sound like they are trying too hard to write songs that are instantly likeable, relying too much on big, overly emotional choruses that outshine the instrumental performances and come across as overstated. I cannot help but feel that these two songs are the musical equivalent of "empty calories food": tasty on first bite, but hardly nourishing or filling.

Caligula's Horse fare far better on tracks like "Marigold" and "Rust", that are rockier, more aggressive and, in a word, more substantial. The band's djenty metallic riffs come to the fore on these two tracks, reminding me of Leprous. Structurally, the songs could have been cut down a bit to avoid repetition (especially "Marigold"). They nevertheless shine as the most accessible, headbangable pieces of the album. These songs would probably make an even stronger impression if they were supported by a better production. I feel that the guitar sound (here as on the rest of the album) is too dry and thin, lacking depth and bass tones. The drum sound is also quite horrible. This somewhat reduces the impact that these songs could have on the listener.

With the remaining songs, "Dragonfly" and "Daughter", Caligula's Horse attempt to write two so-called "prog epics" ? tracks that are compositionally more expansive and that twist and turn between different moods and themes to take the listener on a bold musical journey. However, the trick is to make sure one does not lose the listener along the way, but instead gently leads him by hand through the many peaks and valleys of the journey. Caligula's Horse will master the art of writing such prog epics on their next album In Contact, but here they only partially succeed. On "Dragonfly" there are too many twists and too few reference points, making it a rather exhausting and disorienting journey. Things get better on the other epic, "Daughter", thanks to the use of more memorable melodies and better transitions between the multiple parts of the song. On both tracks, I can sense the influence of Opeth and Porcupine Tree, especially in the mellower passages, as well as more alt-rock influences that remind me at times of a band like The Dear Hunter.

Overall, Bloom is an interesting but underdeveloped album, that today I appreciate more as an early omen of Caligula's Horse's future greatness than for its 8 songs. Although I did like it when it was first released, I do not see this as an album that I will go back to many times in the future. With hindsight, it is clear that Caligula's Horse were just getting started with Bloom, and they will release much stronger music in their subsequent albums. If you are new to the band, I suggest to skip this and start directly with In Contact, instead.

(Originally written for The Metal Archives)

 Rise Radiant by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.67 | 81 ratings

BUY
Rise Radiant
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars With their fifth album, Rise Radiant, Caligula's Horse follow the recent trend of a few other prog metal bands of mixing their trademark heavy sound (in this case, a djenty form of prog metal) with more mainstream pop/rock sensibilities. Leprous, with their 2019 album Pitfalls, is an obvious example, but also Haken with 2020's Virus tread a similar path. Needless to say, this development did not sit well with some of the fans of these bands. But I am not one of those: I did love both albums (Pitfalls being my Album of the Year for 2019), so in principle Rise Radiant fell on very welcoming ears. Unfortunately, however, this album did not fully 'click' with me, as I felt that it is a bit of a hit and miss, with only a few songs reaching the spectacular levels of the band's previous output.

Let's start with the good news. Caligula's Horse have always delivered their healthy dose of prog workouts on their albums, and Rise Radiant is no exception. 'Salt' and the two interconnected closing tracks, 'Autumn' and 'The Ascent' (the best song of the album), offer musical tour-de-forces that will please long-time fans of the band. All sonic trademarks of the band are on display here. While not reaching the complexity of songs from the band's previous album In Contact, the structure of these three songs is sufficiently intricate to keep things unpredictable and interesting. There is a strong emphasis on dynamics (here as on the rest of the album), with a continuous alternation between stripped-down, quiet parts and djenty, rhythmically complex sections. But even at their heaviest, Caligula's Horse never lose sight of melody as Jim Grey's melancholic but strangely uplifting vocal melodies, often sung in falsetto to increase the emotional punch, take centre stage in the mix. These songs are not too different from what the band has offered on previous albums, except for a general toning-down of aggression in the music and a heightened attention to keeping the melodies simple and catchy.

Elsewhere on the album, Caligula's Horse take more decisive steps towards their new sonic identity. The song structure is vastly simplified on tracks like 'The Tempest', 'Slow Violence', 'Oceanrise' and 'Valkyrie', which largely stick to the verse/chorus/middle-eight/chorus sequence of mainstream pop/rock. The arrangements are also kept quite simple and linear, with variations mostly consisting of a thickening of the sound in the repetitions of the verse. The verses are usually soft and dark, with Grey's relying heavily on his lower-register and the instruments quieting down to the point that often only acoustic guitars or the bass are left to provide an harmonic counterpart to Grey's croons. This creates a stark contrast with the choruses, which are instead fuller, heavier and uplifting. It's all very well-done and perfectly geared up to create maximum cathartic effect, which makes these songs very easy to like on first listen.

And this is where the bad news start. While songs like 'Slow Violence', 'Oceanrise' or 'Valkyrie' make an immediate impression, it unfortunately does not last, as the simplified structure makes the songs quite predictable and, in the long-run, uninteresting. What's more, the fact that these songs are all cut from the same cloth in terms of structure and dynamics leaves me with the feeling that the album lacks variation and is too monotonous. In addition, although the melodies are catchy and hummable, they are often not terribly interesting and tend to slip out of my mind not long after I have heard them. More generally, I feel that the album lacks moments that make my ears properly perk up. I can probably count these moments on the palm of one hand: 'The Tempest' (the best of the bunch of simpler songs) features a killer opening/closing riff, an interesting vocal phrasing on the verse and a gorgeous chorus; 'Salt' contains some beautiful vocal harmonies; and there is some exciting guitar and vocal work on 'The Ascent', particularly on the verse and the closing choral section. Not much else really stands out for me. This is a big difference compared to an album like In Contact, which was literally bursting with memorable, head-turning moments that made you want to put the record on again as soon as it finished.

And this is probably the biggest limit of Rise Radiant: while pleasant and well-produced, it is not a record that I can see myself turning to again and again, because I simply do not feel that it has the same long-lasting listening value of albums like In Contact or Bloom. I cannot help but draw a comparison between Caligula's Horse's new musical direction and the evolution of Leprous, the band that I find sonically closer to Caligula's Horse. While the Norwegians have managed to take the best qualities of pop music (accessible, memorable melodies; subtle and sophisticated arrangements) and merge them with the unpredictability and forward-looking attitude of prog, Caligula's Horse seem to have also borrowed from pop its less appealing qualities: predictability and lack of musical depth. I don't want this criticism to sound too negative, though, because Rise Radiant remains a very listenable album - just not as exciting or enthralling as I would have hoped the new Caligula's Horse album would be, especially after a heavy-weight like In Contact.

 Rise Radiant by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.67 | 81 ratings

BUY
Rise Radiant
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

2 stars The Australian metal boom of the past decade or so has produced some absurdly talented bands and some truly classic albums. Caligula's Horse is definitely counted amongst one of those absurdly talented bands and has a few of those classic albums under their belt. Their latest record, however, is definitely not of them; unless, of course, you're perfectly ok with the bands you love regurgitating everything they've already done.

As far as albums with ambient djent and pop sensibility are concerned, I guess Rise Radiant is not necessarily a bad record. But listening to it only serves to remind me how much I'd rather be listening to their previous records, or Sky Harbor, or any of the other great Aussie metal acts making noise these days.

 Rise Radiant by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.67 | 81 ratings

BUY
Rise Radiant
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by ElliotYork

5 stars I had a lot of anticipation and very high expectations coming in to Caligula's Horse's latest album, RISE RADIANT. Over four albums - and particularly the previous three - the band had established themselves as arguably Australia's leading voice in progressive rock/metal.

Understandably, coming up against such high expectations is no easy feat for any album, and while my first few listened through RISE RADIANT were very positive, I did have a small sense that it was a little below the quality of the three albums that preceded it. I have since come to realise how wrong I was.

RISE RADIANT is Caligula's Horse's most musically dense, most creatively diverse and most well-produced album, and as a result it probably takes a few more listens to fully appreciate than an album such as Bloom.

The album opens with the symphonic and powerful "The Tempest". Released as the first single, my original impressions of this track were that it was solid but nothing overtly special. However, hearing this now in the context of an album-opener, I honestly believe this is the perfect statement to open up this excellent album. The riffs are excellent, the song is more layered and dense than most of their material up to this point, and the track does everything it needs to with a touch of perfection.

"Slow Violence" is a much more stripped-back track than anything else the band has done before. It's full of spares yet chunky riffs and fantastic vocal melodies, giving it a much more modern, djenty sound than some of the band's other material. I'd say this is one of the less impressive tracks on the record, but it fills its role quite nicely.

"Salt" is a thoroughly unique track in the band's discography and manages to really display their technical chops while still being one of their more emotionally impactful tracks. You can hear the band really taking on influences from their peers here, with some Leprous vibes at points alongside a Haken-esque midsection, but the end result definitely feels original. This is one of the most impressive tracks on the album, and has already proven to be a fan favourite.

"Resonate" is a nice, atmospheric interlude track, similar to "Love Conquers All" or "Capulet" off In Contact. However, whether it be due to the quality of the track itself or its placement within the album, I feel this track works for me a lot better than either of them did. It provides a nice segue into the more bombastic tracks to follow ...

"Oceanrise" was a bit of a grower for me. It felt like one of the weaker tracks on the album at first, but now I can see it's value as a track that it is both heavy and very catchy. The rolling rhythm guitars interspersed by high-gain guitar 'stabs' reminds me of some moments from The Tide, The Thief & River's End. My only standing critique of the album is that the final riff ends abruptly, when it could have held us for a little longer like the outro to The Tempest does.

"Valkyrie" kicks in straight away and is probably one of the heaviest and most technical tracks the band has ever done. This feels like an all-out assault and yet still reminds melodic the whole time. The chorus sounds massive, and this will 100% be a live favourite once tours start back up again.

"Autumn" is a power ballad that really places Jim Grey's serene vocals front and centre. The entire track is a masterclass in tension - building up energy slowly and teasing an explosion of power (something similar to what a track such as "Water's Edge" does), however this explosion doesn't come. Instead, what we get is a controlled release as the final chorus soars into the ending. This is a truly beautiful work. Also: shout out the Dale Prinsse's excellent base solo preceding what is one of Sam Vallen's best solos on the album.

The previous track transitions directly into "The Ascent" to create the effect of an 18 min suite closing out the album. The opening onslaught features some of the chunkiest riff-writing the band have ever done, building up into all the symphonic energy of a classic Dream Theater epic. What follows is a back-and-forth between beautifully intimate passages and some of the most epic-sounding music the band has ever written, culminating in a chugging riff beneath a layered chorus of vocals. This final section is truly special, managing to deliver uplifting lyrics in a haunting style that somehow only adds to their power. There will be a temptation to compare this track to "Graves" (the 15 min epic from the band's previous album), as being the only two 10+ min tracks the band has done since their debut. And in doing this, some may feel as though "The Ascent" disappoints by comparison. I believe the comparison isn't accurate or fair, however. At under 11 minutes, "The Ascent" is actually much closer in length and structure to something like "All Is Quiet By The Wall" (the 8 min closing epic from the band's second album). Seen through this lens, the true power of "The Ascent" shines through. This is a track that manages to take the listener on an epic and powerful journey while feeling tight and precise the entire time. I believe that once the comparisons to "Graves" have worn off, fans will begin to see this as a top 5 all-time Caligula's Horse track.

Rise Radiant is a phenomenal album that sees Australia's leading voice in prog push themselves to new creative heights. I don't believe that its flow or pacing is quite as flawless as that of Bloom - which I'm still holding as the band's crowning achievement thus far - but this album pushes boundaries and can comfortably be considered among their best works.

I'd also like to point out the production, which juggles the many layers present throughout the album with a level of mastery not seen often enough in the genre. The album sounds dense but not congested, massive but not noisy. It really is a fantastically produced work, and gets a full 5 stars from me.

 Rise Radiant by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.67 | 81 ratings

BUY
Rise Radiant
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars Caligula's Horse' Rise Radiant is The progressive metal album. The elements of djent, heavy and odd chord structures, and vocals of high quality. The album art is absolutely stunning, the oil texture of the painting with a dear in the middle. The dear looking into a mountain landscape, soft streams, and a warm colour scheme.

The Tempest is a bit of a djent driven piece, the lyrics are well written. "There's No Saints, Only the thunder in skin, the frailty", the poetic content of these lyrics is amazing. The songwriting of this song is unbelievable, the instrumentation is great and the odd patterns make the song sound polyrhythmic. Harmonies, odd times, and there are some polyrhythms between the drums and guitars.

Slow Violence is the single that was released about a month ago. The guitar intro is a bit like modern hard rock, the chorus is a bit heavy and then it goes to a bit of a djent rock approach. I do like the lyrics here but they aren't as poetic and meaningful.

What is with the polyrhythmic sound? This is absolutely incredible, the vocals, guitars, keyboards, and drums are all in some very interesting sounding patterns. Salt has some interesting patterns, great lyrical themes, intense keys and some of the best vocals I've heard.

Resonate actually has some John Mitchell era It Bites in it. It's a short interlude with amazing vocals as well, Jim Grey has a bit more rasp in his voice here. I really do enjoy this interlude, its keyboard heavy, and the electric drum track is very fitting to this soft interlude.

Oceanrise is another song with interesting patterns, harmonies, heavy bass, and yet again ... strong lyrics. It seems like a typical song but in all honesty, this song just fits very well on this amazing album.

Valkyrie is a bit of a heavier tune, the djent is tuned up a bit more on this track. The vocals are a bit harsher, a bunch of great harmonies, the guitars are a bit louder, and the lyrics fit the song. This was another single released before the album, and well... this is great so enough said.

Autumn opens with a soft acoustic guitar, very It Bites at the beginning, sounds like something off Map Of The Past. This song ends up being the softest full piece on the album, it's got delicate lyrics and beautiful vocal melodies. This could be the best song on the entire album.

Intense drum fill, heavy bass and electric guitars right off the bat with the final song on this album, titled 'The Ascent'. Its a hard hitter right from the get go, and it continues with this heavy path until about the minute and a half mark. The song slows and the vocals are soft and melodic, it's got a nice jazz feel. The guitars kick into gear and we have the heavy content we all love from this band. The amount of chord changes in this song is enough to keep some jazz guitarists busy. The rest of the song has djent, large and broad harmonies, and just Caligula's Horse goodness. This song ended up being the perfect way to end this album, it had all the right elements to be a heavy end, just like The Tempest was just great enough to be the opener.

Conclusion: Give this album a shot, it has a bunch to offer and frankly this is what modern prog sounds like. Haken and Caligula's Horse are the bands to beat when it comes to the modern prog sound.

So... was Rise Radiant the album I expected? No, it was more, it has complex playing, complex patterns and song structures, along with diverse and intricate chord progressions. Is this what I was expecting from the new prog band to beat? Not at all, but am I happy I listened to this album? Absolutely.

This album really is deserving of 5 stars, it has all the right elements to be a fantastic album. I actually believe that this album could find a place in the top 100 somehow. Bottom line is, this album blew me away and I hope future listeners will find this album just as amazing as I do.

 Moments from Ephemeral City by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.92 | 149 ratings

BUY
Moments from Ephemeral City
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars In the seemingly endless sea of clinical, Dream Theater worshipping prog metal that's released, it's always nice to have bands like Caligula's Horse to help balance this out. The band's debut album, Moments From Ephemeral City demonstrate a different sort of feel compared to bands such as Dream Theater, still keeping a lot of the technicality and soloing that the genre is so known for, but having it be far more melodic and emotional, more understated in general. This album is far from perfect however, as this contains a fairly mixed bag of songs, along with being structured quite oddly, instrumental tracks spread throughout and ending the album on one of these, provided you don't listen to the bonus tracks. Even with this said, I still find the band and this album to be a breath of fresh air, especially when compared to the countless prog metal bands that are infinitely more generic.

One reason why I find this album quite good despite the uneven nature of it comes down to the fact that while it doesn't always stick the landing, when the album displays something good, it's really good, especially This City Has No Empathy and Alone In The World. This City Has No Empathy starts the album off with its most emotionally powerful moment, the beautiful melodies of the chorus having a certain punch to them despite how pleasantly it's sung, especially with the vocal harmonies giving it a certain ethereal quality. I also love how this album contains deceptively heavy riffs throughout, occasionally even incorporating a djent style with the frequent rhythmic guitar chugging, although there's still plenty of time for soaring guitar solos. Alone In The World is similarly exceptional, showing the 2 extremes of the band, the first half of it being fast and heavy, while the second half takes on a sombre tone that simply takes my breath away. This duality is what really brings out the song however, as both halves would not work anywhere near as well without the other half complementing and juxtaposing it, with an extremely emotional guitar solo tying everything together.

The softer moments on the album tend to also be quite good, SIlence especially, which while somewhat repetitive, has the bittersweet tone of it carry it extremely far, especially given how once again, the band backs everything up with some excellent melodies. My main gripe with the album is how little I find the instrumentals to add to it, yet there are 3 of them on the album. Singularity is essentially based around a single, albeit cool riff as solos are performed over the top of it, it's not bad, but I can't really call it a particularly valuable part of the album, same with Ephemera, despite some vocals near the start. Calliope's Son has a fun, quirky beginning, but again, I don't find myself loving this track all that much, despite its quality being higher than the other 2 present here. I'd strongly recommend listening to a version of this album that includes bonus tracks, as it really ties this album together far better than it otherwise would be left, as Colossus is a great, passionate song that actually displays a somewhat more mature sound by the band, while Vanishing Rites manages to be a highlight. This song starts off with a fun melody that slightly reminds me of a song that you could hear parents singing to their kids, albeit lyrically darker in this case. This melody develops into galloping riffs and another dose of heaviness in general, the delivery of it providing some intensity while maintaining the more understated nature of the band as a whole.

Overall, while this album at times feels somewhat all over the place in terms of quality, with some songs such as Alone In The World being prog metal classics in my eyes, while other songs are extremely forgettable, Equaly Flawed so much so that I forgot to mention it until now. Despite this, I like a lot of what this album does, the more melodic, emotionally charged nature of the album, similar to Karnivool, provides a more fresh take on a genre that can often feel very mediocre with its onslaught of Dream Theater or Animals As Leaders wannabes, and I'd highly recommend this album, even though their later ones get much better.

Best tracks: This City Has No Empathy, Alone in the World, Vanishing Rites

Weakest tracks: Ephemera, SIngularity, Equally Flawed

Verdict: While quite uneven in terms of quality, quite a umber of the songs easily being removable without much change to the album, I'm still quite a fan of the approach taken on this album, despite the Karnivool similarities being quite apparent. Their later albums are better than this, but this is nonetheless worthy of a couple of listens in my opinion.

 The Tide, the Thief & River's End by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 225 ratings

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

Review by ElliotYork

5 stars THE TIDE, THE THIEF & RIVER'S END is a dark, melancholic, and ultimately excellent sophomore album from Australia's best prog band - Caligula's Horse. This is an album full of heavy riffs, soaring vocals and tight songwriting.

Among the band's 4 albums thus far, this one represents quite a unique stage in the band's evolution. It is undoubtedly more focused and fully-realised than their debut, but not quite as accessible as the albums that have come out since. It also predates the djent influences they began incorporating on Bloom and went on to make a sizeable part of their sound on In Contact. Thus, THE TIDE, THE THIEF & RIVER'S END deliver's a more classic brand of heavy prog metal in comparison to the modern sound of its successors.

One thing this album shares with Bloom, however, is the ability to deliver intricate and powerful musical journeys in tracks under 10 minutes long. In the modern prog climate of songs unnecessarily exceeding 10 minutes on albums over 60 minutes long, it's refreshing to experience a band who know how to pull this off in a tighter package. Don't get a wrong: I love a long epic as much as anyone, but many bands are guilty of appearing to want to outdo one another and/or themselves by throwing everything and the kitchen sink at their songs. This sometimes comes at the expense of the songwriting itself, so it's great to see a band pulling this off while also practising some healthy restraint.

This album lacks the slightly more radio-friendly tracks on Bloom, but to its credit they would have been out of place on this more melancholic album anyway. Instead, tracks such as "Gift to Afterthought" and "Atlas" juxtapose catchy vocals melodies with the darker musical passages. "Water's Edge" builds up incredibly from its mellow opening to its frantic close, and "Into the White" takes the listener on an epic soundscape of competing staccato rhythm and lead guitars. "Old Cracks in New Earth" and "Dark Hair Down" are about as aggressive as the band have ever sounded, while "Thief" is a great 'calm before the storm' type of track before the album is closed by the proggy "All is Quiet by the Wall".

This is the most uncompromising the band have ever sounded, and for a voice as serenely pure as Jim Grey's, he does an excellent job of adding a layer of grit to his delivery on this album. The only thing I could possibly think to mark down on this album would be the production, which isn't bad per se, but merely sounds slightly 'thin' compared to the fuller and more dynamic production on Bloom. This, however, is entirely forgivable considering the album was produced independently by an (at the time) up-and-coming Australian prog band. This may be their second album, but it was the beginning of their accession to prog greatness, and gets a very deserving 5 stars from me.

 Bloom by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 236 ratings

BUY
Bloom
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by ElliotYork

5 stars Over the past few years, Caligula's Horse have cemented themselves as quite possibly the leading act in a flourishing Australian prog metal scene. This is, in no small part, thanks to the tight and dynamic BLOOM, their third album and quite possibly the most representative of the band's excellent brand of prog metal.

Described by the band as a "dynamic" album - in comparison to their much darker sounding sophomore effort - BLOOM definitely does an incredible job of capturing each corner of the band's sound in a cohesive way. That it achieves this is under 45 minutes is commendable, and deserves extra mention in a prog climate where bands have a tendency of dragging albums out to 60-70 minutes. BLOOM, on the other hand, calls back to the LP era of tight 40-45 minute records with zero filler.

The album begins with one of the tightest one-two punches I can recall in recent years, with the beautiful title-track segueing perfectly into the fun and hard-rocking "Marigold". "Firelight" is a radio-friendly track that does nothing to lose its credentials as a worthy prog ballad, which is followed by the adventurous 9 min "Dragonfly". This track alone is a testament to the band's uncanny ability to combine technical, progressive music with accessible melodies. Keep an ear out for Jim Grey's Jeff Buckley-esque vocals on certain verses, which contrast wonderfully against some of the track's more bombastic moments.

"Rust" is a hard-hitting song that clearly takes a healthy amount of influence from the current djent moment, but in a tasteful manner that in no way compromises the band's sound. "Turntail" is another high energy track that combines hard riffs with catchy vocal melodies. After this comes "Daughter of the Mountain", possibly the proggiest track on the record, which manages to deliver a cohesive musical and lyrical narrative in under 8 minutes. This is all capped off by the wonderfully simple "Undergrowth", a subtle album closer that marries Grey's vocals with a sparse acoustic arrangement.

It's not often I call an album flawless, but there truthfully is nothing less-than-great of note here. The album delivers in every regard that it attempts to, and manages to provide a tight, fun, and musically engaging experience with zero filler. It earns every one of the 5 stars I'm giving it here.

 The Tide, the Thief & River's End by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 225 ratings

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

Review by Cylli Kat (0fficial)

5 stars I'm having no luck at retrieving my former Cylli Kat account. So, I'm posting a few of my old reviews, Hope this is okay with everyone. Originally posted 2014-12-23

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...

Grace and peace, Cylli (Jim)

Thanks to bonnek for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.