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Album Review: Caligula's Horse - 'Bloom'

12 October 2015 | 11:54 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

'Bloom' is an album that breathes new life into the progressive metal genre, unbelievably unique and different from any other release this year.

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Champions of the local progressive movement, Caligula’s Horse have been met with nothing but praise since their formation in 2011. Their heavily anticipated third album, ‘Bloom’, looks to break the band into the mainstream with an adventurous and experimental take on progressive metal, breathing new life into the genre and taking it to greater heights.

Opening (and title) track, ‘Bloom’ acts as somewhat of an intro. Acoustic guitars back pleasant vocals courtesy of the handsomely bearded Jim Grey, who possesses one of the more enchanting voices you're likely to hear in local music. The song quickly takes a turn to the jazz side of things before leading into an early full band onslaught. What we immediately see is a band full of musical variety. ‘Marigold’, the album’s lead single, is an energetic and heavy piece that shows C Horse channeling a dark and eerie flow. Instrumentally, the track is a true representation of the creativity and technicality of the band. Contrastively, Firelight’ is a welcoming tune perhaps likened to some indie-folk song. Completely different from the previous two tracks, it is upbeat and heart-warming that constantly introduces new elements such as the harmonised guitar lines half way through the song or the intensely heavy bass and constantly changing vocal melodies. The song is truly unique and, put simply, a new side to the band. ‘Dragonfly’, one of the album’s longer tracks, clocking in at just under nine-and-a-half minutes, constantly evolves. Gentle then heavy (with a hint of djent) it is a theatrical exercise, with Grey exclaiming, “You never see me coming!”

Moreover, ‘Rust’ is one of Bloom’s faster and heavier moments; showing the band at their harshest with energetic primary riffs. The assertive lyrics, “Fuck your prayer for rain, pray for rust" feed the intensity. Accented drumming and elaborate solos are par for the course. ‘Turntail’ settles the album back down without compromising its heaviness, while ‘Daughter of the Mountain’, another lengthy track, is down-tempo and eerie, playing with fantastical melodies and oddly timed guitar lines. It's not a stretch to loosely compare it to one of Opeth’s cleaner tracks from something like Ghost Reveries or Damnation. Album climax 'Undergrowth' allows the full-length to conclude in satisfactory fashion.

Instrumentally, 'Bloom' is astonishing from start to finish. From guitarists Sam and Zac, who have no problem introducing aggressive and heavy riffs or playing stripped back clean or acoustic sections to the odd timed drum patterns, bold bass lines and the vocal talents of Grey, the record's production is miles beyond the band's previous releases, highlighting the group’s sound and feel perfectly in each way. 

'Bloom' is easily one of the most unique and interesting album’s from an Australian band this year. It channels the band at their most technical, their most emotional and their most creative. The album is a perfect example of progressive music at its finest and without a fault. 'Bloom' shows Caligula’s Horse for what they truly are, an innovative and inventive band that will surely see many opportunities arise from this album.

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1. Bloom

2. Marigold

3. Firelight

4. Dragonfly

5. Rust

6. Turntail

7. Daughter of the Mountain

8. Undergrowth