A demanding, bold, expansive listen

The previous issue from Caligula’s Horse was one of the rare albums to score 100% here at Loud so their latest album has plenty to live up to.

In Contact is a demanding listen, a bold, expansive album that plays out over more than an hour of lush harmonies, labyrinthine arrangements, searing lead guitar and soaring vocals, book-ended by two enormous tracks that illustrate the astonishing creative power of Caligula’s Horse. It is only fitting that an album conceptually bound to the exploration of artistic inspiration should open and close with its two most sweeping artistic statements. ‘Dream the Dead’ steers easily from gentle melodic moments to blazing rock, each shift in mood predicated by a towering guitar solo from Sam Vallen; in the fifteen-minute closer ‘Graves’ the band call on every reserve at their disposal, a quiet lilting beginning that kicks into driving rock and then diverges into a gargantuan complexity of mood swings and tonal shifts, ringing with guitar shred and rising to a crescendo of riffing and chanting ahead of a sudden, cold ending. Just these two tracks alone would have made In Contact amazing enough, but in between is another 36 minutes of material equally as remarkable, from polyrhythmic complex metal tracks like ‘Will’s Song’ to ‘Love Conquers All’, a brief acoustic love ballad, melodic rockers (‘Songs for No One’) to the angry spoken-word rant ‘Inertia and the Weapon of the Wall’.

Arguably less heavy than its predecessor, there are still plenty of metallic moments and sections of pure heaviness and where much of Bloom’s focus seemed to be on Jim Grey’s vocals, In Contact is built around Vallen’s guitar dexterity from chugging, djentish riffs to incredible soloing and chiming melodic clean playing. There is so much going on musically and lyrically that more than three or four play-throughs will be required before most of it sinks in, but In Contact is an album you want to hear again and again, if not for the epic songwriting then for Grey’s clear singing or Vallen’s guitar-playing alacrity or any one of a myriad things hidden within the fabric of this stunning release. A masterpiece.

1. Dream the Dead
2. Will’s Song (Let the Colours Run)
3. The Hands are the Hardest
4. Love Conquers All
5. Songs for No One
6. Capulet
7. Fill My Heart
8. Inertia and the Weapon of the wall
9. The Cannon’s Mouth
10. Graves