Australia is in the vanguard of the world progressive scene and Caligula’s Horse are the standard bearers.
Each release has seen them surge in creative power and slowly refine their style and direction while remaining true to their course. In the wake of the sweeping saga that was the magnificent In Contact, the Queenslanders have crystalised their focus on tighter songs without holding back on the depth of their creativity.
Rise Radiant slightly gears down the metal element from the previous outing, but The Tempest, Slow Violence and the clashing riffs of Valkyrie and parts of The Ascent are as heavy as anything Caligula’s Horse has done, and the spiralling, aerobatic guitar solos that criss-cross the musical landscape are as breathtaking as always. Electronic elements further enhance the band’s expansive palette, with beats and spidery synths adding to the emotional impact of the gorgeous Resonate as it floats into the deceptively gentle opening of Oceanrise before that song is torn asunder by industrial-laced heavy guitar. It wouldn’t be a Caligula’s Horse album without an epic closer, and The Ascent drops the band’s heaviest moves early on as all the band’s colours unfurl across almost eleven minutes of lush melodies and slinky guitar solos.
Jim Grey shines once again with his lyrical vision and evocative vocal performance. Making wider use of his higher register across Rise Radiant, even in the heavier moments, Grey’s vocals strengthen the deep harmonies against the music’s darker elements like a victory of hope over despair. Indeed, where In Contact was wracked with angst and frustration, Rise Radiant is triumphant, an uplifting beacon of hope for those travelling on dark roads. This is an album we need right now.
- The Tempest
- Slow Violence
- The Ascent