Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant review



Reviewer:
8.1

44 users:
7.86
Band: Caligula's Horse
Album: Rise Radiant
Release date: May 2020


01. The Tempest
02. Slow Violence
03. Salt
04. Resonate
05. Oceanrise
06. Valkyrie
07. Autumn
08. The Ascent
09. Don't Give Up [Peter Gabriel cover]
10. Message To My Girl [Split Enz cover]


As the wait for a new Karnivool record goes on and on, Caligula's Horse continue to establish themselves as the new leading force in Australian prog.

Caligula's Horse hadn't even formed by the time Karnivool put out their greatest album, Sound Awake, but they've consistently released records every 2-3 years since their inception, in doing so developing an increasingly adulatory status in the prog metal world. A confession; I've liked the band's previous music, but not quite understood the fervour surrounding them. They've been a band I would enjoy checking out the records of, but feel little incentive to revisit outside of the odd song. Nevertheless, the steps they've taken forward with each release have been clear to see, from The Tide, The Thief & River's End to Bloom and subsequently In Contact, comfortably their strongest release yet from my perspective. As such, Rise Radiant is a new album coming from a band with a real sense of momentum; does it sustain this or derail their progress?

For those unfamiliar with the group, Caligula's Horse play a style that slots somewhere between the nebulous confines of prog and alt metal, much like Karnivool, but perhaps with greater metal tendencies than their fellow Aussies. They can toss out some crunchy riffs and inventive rhythms, but arguably more often operate in softer, majestic territories, ably guided by vocalist Jim Grey, whose voice shares similarities with Ian Kenny, but is perhaps less honey-sweet and a touch more personal. In Contact was the group's most delicately melodic and expansive album upon release; Rise Radiant may instead be their heaviest and hardest-hitting record to date. Opener "The Tempest" has a fair amount of punch to its opening polyrhythms, and some thick chugging throughout, whilst "Slow Violence" possesses a relatively aggressive alt-metal sound compared with much of their past work. Nevertheless, there's still softer moments, from the electropoppy interlude "Resonate" to the acoustic guitars opening "Autumn".

Caligula's Horse have personally been a band generally I listened to songs of more than regularly putting on albums, with me spinning the likes of "Turntail" and "The Hands Are The Hardest" more often than Bloom or The Tide...; however, In Contact began to change that for me, with a number of tracks that really resonated with me, and Rise Radiant continues in that vein. I am drawn more towards the twisting, complex yet emotionally charged "Salt", and the powerhouse riffs and insidious, pulsating verses of "Oceanrise" than some other cuts here (particularly "Slow Violence" and "Valkyrie"), but listening to it as a complete package, I don't get that sense of dragging that I occasionally experience with their early albums. There's a healthy amount of diversity and consistent quality throughout the tracklist, and mercifully none of the passionate narration of In Contact's "Inertia And The Weapon Of The Wall".

Considering most of their songs have generally been of more manageable lengths, In Contact's "Graves" was a resounding success, with its 15 minutes some of the best music Caligula's Horse have committed to record. On Rise Radiant, they show it's not a flash in the pan with the 10-minute closer "The Ascent", a song that begins with a bulldozer of a riff and successfully negotiates a subdued verse, increasingly impassioned and urgent vocal climaxes, and a gradually intensifying second half to reach a satisfying conclusion. Expansive efforts such as this and "Graves" show that Caligula's Horse can prog it up with the best of them, whilst also nailing the shorter, punchier and catchier tracks.

I don't feel that Rise Radiant is necessarily Caligula's Horse's new best record (In Contact still holds that title for me), and I'm not sure it's the album to convert me into a full-blown fan; however, revisiting their back catalogue in preparation for this review has given me some renewed appreciation for their previous work, and this strong album fits well with their past efforts and should sustain the impressive hype that they've built up throughout this past decade.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


 



Written on 07.05.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 87 users
07.05.2020 - 21:42
Răzvan
I have absolutely nothing relevant to say about the music on this album, cause I haven't heard it (at least not yet), but the artwork popping up on the main page caught my eye. It almost feels like an alternate artwork for Myrkur's Folkesange which I greatly enjoyed. Now that would be a pretty daft reason to suddenly check this album out, especially since I know musically it bears no resemblance to Folkesange. My brain sometimes makes strange connections
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My subjectivity is better than yours.
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07.05.2020 - 21:56
musclassia
Written by Răzvan on 07.05.2020 at 21:42

I have absolutely nothing relevant to say about the music on this album, cause I haven't heard it (at least not yet), but the artwork popping up on the main page caught my eye. It almost feels like an alternate artwork for Myrkur's Folkesange which I greatly enjoyed. Now that would be a pretty daft reason to suddenly check this album out, especially since I know musically it bears no resemblance to Folkesange. My brain sometimes makes strange connections


Sadly there's minimal similarity with the Folkesange album musically, but I do really like the artwork to this album
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08.05.2020 - 10:51
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
Am I going crazy or did you not post this a few weeks ago?

Edit: I knew it, I read this on April 11th! I thought I'd lost it Either way, nice review - lookin' forward to this one.
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08.05.2020 - 12:25
musclassia
Written by LeKiwi on 08.05.2020 at 10:51

Am I going crazy or did you not post this a few weeks ago?

Edit: I knew it, I read this on April 11th! I thought I'd lost it Either way, nice review - lookin' forward to this one.


We have learnt the importance of reading/sharing messages from labels that accompany promos
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23.05.2020 - 17:34
MetalManic
Quote:
Quote:


We have learnt the importance of reading/sharing messages from labels that accompany promos



...but the writing is on the wall!
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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