Bloom is the third album from Caligula’s Horse and it is the first that I have heard in full. Caligula’s Horse are primarily a Prog metal band who hail from Australia’s Gold Coast, Brisbane to be precise, but unlike many prog metal outfits they choose to employ a wide and varied palette of musical styles and tones to give their sound a diverse element.
It is a relatively short album at just over 42 minutes, yet within those minutes lies a treasure trove of intelligent songwriting and powerful and precise musicianship.
Opener and title track Bloom is a very brave song in that it is entirely performed with just acoustic guitar and voice. No keyboards or even backing vocals are added to what is a stark and effectively simple yet engrossing song that opens up the album very well indeed, showing that this particular horse is one of many colours shades and textures. In fact that is what appeals about this album, their use of the unusual and the different approaches they employ to create something unique and far removed from prog metal by numbers.
Second track Marigold continues in a similar vein but then, at around a minute and a half, in comes a very
Dave Gilmour-like guitar break that hovers like a wispy mist above the emotion of the song before the whole band join in for a Prog metal groove that still retains its melodic sense. Furthermore, there are thankfully no Death metal type vocals on here at all which is good as frankly I find all that growling and screeching utterly ridiculous and certainly not to
my taste at all.
I like that they are not afraid of using contrasts on this album, light and dark, soft and heavy, it all gels into a solid and compelling blend of simply great music. The album is very strong and improves with each additional play, containing good melodies and stellar performances from all concerned. The guitar riffs are solid and heavy, the ensemble playing
is strong and crafted, this band certainly can rock out but that is not all they can do, which is refreshing to hear. Whilst most of the songs are relatively short there are two lengthier epic tracks here, namely Dragonfly and Daughter of the Mountain, where the band can stretch out a little with extended solos, and when they do this they show a great use of technique and melody, both of these longer tracks being highly memorable indeed, showing what a blistering set of musicians they are.
Also special mention should be made of Jim Grey’s voice which is solid and impressive throughout, his range and ability to switch styles is very impressive.
I think this is an excellent album and fans of prog metal will find this to there liking I’m sure. Highly recommended indeed.
01. Bloom (3:16)
02. Marigold (6:19)
03. Firelight (4:38)
04. Dragonfly (9:23)
05. Rust (5:02)
06. Turntail (5:02)
07. Daughter of the Mountain (7:55)
08. Undergrowth (2:50)
Total time – 44:25
Jim Grey – Lead Vocals
Zak Greensill – Guitar
Dave Couper – Bass, Vocals
Geoff Irish – Drums
Sam Vallen – Guitar and Everything Else
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Country of Origin: Australia
Year Of Release: 2015