Power of Metal.dk Review

Caligula's Horse
The Tide, the Thief & River's End
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 13 October, 2013
Playing time: 50:22

The Aussie prog scene continues to impress me with its sheer intensity, creativity, and attitude. Prog metal band Caligula's Horse is no different, and itself showcases some great concepts and ideas. Caligula's Horse is no ordinary prog metal band, as they utilize tech metal structures and riffing styles, but somehow they come off as softer than most metal. It's actually a puzzle as to how they pull this off so well, as the result is technical and a little djenty, but melodic and atmospheric, too.

These guys know how to play really, really, well, too. Geoff Irish, the drummer, is a beast of a player, and has masterful control of the bass pedals. I'm also impressed by both Sam Vallen and Zac Greensill on guitars, as we get great solos and also djenty chugging rhythm guitars that hit hard and feel so satisfying for some reason. I think part of this may be because of Dave Couper on bass and his awesome ability to fill and complete the sound of the band.

As for vocals, Jim Grey is one of the best, in my opinion. He may sound a little reminiscent of Maynard James Keenan, but only a little. He doesn't sound like anyone else. His voice is powerful and incredibly melodious, and he seems to sing with little or no effort. He really is a special talent, and I especially enjoy his other band Arcane (due to release a monster of an album in 2014).

This album has many twists and turns that I find rather refreshing. One moment the band will be jamming pretty hard, but the next they will be playing some delicate flute or doing a little bit of guitar noodling. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the guitar noodling, such as on "Old Cracks in New Earth". I have to say that this is the one element that has caused me to lose a bit of connection with the album. On the other hand, I find this album superior to their debut album, especially in the riff composition and their melodies. "Atlas" is definitely my favorite track, but "A Gift to Afterthought", "Water's Edge", "Dark Hair Down", and "All is Quiet by the Wall" are all superb tracks that have some mind-blowing moments.

I do feel like I'm still waiting for Caligula's Horse to create their masterpiece. They have all the elements and they craft amazing music, but I'm still waiting to feel a complete connection with the lyrics and music. That said, Caligula's Horse is an excellent representative of the Aussie prog scene. I really hope people start paying more attention.

01. A Gift to Afterthought (6:18)
02. Water's Edge (7:39)
03. Atlas (5:02)
04. Into the White (8:29)
05. Old Cracks in New Earth (6:31)
06. Dark Hair Down (6:04)
07. Thief (2:09)
08. All is Quiet by the Wall (8:19)
Label: Welkin Records
Distribution: Welkin Records
Artwork rating: 80/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 27 November, 2013
Website: caligulashorse.com