Caligula’s Horse raise the bar on a masterful fifth album

Australia seem to have a knack of providing brilliant progressive rock bands. I stumbled across Karnivool whilst watching footage of a Download festival from years gone by and while researching this band, I cam across Caligula’s Horse as their name kept appearing in articles I had read on Karnivool.

Words: Robert Adams 

My first introduction to Caligula’s Horse was 2015’s ‘Bloom’ album and I enjoyed that immensely. Think early Dream Theatre but with a vocalist that can actually sing, and you’re most of the way there.

Next up was the glorious ‘In Contact’ album in 2017 and that was me hooked. This album was a constant on my media player for quite some time.

Now, ‘Rise Radiant’ sees the Brisbane quintet raise the bar even higher.

‘The Tempest’ gets us underway with a driving riff which grabs you by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go, before the gorgeous voice of Jim Grey soars.

‘Slow Violence’ shows just how far Caligula’s Horse have come since the early days. It is sharp, succinct and a pleasure to the ears. A lot of people hear the term ‘Progressive Rock’ and take an instant dislike, but ‘Slow Violence’ is progressive rock for the 21st Century – accessible and song driven, rather than a musical masterclass in “look how good I am” or “aren’t we so clever, we can change time signatures with each bar?”

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Photo of Rise Radiant album cover by Caligula's Horse

A solo piano heralds the start of ‘Salt’ before Adrian Goleby’s guitar lets rip with a wonderful, understated solo. Jim Grey’s voice is just one of the many stars on display on ‘Rise Radiant’ and here he shows just what he is capable of.

The album ends with two long tracks – ‘Autumn’ clocking in at 7:43 and ‘The Ascent’, which clocks in at 10:42. These two tracks are worthy of purchasing this album in their own right.

Caligula’s Horse take us on a musical journey through emotion, and it’s a joyful experience.

That’s where my review copy of the album finished BUT I noticed that the official release of the album contains two bonus tracks. I had to have those as well, so i bought the album when it came out!

When I tell you that the bonus tracks are covers of the Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush track ‘Don’t Give Up’ and Split Enz’s ‘Message To My Girl’, maybe you’ll understand my purchase.

Both covers are sublime, especially ‘Don’t Give Up’.

Do yourself a favour and introduce yourselves to Caligula’s Horse. ‘Rise Radiant’ is already in my top five albums of 2020. 


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