Caligula's Horse
Bloom


4.5
superb

Review

by Claire Q. STAFF
July 6th, 2017 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I hear the pulse of life

It plays out in a glade, in an ancient forest, at towering peaks that loom over the verdant land.

A weary group of musicians, from a faraway city called Brisbane, have settled down on the wild grass. Someone starts to quietly strum a guitar, playing a rustic melody that seems to charm the observers. Nature is the greatest muse, whispers the breeze, and the sun beams down in approval. Perhaps the singer has heard that susurration, for he soon joins in. “Still she carries on that perfect dance,” he says; the music builds and swells to a crescendo.

It is powerful, but not in the way of war-mongering kings. No, think instead of the first bloom of spring who struggled through a devastating winter, who now unfurls in earnest glory. For how powerful could a king be anyway? His “crown like a gravestone” lies heavy on his troubled head, and the guitars, with relentless fervour, come to crush him further.

Fitting, though, that these compositions are majestic in scope. Voices, guitars, drums, they soar and swoop over the terrain and recount every sight without missing a beat. A radiant forest fire is a warming symbol of light and life, even as trees are charred and consumed. A dragonfly takes to the air, and her journey becomes the stuff of legends. A “fearless goddess” she is, one who deserves guitar runs as agile as her flight and swaying rhythms as seductive as her iridescent body. To follow her trajectory leaves us breathless, and not just because of the distance that has been travelled.

Dark clouds roll into the sky, and the music grows increasingly turbulent. The dissonance and aggression, conjured by sharp riffs, satisfies a primal desire for release. It would be akin to a barrage of heavy raindrops, but “f*ck your prayer for rain” - instead, enjoy the decimation that rust represents instead. Rust is slow and painful, a drawn-out display of decay, and to pray for it is deliciously masochistic. Channel this aggression into a more triumphant vein, however, and pain transforms into fulfillment. A steady march to the peak, the endorphin rush at the top - then rain, real rain, mingling with sweat. Each footstep is mirrored by the drumbeat, the dense chords. Here, sound echoes for miles, and there would be no better place for the instruments to roar and proudly announce their presence.

Looking over the edge is dizzying, sobering. “How fragile we are, just watching petals fall”, and in another reminder of our mortality, “life is the fall, don’t blame the ground”. A sinister-sounding motif as a representation of death, then a moment of gentleness for hope and beauty - or is it death portrayed by the reprieve? But all thoughts are interrupted as Nature herself appears to the musicians, ostensibly in the form of an acoustic ballad. It is pure, with emphasis on the most natural instrument that is the voice. The voice is a gift bestowed upon us, and here it is definitively given justice - a moving falsetto, rising with ease to meet the last notes of the last song.

The birds, which had fallen silent, finally resume their chirping. The sky clears out, leaving the sunlight to be unfiltered once more. The rustling of the leaves is eerily reminiscent of applause.



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user ratings (235)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Astral Abortis
July 6th 2017


6745 Comments


Still the worst band I've ever seen live.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2017


2424 Comments


lovely, especially the second para, nice job

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2017


25032 Comments


keep it up Claire, this is a beautiful review! maybe I'm reading this wrong but the sentence "A sinister-sounding motif as a representation of death, then a moment of gentleness for hope and beauty - or is it the other way around?" doesn't make sense to me...maybe it's because I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say "a moment of...".

that was really the only thing I noticed though, love the concept of this review.

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2017


1069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks con, I've changed that sentence to make it clearer



And gratitude, jack

Kalopsia
July 6th 2017


3384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

will get this (officially buy it, not just stream) as soon as they add it to bandcamp like their first 2 albums

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2017


3099 Comments


Fantastic, Claire. Sometimes, the language here feels a little too rigid, so it'd be cool to see it a bit more varied if you're to write similarly thematic/narrative-like review in the future. But otherwise this is great, I love it quite a bit, this album deserved it.

I can be a bit clearer about what I mean, too, if you like, I realise "rigid" is a bit vague.

Digging: Keaton Henson - Six Lethargies

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2017


1069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

By rigid do you mean structural variation/needing to change up the feel of consecutive sentences? Thanks for reading through, I couldn't have caught any of these things without your help.

Archelirion
July 6th 2017


5903 Comments


Lovely review claire. Only thing which is a little weird for me is the usage of 'who' in "No, think instead of the first bloom of spring who struggled through a devastating winter, who now unfurls in earnest glory." Doesn't quite sit right for me, but I suppose you were going for a personification.

As Blush said, keep writing stuff like this!

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2017


3099 Comments


It's less about variation and more to do with how the form/language reflects the content. You're excellent at articulating a particular idea, in a digestible manner, and I quite appreciate the tone adopted -- kinda reminds me of how Charlotte Bronte writes. But often the language can be made more deliberate to present an idea, disregarding the context of its actual content. You do so without even thinking about it, the last few paragraphs of this being fantastic example.

I'll use the forth as an example, though. Your topic sentence argues for the majesty of the composition. Your language could better reflect this. "An ensemble of voices, a choir of guitars and [descriptor] drum beats swoop and soar over [descriptor] terrain, recounting [descriptor] sights with little to no beats missed, cues mistaken." (I've refrained from using descriptions of my own, excuse the laziness but I think you'll understand my point.) Your next description is beautiful, too, of the radiant fire. It's worth attempting to imbue some sort of warmth/destruction, then, in the sentence itself, rather than identifying it flatly as "a warming symbol of light and life." It's great to help the reader, and so the line itself is fine, but be sure to also show them this warmth, e.g. "A radiant fire -- an immense, destructive, illuminating forest fire -- chars and consumes the surrounding landscape, singeing bark, ignighting leaves. But no less is its radiance a warm symbol of light and life."

Does that make sense, friend? Excuse me if I'm still being a little too vague, I'm finding it hard to explain. Admittedly, it's something that will develop will practice. You're an excellent analytical writer, and it's clear that you have a very vivid imagination, and as such this review is a joy to read. But the form of the review matching the content a little more closely -- in a more creative piece such as this -- would be one small way to improve your writing IMO. Once again, though, fantastic piece.

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2017


1069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you so much for your comprehensive answer, I'll certainly keep this to mind. One of your other pieces of advice (for analytical reviews, to mix together more analysis with description) greatly helped me out.

HarryBoBerry
July 7th 2017


614 Comments


This was long overdue for a review. I'll read it after work, though I'm already sure you did a great job. This is one of my favorites from 2015.

ashcrash9
July 7th 2017


3090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Solid album, solid review, pos'd

HarryBoBerry
July 8th 2017


614 Comments


Wow this review was great!

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 8th 2017


1069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thank you everyone!

ianblxdsoe
July 10th 2017


1916 Comments


love the personality you always manage to interject into your reviews, the way you display setting and vision is phenomenal

Nomos
August 3rd 2017


1737 Comments


So this popped up on Spotfiy while I was stuck in traffic today. I was CERTAIN the singer was Ian Kenny of Karnivool. He's a dead ringer. And then I google them and see they're Australian, and then I was even more sure it was Ian Kenny. But it's not! Weird.

This is quite a different album. I really like the quiet restraint they show in the first few tracks I listened to. I gotta pick the whole thing up later.

Beardog
September 11th 2017


3174 Comments


Production is lifeless imo, and the kick and snare are way too loud compared to the other instruments. Could really use a remix, cause this is pretty nice musically.

kalkwiese
May 1st 2018


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album turned me into a singer so I'll give this my 777th comment :D It's well deserved, I love this so much

kalkwiese
June 17th 2018


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

1000th comment guys. This holds up pretty well imo and the more I learn about singing the more I am amazed by Jim.

Flugmorph
August 13th 2018


22058 Comments


i like how this and the tide... both have 173 ratings rn

Digging: Nile - Vile Nilotic Rites



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