Caligula's Horse
Rise Radiant


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (338 Reviews)
May 22nd, 2020 | 85 replies


Release Date: 05/22/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On the trot.

With just how “The Tempest” anchors the latest effort from Brisbane progressive musicians, Caligula’s Horse it’s little to no wonder just how the band has managed to cultivate such an intensely loyal fan base. Hyperbole? Maybe just a little—but when you consider the reception to the group’s debut piece, Moments from Ephemeral City, which was filled to the brim with dynamic vocal changes and infectious melodies (see: “The City Has No Empathy (Your Sentimental Lie)” and ”Alone In The World") Caligula’s Horse identified quickly as a rising act within the local scene. More recently, the band’s 2017 piece was a massively adventurous conceptual undertaking, showcasing a side of the band’s songwriting at a delivering their standard for quality songwriting and dialling it up another level. For those following this little Australian band, In Contact became the summit, the ultimate expression of what the progressive music could be in the modern era. Ultimately, it left some doubt in what Caligula’s Horse could offer moving forward and whether or not the group could achieve the hype left by its predecessor.

The more bombastic beginnings found in “The Tempest” define the very essence of the music that follows. A backbone of catchy riff gymnastics sit adjacent to Jim Grey’s meticulous, soaring vocals. It’s this compositional contrast that quickly identifies the sum of all Caligula’s Horse’s parts. Verses of light falsetto and near spoken word stand above a well mixed instrumental portrait. Grey’s vocal dexterity lends itself to an extended dynamic range while the twangy rumble of Dale Prinsse’s bass lines bounce between the rhythmic pull of Adrian Goleby’s headbanging guitar passages and the ever present snare that centres Josh Griffin’s flamboyant cymbal splashes. Yet, the flourishes that strobe through Rise Radiant’s length are born from Sam Vallen’s fingertips which range from the sparkly little notes within “The Tempest” and the lush, soaring guitar solos that burst out of the Caligula’s Horse canvas like lightning from a cloud. Rise Radiant hurtles through moments of lunging rhythms and soaring major melodies, sticking close to the maturing, yet slowly evolving foundation found in the debut.

Some lighter moments of misstep occur in the band’s “less is more” approach to their music and “Slow Violence” happens to be one example of this instance. Grey’s vocals syncopate against the grain of djent-y, bouncy rhythms which hampers (if only slightly) the inflection and impact of the music itself. It’s thankful, perhaps, that the track’s latter half surges strongly—reaffirming the band’s grip on modern progressive music by wrapping uplifting melodies around lush harmonies and subtle vocal hooks. “Salt” takes a rather cinematic approach, offering minimalistic phrases broken by larger than life riff sections, but this is Grey’s vocal centre point. Because of this, it’s possible that “Salt” could very well become a slow-burning grower, accentuated by an expressive guitar solo. In most places, Rise Radiant seems massive, but remains highly digestible within its own sonic palette. The album’s run-time just falls short of fifty minutes and while “The Ascent” finalises the record in an almost eleven minute display of virtuosity, the journey itself never outstays or drags. “Resonate” is similarly sweet, offering a twinkly reprise from the dynamic musical display in “Salt” or the atmospheric climb in “Oceanrise”. Even as the listener reaches the album’s finale, Caligula’s Horse’s penchant for writing ten minute (plus) roller coasters comes into the fray. “The Ascent” further proves the staying power of a band taking a formula and adapting it to whatever current musical direction they follow.

Rise Radiant doesn’t have the same reach on concept when compared to its predecessor, but it does have the momentum. Largely, Caligula’s Horse continues to release brilliant pieces of crafted melody, without the worry of a mid-career slump. Despite the album’s direct comparisons with In Contact (which should be expected considering the reach of that particular record), Rise Radiant will not see the same peaks—but when the listener climbs up “The Ascent”, they’ll be pretty close.



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user ratings (148)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Scheumke (4.5)
Gravity is growth, we’re not there yet....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2020


12522 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Listen to "The Tempest" here:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNc5PT645sU



Gave this a few more hours so Scheumke could work the front page for a bit.

bloc
May 23rd 2020


61146 Comments


Does this one have the signature Australian prog rock vocals like the previous album did?

Digging: Cut Copy - I Thought Of Numbers

bloodshy
May 23rd 2020


966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this band more than I remember...

Digging: Before I Turn - Lovelorn: Moon

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2020


12522 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice dig bloodshy

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2020


12522 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@bloc,



DeadPoe

January 21st 2018





82 Comments

Report this Post



so does every australian prog metal singer sound exactly the same or what?



Scheumke
May 23rd 2020


1735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I find Jim Grey's voice very distincive tbh. Great review Nocte and tnx for the "Gave this a few more hours so Scheumke could work the front page for a bit." Much appreciated.

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

wildinferno2010
May 23rd 2020


344 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Let's compare some Aussie prog vocalists off the top of my head - Jim Grey, Ian Kenny, Kin Etik, dude from Chaos Divine . They're all pretty distinct, but I think I do hear some similarity in how those dudes sing - though it's probably just the accent.

bloc
May 23rd 2020


61146 Comments


lol I remember that comment Nocte

SuperMatt
May 23rd 2020


20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Only thing I heard from these guys was In Contact and I loved it. Pretty excited to give this a listen too.

Shiranui
May 23rd 2020


626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I could be wrong, but the mixing on this album sounds super flat. I listened to this on headphones first and later on through my laptop and it's not like the headphones particularly add something to their sound.



During the back half of Autumn i thought for a straight minute that i was listening to some The Dear Hunter lmao.

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

kalkwiese
May 23rd 2020


5285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They are influenced by TDH so that's not surprising tbh

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

Evangelancer
May 23rd 2020


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is a great review. Been spinning it almost non stop since yesterday and it continues to grow more and more on me. Even if it doesn't end up being as good as In Contact, it's still a mighty fine work on its own.

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2020


11822 Comments


"so does every australian prog metal singer sound exactly the same or what?"

I don't think it's as much that they sound alike, but they have an idiosyncratic style. High clear powerful tenors who enunciate vowels in a distinctive way often while belting notes during those vowels. Jim Grey definitely has an identifiably similar style to Daniel Estrin (Voyager), Andrew Mailloux (Rishloo), Darroh Sudderth (Fair to Midland), and Ian Kenny IMO.

CosmicPie
May 24th 2020


2488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Jim Grey definitely has an identifiably similar style to Daniel Estrin (Voyager), Andrew Mailloux (Rishloo), Darroh Sudderth (Fair to Midland), and Ian Kenny IMO."



All those guys are noticeably different, but yea I guess there is a certain tether that connects them. Daniel Estrin has an entirely different tone than the rest though.

CosmicPie
May 24th 2020


2488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ghost Mile by them is glorious. (Voyager)

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2020


11822 Comments


I actually think Grey and Estrin are the most stylistically similar, even though they have different tones. The outlier to me is Kenny since he uses his falsetto much more and isn't as much of a full-voice belter as the other guys. To me he sounds a little more "British" in that sense because it sounds a little more connected to the way guys like Dan Tompkins and Ross Jennings sing.

CosmicPie
May 24th 2020


2488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Idk... I almost feel like Estrin resembles the clean singing you would hear from Scandinavian metal bands... At least more so than the rest.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2020


11822 Comments


He's maybe the most idiosyncratic in that sense. But you're right, there is a sort of pseudo-operatic quality to his singing that's similar to some symphonic metal bands.

CosmicPie
May 24th 2020


2488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely the outlier of all the vocalists you've mentioned. He never goes anywhere near a falsetto, where the others are constantly hovering around it. I like them all, but he's got a totally different vibe.

CosmicPie
May 24th 2020


2488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

On second thought... I did hear Estrin go falsetto on Colours, but I'm a bit iffy on that album. Feels like polish on top of polish. They were already polish. Too much polish that one.



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