Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Caligula's Horse : " Rise Radiant"
Progressive metal often creates it's own hurdle. Tangled up in shreddy noodles or making grandiose anthems that sound like Journey with a more metal guitar sound. The fifth album by this Austrailian band finds them only flirting with these tropes , but also care about song writing. They are not entrenched with the 80s elements bands like Dream Theater get caught up in. There is little Queensryche about these guys. This plays both for and against them as Queensyrche might be darker . The opening track really had them off to a good start with a balance that worked. Heavy enough despite the gymnastics and the melodic vocals urgent and vital to the song rather than just soaring with the sonic somersaults. It took a second listen for the tricky math groove of " Slow Violence" to connect with me.
"Salt" also grows on me more with an additional listen, but even then it is not as tightly coiled as the first two songs. Yes there are quirky time signatures that veer from what we expect from rock music, so they progressive in that sense. Things begin to mellow at this point in the album. I like some mellow prog metal... Dredg comes to mind., However when they dip into ballads it is darker and more introspective where they are getting kind of sappy on "Resonate". Of course this album is well produced. Kind of comes with the genre. The vocals step it up on "Ocean Rise" and work against the guitar in the best way possible. The song dials up the grit from where they were at so that is a plus. They get back to a more exotic and metal version of the slinky math they were doing on the second song with "Valkyrie". They have packed more guitar solos for this one. They drift back toward power ballads for 'Autumn" . They do a good job building it up and allow it to lead right into the heavier " the Ascent". If you like prog metal this is going to be the song you were waiting for. There are a few Tool like moments, without being a tribute .
The two cover songs that close out the album might be bonus tracks but I am going to count them for the purpose of this review as they are worth mentioning and on the version I have. They do a solid version of "Don't Give Up" . The chick they got for Kate Bush's part , gets the job done. The Split Enz cover is an odder choice. I will give this album a 9 and see how it grows on me.