Caligula's Horse- Bloom

Take the time to listen to this. It doesn’t get much better.
Release Date: 
16 Oct 2015 (All day)

Brisbane’s Caligula’s Horse have had opportunity knocking at their door recently, having just signed with InsideOut Music and finding themselves situated on the eve of a huge Australian and International tour. Despite the furore Caligula’s Horse have managed to weave a musical creation in the form of their third album Bloom that sings true and does nothing but enhance their reputation as one the premier bands at the coalface of the Australian Progressive metal scene, which is making such significant waves worldwide.

Bloom kicks off in the form of a title track, which begins with a quiet word with vocalist Jim Grey, singing the first of his ethereal vocal lines that consistently entrance throughout the length of the album. Guitarist Sam Vallen lays his footprint early on Bloom with an incredibly delicate, playful solo which only gets more enjoyable upon each listen. Whilst definitely its own song; the title track Bloom serves as an unconventional overture, displaying the change in musical themes Caligula’s Horse have employed throughout the album. A decidedly more positive outlook, highlighted especially when compared to their second album The Tide, The Thief & Rivers End is present. A welcome change, especially when done to such a high level as it is here. The title track launches directly into Marigold, a song which embodies all that Bloom sets out to exclaim. Marigold is a song that will surely thrive in the live arena, with a backbone of groove and melodic energy provided by Drummer Geoff Irish, bassist Dave Grouper, and guitarist Zac Greensill which in turn provides the perfect platform for Jim Grey's unique vocal melodies and harmonies, thus creating a package that will get any crowd moving and singing.

A fantastic quality of Caligula’s Horse is the lyrical content they provide. Entrenched with complex metaphors and messages the opportunity is often left open for listeners to interpret songs in many different ways. Easily the most powerful song, both lyrically and musically, on Bloom is the single Firelight which sings words of mourning and loss in such a sombre yet uplifting manner, “This is for the ones who burn so short, but so bright. No, I have never been so sure you’re firelight.”

The overall song writing throughout Bloom is quite incredible in many places. Rust, another song which will be more than welcomed on the live stage, is built around a simple melody, used in multiple ways throughout the song surrounded by some of the albums most ferocious musicality. Sam Vallen crushes the record for most notes played per second in his earth-shattering guitar solo. Add on a breakdown which will see audiences losing their minds and you’ve got a live staple in Rust. On the opposite side of the spectrum from Rust are more brooding songs Dragonfly and Daughter of the Mountain, this first of which at first listen seemed underwhelming, but after more intensive listening; the amount of layers present on this track elevated it to one of the standouts on the album, especially with that monumental ending. A slight blemish on the album is the production. A criticism of Caligula’s Horse is that they sound amazingly better live than they do on recordings. Whilst Sam Vallen (Producer) has dramatically improved with each Caligula’s Horse album he has produced (to which Bloom is no exception), there is still an ever decreasing gap to be bridged from their live sound to their studio sound.  

Caligula’s Horse have gone above and beyond on Bloom, seemingly improving on every aspect of their ensemble. For fans of old, the riffing is still heavy and technical, the vocals are still layered extravagantly, but there will be many new fans arriving on the back of this release as well, such is the quality.