Sunday, September 17, 2017
Album Review: Caligula's Horse - In Contact
This new record finds Caligula's Horse growing into the change in style they made, feeling more comfortable mixing djent chords and riffs with their melodies. "In Contact" is the album they were trying to make last time, but they weren't yet fully sure how to get there. This is a stunning sounding, well-executed album of profoundly modern prog metal that still manages to have the melodic sensibility of their breakthrough album.
If I can backtrack to that comparison I made earlier, melody is the difference between Caligula's Horse and Leprous. Both are bands with worlds of talent when it comes to executing their ideas, but only one of the bands writes songs that are as concerned with being surface-level engaging as they are with being interesting to the hardcore prog audience. That band is not Leprous.
It sounds perhaps unnecessary for a prog band, but it's vital that Caligula's Horse is able to make their songs work on more than one level, for more than one audience. That's how you grow, and how you eventually become a bigger and bigger name. "In Contact" is the sort of album that can do that for Caligula's Horse. There is plenty in the guitar playing, with the off-kilter riffs and stuttering time signatures, to please the prog crowd, but the songs can also be taken as intricate melodic metal, which opens up a whole new world.
Here's the part where I have to be honest. Is "In Contact" the kind of album that I can easily love and say will be a favorite of mine? No, I can't. I'm not that wedded to progressive metal. What I can say is that I can certainly hear and appreciate what Caligula's Horse has done here. For its aim, "In Contact" is exquisitely performed. It isn't the target I would first shoot for, but that doesn't take away from its success. Caligula's Horse has stepped up their game here, and perhaps found the sound to build their future upon. I know this much; if the choice comes down to Leprous or Caligula's Horse, I'm taking Caligula's Horse every time.