Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant (Album Review)

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“Rise Radiant,” the fifth full-length release by Australian prog-rock purveyors Caligula’s Horse, strikes the listener with a startling shocker of equaling and even exceeding everything the Brisbane natives put out to date. Expanding on their technicality, resolute joy and even some adjusts in sound, Caligula’s Horse prove themselves what they’ve hinted many moons ago—an act that is one of the forerunners among the modern progressive music.

The key factor to savoring “Rise Radiant” lies in the quintet’s varied musicianship, refreshing production and distinct outcome. Guitarists Sam Vallen and Adrian Goleby, and drummer Josh Griffin display a powerful chemistry. Everything sounds well-thought, as if it’s the perfect amount of density and lightness, which altogether comes across as ambitious and epic. “Valkyrie” holds everything together in a faultless package, presenting a meticulous combination of technical proficiency and thick, metallic backbone. The same goes for “The Tempest” and “Oceanrise.” The former is the exemplary single because it’s listener-friendly while kicking off the record with overwhelming amounts of vitality. This is conveyed to the rest of “Rise Radiant” and the closing “The Ascent” in particular. It’s almost 11 minutes long, but doesn’t feel long-winded for a tiny bit. Instead, this fine piece holds the listener whether the riffs and rhythm section are pounding through the or stopping for fleeting yet masterfully put ethereal passages.

It’s these ethereal segments that give Caligula’s Horse a much-needed tweak in their tone. “Resonate” comes forth with a captivating synth melody, letting Jim Grey’s vocals shine brightly through-and-through. It succeeds in its mission with a moderate growth as the atmosphere thickens. It’s one of the most gratifying and invigorating songs on “Rise Radiant,” as well as band’s opus overall. The reverberating electronic beats allow everyone to breathe as the track goes by, including Grey’s vocals and the bass, courtesy of Dale Prinsse. It’s parts like this on the album that manifest how Caligula’s Horse have grown since 2011’s debut “Moments from Ephemeral City.”

“Rise Radiant” Album Artwork

There doesn’t have to be a conflict between heavy outbursts and melodic, laid-back pieces. Caligula’s Horse successfully merge the two extremes, showing that they can co-exist on “Rise Radiant” back-to-back. The production of the album exceeds the limitations of definitions for adjectives like ‘powerful’ and ‘overflowing.’

Although it may not seem like that at first glance, this is arguably Caligula’s Horse at their heftiest. On the other side, this is also an album that exudes melody in large volumes. The Australians have come upon an enigmatic method that makes their intriguing progressive metal sound reveals what is it made of.

“Rise Radiant” brings to the table what the previous releases in a way missed; a sense of standalone character. At this point, Caligula’s Horse are one of the most “radiant” stars of modern progressive metal. It may be that the band hasn’t yet achieved progressive metal perfection, but this record comes as close as possible to that achievement. Even if not, their dedication to constant self-improvement and exploration means it can’t be far away.

Release By: Inside Out Music
Release Date: May 22nd, 2020
Genre: Progressive Rock / Metal


  • Jim Grey / Vocals
  • Sam Vallen / Guitars
  • Adrian Goleby / Guitars
  • Dale Prinsse / Bass
  • Josh Griffin / Drums

“Rise Radiant” Track-Listing:

  1. The Tempest
  2. Slow Violence
  3. Salt
  4. Resonate
  5. Oceanrise
  6. Valkyrie
  7. Autumn
  8. The Ascent
9.0 Excellent

“Rise Radiant” taps into denser grooves and more vigorous dynamics. When an act like this has such a captivating, distinctive viewpoint to begin with, sometimes all they need is a tenuous adjust to keep it feeling fresh.

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 9
  • Production 9

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