I had really high hopes for the new album by Aussie proggers Caligula’s Horse. While I liked their last album “Bloom,” I still found myself partial to their previous album 2013’s “The Tide, the Thief & River’s End.” Add in that singer Jim Grey’s other band Arcane broke up after releasing one of the best albums that I have ever heard with “Known/Learned.” Yeah I know they are different bands but when bands share a vocalist, it’s hard not to compare.
Regardless of all of that, “In Contact” is their latest and while it has some great riffs from Sam Vallen and excellent vocals from Grey, it’s still not what I was hoping for. There are plenty of great songs like “Will’s Song,” “Song for No One” and the epic closer “Graves” that have all the elements yet are undone by strange choices. Gang vocals??
The band use the old thrash/punk gang vocals thing and I don’t understand why. It’s where a group of people just yell out the vocals. It was terrible back then and it’s even worse in a prog metal song. For example, “Songs for No One” is a good song; it has a great main riff, great melody/chorus and plenty of dynamics…BUT what the fuck is with the gang vocals at the end??
I’m also not liking the overly djent riffing on some of the tracks. Fortunately it’s not OVERLY done but when you hear the cool riffs like on “The Hands are the Hardest,” you know the band can do A LOT of great things without repeating things that have been done before. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks. Another track that is really good song wise is the ballad “Love Conquers All.” Sadly it’s short and the beginning of the song has that annoying fake heavy bass sound. The song could have been something big.
Each time that I’ve listened to the album, I think that perhaps I was just being too picky or something previously. But when those moments that I don’t like come on, I am so disappointed that I actually say “noooo” out loud! I want to LOVE this album because it’s so clear that this is a really talented group. Unfortunately, I also know what I don’t like. Why? For me prog should be something that explores new ground and while no prog has really used things like gang vocals, they are very dated sounding. And yes I feel like I am maybe making too much of the parts that I don’t like on “In Contact,” but when I like a band, my expectations are higher.
- Dream The Dead
- Will’s Song (Let The Colours Run)
- The Hands Are The Hardest
- Love Conquers All
- Songs For No One
- Fill My Heart
- Inertia And The Weapon Of The Wall
- The Cannon’s Mouth