REVIEW: Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant


Australian progressive metal band CALIGULA’S HORSE is set to release their newest studio album titled “Rise Radiant” on 22 May 2020 via Inside Out Music. Formed in 2011 by vocalist Jim Grey and guitarist Sam Vallen, the band has so far released four full-length studio albums, an EP, and has toured with such bands as OPETHMASTODONTHE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLANPROTEST THE HERO, and NE OBLIVISCARIS.

Very melodic and soulful, but also very rocking and groovy, “Rise Radiant” offers listeners plenty of earworms and harmonies to keep them hooked for almost 48 minutes of playtime (not counting the two covers that act as bonus tracks). Described in the press release as “an uncompromising exploration of the human experience dressed in vivid musical color,” the listeners can expect to find both deep and emotional lyrics (“Salt” and “Oceanrise” really impressed me) and top-notch performances from the band (“Valkyrie” or “The Ascent” are great examples) throughout this record.

On the rocking and groovy side, besides the three singles released as a preview to this album – “The Tempest,” which opens the album on vibrant guitars, urgent riffs, and up-tempo melodies; main single “Slow Violence” with its bouncy melodies, intense bass and guitar lines, and catchy chorus; and “Valkyrie,” boasting a darker atmosphere coupled with a superb guitar solo and some djent influences that make it feel more complex than the rest. “Rise Radiant” also offers two heavier numbers in “Oceanrise” and “The Ascent.” Talking about the bass, Dale Prinsse’s melodies are superb throughout this album, giving enough darkness and swing to the music, and holding the rhythm section tightly down alongside Sam Vallen and Adrian Goleby’s guitars. Don’t be fooled by the gentle opening, because “Oceanrise” is heavy from a vocal standpoint, as vocalist Jim Grey grabs your attention with a commanding delivery, especially during the majestic chorus, while a beautiful guitar solo adds even more melody to the instrumental part. Clocking in at almost 11 minutes, “The Ascent” is a monster of a track that is equal parts heavy and moody, meaning that it blends aggressive, guitar-driven passages with more subdued, atmospheric moments. The ups and downs on this track are masterfully crafted so that everything feels natural and organic, giving the track a nice fluidity and allowing the album to close on the highest of notes. This is indeed progressive metal at its finest.

On the melodic and soulful side, “Salt” starts off with some piano, followed by a burst of guitars and drums, but it is actually a very introspective and emotional piece of music with a dramatic vocal delivery, some atmospheric keys, and elegant drum beats and fills from Josh Griffin. To phrase it a bit differently, “Salt” disguises its heaviness with melody and ambiance. The ethereal “Resonate” feels like a beautiful interlude between “Salt” and “Oceanrise,” a quieter moment of reflection and serenity that gives the album more depth and texture with the rich vocal harmonies that drive it. The melancholic ballad “Autumn” is a fragile and delicate track that focuses mostly on acoustic guitar and vocals, building in intensity towards the end and giving the album some more complexity and nuance.

Just like its wonderful cover artwork presents a tranquil landscape, “Rise Radiant” presents a superb sonic experience with plenty of drama and serenity, atmosphere and metallic edges, bright and enjoyable melodies, and vibrant and light moments that balance each other perfectly, enhanced by the crisp production. With a true show of virtuosity and musicianship, CALIGULA’S HORSE’s star is set to rise even higher on the musical firmament.   

Written by Andrea Crow


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


Jim Grey – lead vocals

Sam Vallen – lead guitar

Adrian Goleby – guitar

Dale Prinsse – bass

Josh Griffin – drums


Inside Out Music


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