Caligula’s Horse : Charcoal Grace : Album Review

Caligula’s Horse “Charcoal Grace” Album Review: A New Prog Metal Masterpiece

In the ever-evolving landscape of progressive metal, Brisbane’s Caligula’s Horse emerges with their latest offering, “Charcoal Grace,”. As a newcomer to their discography, I was intrigued by the band’s reputation for blending intricate compositions with emotive storytelling. “Charcoal Grace” is a testament to their growth and an album that demands attention.

Caligula’s Horse cites a diverse range of influences, from King Crimson and Steely Dan to Opeth and Jeff Buckley. This eclectic mix is evident throughout “Charcoal Grace,” where moments of Opeth’s complexity meet the melodic sensibilities of Dream Theater and the atmospheric depth of Steven Wilson. There’s a melancholic undertone reminiscent of Katatonia, making the album a rich, multi-layered experience.

“Charcoal Grace” is not an album of instant earworms; rather, it’s a complex, richly textured work that rewards repeated listens. Each track invites the listener to explore different musical layers, from the intricate drum patterns to the weaving guitar melodies. It’s the kind of album that reveals new details with every play, ensuring it remains a fresh and engaging experience.

The album opens with “The World Breathes With Me,” a ten-minute epic that sets the tone with its grand piano intro and metallic riffs. However, it’s the 24-minute title track “Charcoal Grace” that stands as the album’s centerpiece. Split into four parts, it’s a demanding yet rewarding journey that encapsulates the band’s ambition and skill.

Yet, for me, the highlight is “Mute,” a track that combines solo vocals with a mesmerizing melody and complex arrangements. It’s a showcase of Caligula’s Horse’s ability to blend aggression with beauty, making it a standout moment in an already impressive album.

For those unfamiliar with Caligula’s Horse “Charcoal Grace” serves as an excellent introduction. Its depth, complexity, and emotional resonance make it accessible to newcomers while still satisfying genre aficionados. It’s an album that, much like the band’s influences, spans the spectrum of progressive music, offering something for everyone.

“Charcoal Grace” by Caligula’s Horse is a compelling addition to the progressive metal canon. Its thoughtful composition, emotional depth, and technical prowess make it an essential listen for fans of the genre. As my first foray into their music, it has left a lasting impression, prompting me to explore their earlier works. Highly recommended for those seeking a profound musical journey.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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