The Tide, The Thief, & River’s End
01. A Gift To Afterthought
02. Water’s Edge
04. Into The White
05. Old Cracks In New Earth
06. Dark Hair Down
08. All Is Quiet By The Wall
Great records are the standard these days, it’s hard to be disappointed a lot of the time when the average level of competency is so high, so it takes something else to push a record from ‘great’ to ‘an absolute must-have’. And sometimes it’s the records that come completely out of nowhere to blindside you that are the most memorable. Caligula’s Horse may not be the most well-known name in the more progressive circles, but if The Tide, The Thief & River’s End is anything to go by, then Australia has yet another name to add to the ever growing list of formidable players.
Taking an extremely liberal approach to progressive music, Caligula’s Horse is as much influenced by the meandering twists of Dream Theater and Haken as they are the more rhythmically focused modern day approach of Tesseract. For every moment that is filled with soaring clean vocals and groove-laden riffs comes either the sort of tasteful solo that would make John Petrucci jealous or the sort of quiet and introspective passage that makes Tool‘s music so dynamic and captivating.
Making what is possibly one of the best opening statements of the year, ‘A Gift To Afterthought‘ is a gift-wrapped (no pun intended… OK, maybe a little bit) package of infectious vocal lines and juddering riffs that will ohrwurm their way deep into your head and provide an extremely concise mission statement. ‘Water’s Edge‘ is the follow up and shows the other side of this coin immediately — soothing acoustic guitars and cleans bring to mind modern day prog-rock minded Opeth gives way to the sort of ruthless riff that the band utilised in their heavier, earlier material.
Vocalist Jim Grey’s voice is a constant attention-drawer throughout and acts as the main anchor that draws together all these separate sections that sound disparate on paper but weave together seamlessly in execution. ‘Into The White‘ initially draws back the technicality, only slightly, into simpler territory and gives Grey the chance and space to show off exactly how good he is, against a backdrop of acoustic guitars, piano and laid-back drumming.
The Tide, The Thief & River’s End has very few immediate weaknesses, throughout it’s entire run time the only thing you could really fault them for is sometimes lingering too long on those quieter sections. But even then, it’s subjective — it’s probably entirely redundant for a metal site to praise the heavier sections over everything else, however they have such a knack for creating them that you couldn’t help but wish for more.
In all, if you’re a fan of progressive metal, classic rock or anything in between — Caligula’s Horse are a band that you need to know. They may have come out of nowhere for most of us, but that’s not an excuse to skip over them when The Tide… will be one of the more diverse and gratifying listening experiences you’ll have all year. An absolute must-have.
The Tide, The Thief And The River’s End gets…