Australian five-piece Caligula’s Horse take their name from a notorious episode in ancient Roman history when one of the most notorious early emperors made his favourite horse, Incitatus, a Senator. Incitatus means “at full gallop”, which is a good name for a band who play state-of-the art twin-guitar progressive metal, with serpentine riffs, memorable vocal melodies and some spectacular soloing.
It begins deceptively quietly with gently acoustic guitar, folk-flavoured vocals, and a delicate blues-flavoured guitar break before exploding into metal half-way through the opening number. Their use of dynamics recalls mid-period Opeth, especially on early highlight “Marigold” with its loud-quiet-loud structure, though they eschew the death metal growls in favour of clean vocals throughout. The highly melodic and atmospheric “Firelight” recalls Riverside, while the guitar-shredding epics “Dragonfly” and “Daughter of the Mountain” blending elements of metal and jazz with soaring vocal harmonies recall the modern sounds of Haken or Maschine.