Holding Absence – Holding Absence

A debut album should stand as a bold statement of intent. Some bands absolutely nail the formula that they will rigidly stick to for their illustrious careers like Slayer did with Show No Mercy (Metal Blade Records). For others, it can be the start of a journey that is a mystery yet to unfold as they explore their own sounds and find comfort in their own abilities, see Undertow (Zoo Entertainment) by Prog Metal maestros, Tool. With their first full-length and self-titled effort (Sharptone), where do Holding Absence sit? Continue reading

Caligula’s Horse – Bloom

Caligulas-Horse-Bloom-cover

In recent years Australia has given a burgeoning and genuinely exciting scene of metal, particularly those of a progressive nature. From the likes of Karnivool to recent genre alchemists Ne Obliviscaris, such bands are not only making waves on the wider radar but are doing so with inventive, compelling and brilliant flavor. Similarly Brisbane originated Caligula’s Horse have made a mark, with two well received albums, a characterised brand of emotive progressive metal and the eventual signing to prog label titans InsideOut. Not too shabby really.

Latest album Bloom (InsideOut) begins on almost misleading terms, as the title track begins with a lengthy, acoustic passage accompanied by soft vocals before it gradually increases tempo and dynamic, in part reminiscent of Opeth, as it proves to build up towards the comparatively heavier ‘Marigold’. Throughout the album Caligula’s Horse strike that tricky balance between the heavy and lighter elements with aplomb melding the complexity of tech metal and some near djent-like moments with emotional resonance and accessibility. In fact, much like Agent Fresco, there is a great level of pop sensibilities and a weight of influences and styles, but doing so with a style and feel of their own.

At an approximate duration of 45 minutes, Bloom offers a rich diversity and layering but in a run time more manageable for the more novice listener. Catchy, poppier moments and recognisable influences with further draw people in, whilst rich textures and the fluid blend of complexity and aspects of serenity will keep the trained listener engaged for ages. A stunning effort from a band that are quickly proving to be one of the contemporary prog scene’s most promising torch bearers.

 

8.0/10

 

CHRIS TIPPELL

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