Let’s get this out of the way before it becomes the elephant in the room; Caligula’s Horse sound a lot like Opeth. Now that’s out in the open, we can concentrate on what a great record their 3rd release ’Bloom’ actually is. Rather than being mere copyists, the Brisbane progressive rockers have taken the legendary Swedes’ blueprint and brought about their own take on atmospheric, vocal-led, metallic prog.
Vocalist Jim Grey has a crystal clear wail that’d grace any band. and it’s this that provides the bedrock to prevent accusations of rip-offs. The title track starts with a minute or so of neo-folk voice and gentle guitar accompaniment that’s simply captivating, before it roars into a whirl of guitars and drums at the perfect moment.
What Caligula’s Horse have taken wholesale from their mentors is the uncanny ability to write riff-driven songs that attach themselves to your brain from the word go. That can’t be copied outright though, and they should be applauded for having the songwriting ability to carry it off.
So there you have it, Opeth is a spectre that Caligula’s Horse will struggle to unshackle themselves from without a major shift in sound. They shouldn’t worry too much about that though, as ‘Bloom’ is representative of a band who’ve not just flattered their peers but almost matched them.
’Bloom’ by Caligula’s Horse is out now on InsideOut Music.
Words by Rob Fearnle.