After fifty albums, fifty article entries and more than 10,000 words ranting at your face, we have finally hit the true, aural zenith of 2017’s heavy scene. And the coveted number one spot goes to the fourth album from Australian prog darlings Caligula’s Horse, In Contact.
Knitting together ten sumptuous, seemingly stand-alone tracks through the concept of using art to connect with lost dreams and humanity’s innate desire to constantly reach forward, In Contact is the perfect ride for artsy dickheads like me who love their music complex, emotive, unpredictable and purposeful.
But if all this proggy nonsense sounds a little too weird and needlessly convoluted for you, that’s alright: you still have the technical leads of Sam Vallen and the heavenly clean vocals of Jim Grey to get you through this hour of brilliance just fine.
Unlike recent releases from similarly complex bands like Dream Theater, Caligula’s Horse balance out their technical madness with actual rock mainstays like melody and tonal diversity. “Love Conquers All” and “Capulet” are slow-burning ballads peppered with acoustic loveliness, while “Songs for No One”, “Dream the Dead” and especially the grand finale “Graves” are lengthy yet memorable slices of experimental rock, incorporating gang vocals, solos galore, enormous choruses and, in the latter’s case, even a sax solo from Shining’s main man Jørgen Munkeby.
In Contact represents one of progressive music’s leading lights at their very best, with every aspect of the record slotting together like a jigsaw to make for a fluid mind-bender of a ride.