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.