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Caligula's Horse: Bloom

Progressive Australian quintet learn to go with the flow

Bloom is the third album from this fine Brisbane-based outfit that started out as a one-man band, and a debut for Inside Out.

It’s less oppressive than its acclaimed, conceptually based predecessor, 2013’s The Tide, The Thief & River’s End, although a reside of bleakness remains. The five-piece call their style a fusion of progressive metal and alt rock, but there’s no mistaking the heaviness, particularly via the album’s standout track, Rust.

For all their technical excellence, Caligula’s Horse refuse to get bogged down in gratuitous time changes. Bloom is mostly imbued with an even, steady flow, rolling with twists and turns throughout its eight songs. Jim Grey sings like a superhero as the album takes on a life of its own, cajoled by the bruising riffery of founder Sam Vallen and Zac Greensill, and there’s a beauteous fragile quality to tracks such as Daughter Of The Mountain.

This is the work of a band with all of the tools, and the nous to use them to the maximum.