Monday, June 6

Long Distance Calling - Long Distance Calling

Long Distance Calling
Long Distance Calling


Vocals have been left behind recently, with the rise of instrumental rock bands over the past decade. Carving their own niche into the market are German rockers Long Distance Calling with their self-titled third release, which had high expectations to reach after such positive reactions to Avoid The Light. Rather than cloning already successful contemporary bands, the 5-piece search further afield for influences, drawing from a range including Genesis, Pink Floyd, Pelican and Tool, which results in an incredibly dynamic release.

One of the strongest points of Long Distance Calling is the interaction of each musician; rarely does one member take center-stage, instead the music bounces off each of them like a glorified jam session. However, unlike most jam sessions, each song has a purpose to it, from the funky Led Zeppelin-based “The Figrin D'An Boogie” to the Alice In Chains feel of “Middleville”. Jordan and Funtmann are masterful in trading layers of riffs and solos such as in “Invisible Giants”, always leaving room for Hoffman's rumbling bass, which takes on a stoner/classic rock feel in “Arecibo (Long Distance Calling)”, and Rathmer's usually cymbal-based drumming reaches new heights in the infectious funk section of “Timebends”. Van Bonn's ambience and industrial sounds add layers of atmosphere, especially to the bookend tracks, the latter of which provides a musical link between Avoid The Light and Satellite Bay.

The production of this album is crystal clear, highlighting each instrument throughout every twist and turn. The fact that this album can hold attention so easily without vocals is tested somewhat with the habitual inclusion of a vocalized track, in the past featuring the likes of Peter Dolving and Jonas Renske. This time around, John Bush adopts a Layne Stayley accent, and sways the band into a more relaxed sound and traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure. I personally preferred Renske's contribution to “The Nearing Grave”, but others may enjoy ”Middleville” more.

Aside from the slightly weaker “Middleville”, there are few flaws to be seen in this album. The influences are easy enough to spot in each part, the riff used in “Arecibo (Long Distance Calling)” is slightly over-repeated, and the closer track could do with trimming, but these don't diminish the overall enjoyment gained from this album.

Comparable to Scale The Summit, Long Distance Calling leaves a lasting impression with tight musicianship and a full spectrum of dynamics. A worthy successor of their sophomore album, it won't sway those away from vocal-based songs, but it's an affirmation that music can still speak to its listeners without words.

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Rating: 4.25/5

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