LONG DISTANCE CALLING
Release Date: 29th April 2016
German progressive rockers Long Distance Calling started life as an instrumental rock band in 2007 but from 2012 on they have experimented with stretching their musical vision to include some vocals, even going so far as to have singer Martin Fischer as a permanent member of the band. Fischer recently left but Norwegian Petter Carlsen has been recruited to provide vocals on this, their fifth full length release.
Carlsen has a fine, strong melodic voice and acquits himself well on the songs he takes part in. Long Distance Calling don't really stick to a tried and trusted formula and the variety in their song writing is one of their strong points. So you can go from the epic rock sound of 'Reconnect' with their Norwegian guest making the most of the big chorus in the song to the gentle Anathema like passages in 'Rewind' and 'Plans' which work well in contrast.
On the tracks with lead vocals everything comes together best on the progressive metal vibes of 'Lines', perfectly melding Carlsen's vocals with some delicate touches of guitar before building into frantic yet controlled riff driven sections.
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Of course Long Distance Calling made their name as an instrumental band and this inevitably is an album of two halves. The instrumental tracks vary in style too. They can go from the measured rock of 'Getaway' which has a catchy enough hookline to get picked up as a tv theme tune to the dreamy 'Presence' with its spoken section.
The level of their ambitions in making instrumental rock music is shown in album closer 'Flux' which is twelve minutes plus of beautifully put together passages, building from a gentle start through various progressive and even slightly jazzy phases to a rousing guitar fuelled climax before another deep and maybe meaningful spoken section takes it to the end.
I am sure for many fans these instrumental tracks are a big part of the appeal of the band. However, for me the tracks with vocals are so good I am always slightly disappointed that vocals don't come in on the instrumental compositions which really deserve to be filled out into full songs in my opinion. A band with a different vision then and maybe an acquired taste but there is some seriously tasty and powerful prog rock on here for anyone interested in the genre.