Long Distance Calling – Boundless (Inside Out)

Thursday, 12th April 2018
Rating: 8/10

One day, various instrumental metal bands should get together and do some kind of tell-all regarding the never-ending pressure they face in terms of adding a vocalist. Surely the stories of pushy label dudes, constant journalistic inquiries and fan bewilderment would make for great reading, eh? Indeed, every band of this variety eventually meets their vocalist maker. Some have resisted (Pelican) while others dip their toes in the water, take the plunge, then jump out, like Karma to Burn and Germany’s Long Distance Calling, who employed vocalist Martin Fischer for two albums (2013’s The Flood and 2016’s Trips), only to return to their all-instrumental formation for Boundless. Like we said: It would be good reading.

While never quite a complete and total metal band, Long Distance Calling have had their flirtations, most notably on their excellent 2009 Avoid the Light, which featured the best Katatonia song that never was, “The Nearing Grave.” (We say that because Jonas Renkse sings on it, so there you go.) On Boundless, LDC uses a collage of mostly heavy, pretty modern guitars, some nearing post-metal strength. It’s evident on opener “Out There,” while prog flourishes highlight “Ascending.” The melodic space that is the primary driver on “The Far Side” relies on repetition — much to the song’s benefit, while even some stoner, fuzzy rock gets down on “Weightless.”

The fact we’re still talking today about Long Distance Calling means they’ve been doing something right, even if they’ve abandoned the vocalist idea. Truth is, they were better off without a guy singing over top of their songs, which by and large, have always been able to stand on their own two feet, whether it’s because of LDC’s compositional ability or riff might. After what could have been a “tail-between-the-legs” moment, Long Distance Calling burn as bright as ever on Boundless.

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