"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Long Distance Calling - "Long Distance Calling" (CD)

Long Distance Calling - "Long Distance Calling" CD cover image

"Long Distance Calling" track listing:

1. Into The Black Wide Open (8:33)
2. The Figrin D'an Boogie (6:09)
3. Invisible Giants (7:11)
4. Timebends (8:12)
5. Arecibo (Long Distance Calling) (5:54)
6. Middleville (8:30)
7. Beyond The Void (11:41)

Reviewed by on March 14, 2011

"This is a great release from an underrated band that, like Lye By Mistake, deserves more recognition."

Long Distance Calling is another instrumental band in a crowded genre, which may already be too much for some to handle. Instrumental bands seem to be on the rise lately, or at least their popularity is. The problem with instrumental bands is that many can’t sustain a listener’s attention without vocals or a verse/chorus structure. The songs favor fleeting satisfaction over true emotional attachment. On their self-titled third album, Long Distance Calling leans towards the latter by providing a sound with moody electronic accompaniment and straight-laced songwriting.

Instrumental music tends to be jam-packed with so much content that a smooth flow is sacrificed for another flashy guitar lead. Long Distance Calling isn’t satisfied with just pulling solos out of their collective asses for 50 minutes, though great solo playing can be heard. There is a purpose and an end goal to each song that usually takes seven or eight minutes to evolve. The lengthiness of the material is a mixed bag. Sometimes, a song is extended to point of overkill, like the last few minutes of “Beyond The Void.” Then there are songs like “Timebends,” which is the appropriate jam for a car ride down an empty highway on a warm spring afternoon.

The use of electronics is a broad area of exploration for the band. They are primary mood enhancers, whether it’s a spacey hue on “Into The Black Wide Open” or a sense of wonderment on “Imaginary Giants.” However, like every other instrument, they are only a small piece of the puzzle. Not one instrument is the leader here; it’s more about the group and how they bounce off one another to create music loaded with melody and groove. This isn’t heavy music, though “Arecibo (Long Distance Calling)” comes close with its upbeat pace and driving riffs.

Past albums have had one song with a vocalist involved. Their debut album, “Satellite Bay,” had The Haunted’s Peter Dolving. The second full-length release, “Avoid The Light,” featured Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse. For this album, the band called upon Armored Saint vocalist John Bush to help out with “Middleville.” What the band does with this song is work around a traditional verse/chorus structure. An acoustic opening leads into pure metal that sounds like a progressive Armored Saint tune. Bush puts in a workman-like performance; he never disappoints with his vocals and refuses to do so on “Middleville.”

This album won’t change a person’s negative opinion about the decadence of instrumental music, but fans of this style of music will be enamored by the atmospheric touches. The seven tracks are not accessible on the surface, and overly-lengthy at times. Patience and diligence is needed in grasping the full scale of the record. The chemistry between each member is absolute, showing a knowledgable bunch of musicians that know how to build a song without forcing feats of technical boredom. This is a great release from an underrated band that, like Lye By Mistake, deserves more recognition.

Highs: Trades in flash for emotional substance, guest spot from John Bush on "Middleville," electronics tastefully done

Lows: Overly-lengthy in parts, will bore those that can't stand instrumental music

Bottom line: An instrumental album that overcomes issues with length to be a satisfying listen to fans of this style of music.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)