Boundless by Long Distance CallingRelease date: February 2, 2018
Label: InsideOut Music
When thinking about muscular, guitar-driven post-rock/metal, one of the first names that come to mind is Long Distance Calling. Over the years, they’ve broken the boundaries and experimented with a several things such as including a vocalist in one track on each album (Peter Dolving, John Bush, Jonas Renkse), including a full-time vocalist (Petter Carlsen) for a few albums (The Flood Inside and Trips), they recorded a jam EP called Nighthawk.
In this process, they mingled with genres such as post-rock, post-metal, progressive metal, alternative rock, hard rock, etc. Boundless brings them back to their roots, back to the sound they started their career with. They made the decision to strip down the vocals and do what they know best and feel most comfortable doing: play instrumental rock and metal. For older fans, it’s more Avoid the Light than Satellite Bay. In other words, this new album is a very healthy mix of fully instrumental prog and post-rock/metal.
As usual, in any Long Distance Calling album, there is a heavy emphasis on guitars, groove, and melody. One thing they’ve always had and never lost is that muscular sound. Boundless as a whole is not groundbreaking or innovative, but it’s an extremely solid album. It sounds natural and unforced.
It’s great to press play and ‘Out There’ kind of takes me back to the album Avoid the Light. The atmosphere, the guitar tone, the overall vibe and that riff at the end… sublime! Long Distance Calling are great at doing this. Not just great but among the best. That almost traditional heavy metal galloping riff on ‘Ascending’ can get anyone headbanging. It leads the way into an energetic and well-structured song. All the transitions are seamless and balanced. The tempo increases a few notches with the progressive, dynamic and somewhat metallic ‘In the Clouds’.
Tracks such as ‘Like a River’, ‘The Far Side’, ‘On the Verge’ or ‘Weightless’ seem a bit unfocused or even out of place. Not saying they’re even close to being bad songs but they seem out of touch with the other four.
‘Skydivers’, the last track, is heavy and evil with blastbeats thrown into the mix. It’s a full-on post-metal track for a few minutes before turning into typical classic proggy Long Distance Calling. Transitions are again spotless. I thought it was a great way to close the record and perhaps a sneak peak of the direction the band might take in the future.
Overall, It’s a good, well-written album with some really strong tracks. It’s like a comfortable place, where everything is cozy and familiar. Things don’t need to be risky and bold to be good and Boundless is living proof of that. I feel they needed to release this album to get them back on the right (or a different) track. Knowing the band and their discography, I’m confident to say the next album will be quite different from this.