Long Distance Calling
"Satellite Bay"

(Viva Hate Records 2007)Long Distance Calling - Satellite Bay

Every so often, an album is released that tests the boundaries of a particular genre; an album that explores new pathways in old styles and that opens brilliant new sonic possibilities; an album that gives the listener something that they have truly never heard before. This album…is not one of them. No, "Satellite Bay," the debut effort from Germany's Long Distance Calling, is fairly standard post-metal that, although executed well, doesn't offer much that you haven't already heard before.

While the album is fairly derivative, there are moments of ad-libbing in the familiar script. "Horizon," opening with a bright and poppy drum/guitar intro, is an up-tempo head-bobber with hooky sensibilities that are unfortunately lacking from much of the rest of the album. "Built Without Hands" has a distinct Tool flavor; the slightly off-kilter melodies, hushed lyrics (one of the only songs that sports them), and booming climax combine to sound like Long Distance Calling riffing on "Third Eye." The best of the rest is "Aurora," which showcases the album's most moving and well-constructed example of the light/heavy dynamic. Everything else is basically a rough approximation of Cult of Luna's "Somewhere Along the Highway;" so if you think about it, Long Distance Calling at least picked sweet source material to crib from. It's too bad Long Distance Calling jumped on the NeurIsis train so late; if they hopped on board earlier, this would probably be some wicked stuff.

As it is, "Satellite Bay" comes off as a serviceable but by-the-numbers foray into familiar territory. There is still a lot of good music to be made in this genre (see earlier reviews of Year of No Light, Rosetta, and Intronaut by Yours Truly), and Long Distance Calling certainly seems capable of delivering a knockout. "Satellite Bay," though, bears the mark of a band that is still learning what it takes to make a great album.

B

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