In their biography the French progressive metal band Klone state that their label mates Anathema are one of their biggest influences. When you take a brief look at the history of both bands, you quickly will find out that their musical development also has amazing parallels. Both bands started making heavy doom-like metal. But after a while they both decided to swap the doom metal for dark atmospheric metal. Because of this both bands got more accessible and reached a wider audience. So far the parallels, this review goes about the new album of Klone, titled Le Grand Voyage. And it's certainly not a clone of Anathema.
The French album title is a little bit misleading because all the tracks are sung in English. And for those who always hesitate to buy these kind of albums because of the French-, German-, Italian accents discussion, this album can be bought with both eyes closed.
Klone has the following line up: Yann Ligner (vocals), Aldrick Guadagnino (guitars), Guillaume Bernard (rhythm guitar, atmospheric guitars), Jean Etienne Maillard (bass) and Morgan Berthet (drums). They used also a couple of additional musicians: Raphael Badawi (orchestration programming, tracks: 1, 5), Louis Roux (steel guitar, track 3), Matthieu Metzger (saxophone, piano, keyboards, computer).
After the first time listening to the album I realized that this was a special one. The atmospheres got me at once and I really like the vocals of Yann Ligner. The vocals are powerful where they have to be and emotional on the rest of the parts. Because I knew former albums of the band, it was obvious for me that this one is probably the best they have made. I can imagine why K-Scope signed this band.
The album opens with thunder, lightning and rain. A low tempo bass with chorus effects falls in, vocals start and after a mean while rest of the bands falls in. In short: how much tension can you have in the opening track called Yonder? The guitar parts are exceptionally dark, you can think about the lingering style of Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. As mentioned before the vocals are not of this world.
Breach starts also in a lingering low tempo. The chorus parts are more powerful. In these parts I recognized that the voice of Ligner is similar to Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. I must confess that this song would suit a Pearl Jam album.
Third track on the album is the very atmospheric Sealed. The track opens with a guitar with a lot of chorus effect. This song lingers on in a dark way. Even the chorus are modest and are much of dark atmosphere. It's almost some kind of ballad in this genre. The chorus stays in my head after a few times listening. For me that's always some kind of measure.
Indelible at first is a low tempo and dark track. This changes in the end. The track shifts into a cacophonic up tempo and jazzy intermezzo, which is surprising and also funny.
Probably Keystone is one of my favorites. The vocal parts are exceptionally heavy and with a lot of power.
Despite these two properties they also have great melodies in them. The song lingers from dark-, melodic atmospheres to a very heave ending. The guitars in this track are also quite melodic, they bring in a mountain of tension.
The album continues with Hidden Passenger. It's one of those tracks which reminds me a little of Pearl Jam and also Temple Of The Dog. Both of these bands have the quality that they can create dark songs with rather melodic scales. The way Klone approach the tracks is different from Pearl Jam of course. Probably the dark-, doom guitars are making the difference.
When you are talking about doom metal guitars, The Great Oblivion opens with them. A wall of heavy sounds spreading into your living room or headphones. The song continues in a mid-tempo and above all dark- and heavy- atmosphere. The plot is at the end. The band breaks through the heavy riffs and they close the song in a quiet- and lingering way.
Sad And Slow is the title of the last song. It is also a good description of the song. This song is breathing sadness and the tempo is low. Personally I notice less melodic intermezzos then in previous songs. I think it's one of the darkest songs of the album.
The album ends in great style with the down tempo track Silver Gate. Silver Gate is also a lingering track with a heavy end.
A 46 minutes sound experiment is at the end of this last track. Before I got this album for review, I didn't know the band very well. I read their biography and listened to some albums on Spotify.
My personal conclusion is that Klone has chosen a new musical path. The heavy elements are in the background and more melodic parts have come in. I must confess that I am pleasantly surprised by this album and I really fell in love with it. Dark atmospheres, incredible vocals, great guitar sounds and a steady rhythm section, these are keywords for this renewed Klone.
All of you who love Anathema can give this album a chance! It's not a copy, but both have a passion for dark atmospheric approaches in their songs.
There is only one right rating for this album: 5 out of 5.
***** Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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