Germany's Long Distance Calling approaches post-rock from a prog metal perspective, which in itself is little heard of. Avoid the Light, their second album, offers six mid-length pieces (between seven and twelve minutes). Five of them are instrumentals based on repetitive rhythms, crunchy riffs, textural guitars, and a certain ominous/melancholic mood. The bits of found dialogue in "Apparitions" sound like nothing more than a curtail to post-rock's obligatory cliché, but it's a minor offense in an otherwise strong track. The pieces tend to go on for too long, with little happening once the arrangements have unfolded, but that, too, is typical of a certain form of post-rock. In that regard, "359°" steps slightly out of the mold to offer unexpected changes. "The Nearing Grave" features Katatonia frontman Jonas Renkse on lead vocals. It is the only song on the album, and the only track where Long Distance Calling sound like an ordinary hard rock/prog metal band -- an unnecessary move. The closer, "Sundown Highway" pairs a Mogwai vibe with Saga-like eighth-note guitar lines over a prog metal foundation -- until the acoustic guitars come in! These guys have a good idea, and good chops to support it. If they can learn to get where they are going in less time, their next album could be fabulous. As it is, Avoid the Light is a strong attempt at an alternative form of instrumental rock. ~ François Couture, Rovi

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