Klone are a French alt-metal collective and this album, their seventh, was recorded in February 2022 and is the follow up to their 2019 release, ‘Le Grande Voyage’. In the intervening period between the two albums the group have been busy wowing festival audiences at Hellfest and Prog Power USA, among others. This has certainly helped toughen their sound up and yet has not diluted their emotive and conceptual sound and style.
‘Meanwhile’ blends a very heavy, Leprous type, sound with an expansive soundscape where crunch has extremely melodic undertones woven throughout it’s thread. I have to say that whilst the music is more muscular and intense than I normally enjoy, there is definitely much that commands interest here.
The album fuses prog touches with post rock elements to craft a great sounding release, one that has epic sounds and textures and a big crunch element yet, within it all, there is excellent melodies and a commanding vocal performance from singer Yann Ligner, whose measured voice both commands and impresses in equal quantities. The man could sing the French phone book and still sound good!
The impressive use of other instruments also make this an intriguing listening experience. The band have worked hard with engineer Chris Eldritch to make an epic and expansive soundscape, this is particularly welcome as it elevates and enhances the melodic touches that reside in their music.
Within Reach is a good example of this approach as, despite its very hard riffing, this song has a lot of melodies within that are uncovered as the song proceeds, it is an excellent opening statement. Blink Of An Eye has a recurring saxophone melody that flows in and out of the song, lightening the tone away from extreme metal into something a lot more accessible and easier to accept, appreciate and then digest and enjoy. Bystander hinges on a graceful bass line that is at the forefront of the track, bassist Enzo Alfano provides really strong and flexible support to the growling guitars of Guillaume Bernard and Aldrick Guadagnino and when you add the keyboards textures of Matthieu Metzger and the powerful driving drums of Morgan Berthet you have a real power and force to be reckoned with. The band rise to the challenge extremely well handling the songs with conviction and delicacy when required, and with power at other times.
Elusive is another strong track with more expressive saxophone effects that soften the brutality of the guitars enough to really captivate. Apnea has yet more impressive bass lines, that compliment Yann’s expressive vocals. I especially like how the band contain their more metallic tendencies to allow plenty of space in their sound, it is most satisfying to hear this subset given free reign. The Unknown is far less restrained and allows their edge to be exhibited yet, even within this, Ligner’s classy vocals still sound glorious. His voice reminds me of Chad Kroeger of Nickelback at times, which is not a bad thing in my opinion, his voice is majestic, captivating and ever capable and he is certainly a massive asset to Klone’s sound and ethos.
For me, the best song of the entire album is Meanwhile, which is a moody and slow burning, epic track with lots of arpeggio chiming guitars and a beefy crunch that takes the track forward. There are also some tinkling, rippling piano lines in the background making this a very an atmospheric track. This approach really works and allows the track to build steadily, the restraint really enhances the song and impress me greatly. Less is definitely more in this instance, a very impressive and strong track.
All in all a most impressive release, one that is out of my comfort zone for sure but one whose stunning melodies cannot help but impress me. On the basis and strength of this album, the future for Klone looks very bright indeed. If they continue this progressive journey and stance they will have much to offer, those unaware of their music, and those who like a more prog-metal approach to music, will find very much here to enjoy.
Released 10th February, 2023
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