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Klone - The Dreamer's Hideaway (Klonosphere/Season of Mist)

By: David E. Gehlke

[7.5/10] There's an obvious short-list of metal vocalists worth getting riled up about. Aside from the longstanding quasi superstars our scene has produced (if you are wondering how they are, please drink some coffee), metal lacks lateral distinction in its vocal pantheon, especially in underground channels. The commonality between death and black metal singers is obvious - we know that, and power metal routinely shortchanges itself with falsetto homers and wannabee dungeon masters. Thus, heading to the outskirts to sub-of-sub-of genres is where the diamonds in the rough are to be found. The find here? Klone's Yann Ligner.

As the frontman for these forward-thinking Frenchmen (think a less obtuse Tool with heavier progressive leanings...if that makes sense), Ligner's role in the band is to piece together riff puzzles that at first glance, are difficult to get a feel for on the band's fourth full-length, The Dreamer's Hideaway. This notion can be attributed to bulky songs with fatty arrangements, yet therein lies the trick with Klone, for their ability to be proggy without wanking (see: "At the End of the Bridge") places them somewhere between Devin Townsend's less-complicated works and Between the Buried and Me, minus the whole gonzo technical bits.

And so Ligner's raspy, pitch-perfect vocals are obviously, the least complicated aspect of the album. He finds the elusive corridor between alternative and progressive metal on the title track and the hook-laden "Into the Void," slicing the both songs' angular nature in half, giving them a degree of power and thrust. The towering "Walking on Clouds" is perhaps Klone's best ala cart moment, with drizzles of strong riffing, time-shifts, and vocal fluctuations from Ligner, who throughout the album's 11 frames, remains articulate and likeable.

Yet another French metal band willing to think outside of the box (see: Gojira, Deathspell Omega, etc.), Klone's unique brand of proggy-alt metal on The Dreamer's Hideaway is both an indicator of the constant genre-melding French metal bands are prone to. Plus, when you have a weapon like Ligner in your arsenal, you'd be a fool not to use him early and often...which Klone does.

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