Album number six is quite a journey

On this, the six album from German proggers Long Distance Calling, there’s been quite a change. Singer and keyboardist Martin ‘Marsen’ Fischer decided to take a back-seat to focus on other things – not before he’d contributed his stunning keyboard parts to this mind you – and has been replaced by the experienced Petter Carlsen. Happily, though, it’s all worked out just fine because “Trips” is absolutely magnificent.

A nine track journey through wherever it wants to go – from stark electro pieces like opener “Getaway”, to “Rewind” with its echoes of latter day Anathema – wherever it goes, it not only takes the listener with along with some rare skill, but it is also brilliantly compelling and shot through with a class.

Strangely short for a record of this type, points are made here with admirable brevity. “Reconnect” is reminiscent of Dream Theater, built as it is on a mighty soar away chorus and fine guitar work from Dave and Flo, “Lines” seems to shimmer and hold back on its desire to really get grandiose, while “Plans” occupies a dark, desolate landscape and is more than happy to do so.

On all of these Carlsen acquits himself incredibly, but just as important – and perhaps even more impressive – are the instrumental pieces that punctuate “Trips”.  It is on these that the true skill – and dare we say majesty – of the band really comes through. “Trauma” is a mighty slab of something that hints at violence, “Presence” a dreamlike trance interlude, and “Momentum” is driven along on the back of an insistent and incessant drum beat – and with Fischer’s keyboards really to the fore here, it is a work that is outstanding.

They do, though, save the best for last – the termination if you will. “Trips” arrives where it’s always threatened to go with the astonishing 12-minute piece “Flux”. This is LDC really cutting loose and exploring. There are barely any words on the track, but right at the end there’s a narration that sums up the whole record part of it says: “time and space heal themselves up around them, and people simply remember a version of events that makes as much sense as they required to make.”

That, you feel, is the point here. This “Trips” means whatever you want it to – and whatever each listener takes from it is just fine. Whatever you decide it means, though, there’s no disguising what is perhaps the only fact here: the record is incredible.

Rating 9.5/10