Klone – Klone Alive: Album Review

A live album from French outfit Klone gives a career spanning overview and confirms their live potency.

Release date: 11th June 2021

Label: Kscope

Format: CD / digital / vinyl

Eighteen months ago, Klone released Le Grand Voyage (our review). It was an album where the band talked about their music resonating in the cosmos. The upcoming live release – Alive – provides a quality round-up of their career so far and sees the journey continue.

Recorded between two different shows at Sjiwa in Baarlo, The Netherlands in October 2016 and at Moloco in Audincourt, France in November 2019 respectively, Alive captures the essence of Klone. The album features recordings that represent the band’s most popular material recorded during the period between 2015’s Here Comes The Sun and 2020’s Le Grand Voyage.

It’s the presence of Le Grand Voyage that weighs heavily in the opening numbers. They’re punctuated with Rocket Smoke’s thundering bassline and intense vocal hinting at being some distant relation to the heavier alternative progressive side of bands like Poland’s Riverside. A case of set structuring to say: yes, hello – here’s where we are now before we show you where we’ve come from. Yonder, Breach and Sealed all model the current maturity but there’s a real sense of pride in showing off the last decade of their catalogue within the live setting.

They may have built their name on making music that’s both deeply introspective and sonically powerful and there are layers on which to feast in the live experience. Known for their trademark dark guitar tones and epic brooding soundscapes, Le Grand Voyage had a more refined vibe about it. Live, we get the chance to appreciate the heavier nature of some of their earlier material where Yann Ligner’s vocal occasionally offer a hint at an Eddie Vedder style with a brief nod to a vicious death metal roar.

Grim Dance offers something you’d find in the frozen wastes of Scandinavia where Katatonia light the darkness with melancholy and along with Drifter shows off the detail of the arrangements in a more atmospheric setting. Maybe the latter even hints at the type of cinematic compositions that Mark Knofler started to create as he shifted from Dire Straits to his role in film composition.

It’s a pleasure to wallow in some of the intensity that’s lifted from The Dreamer’s Hideaway album. The title track picks up where Rocket Smoke left off, yet you’re never far away from a chance to let the music envelop you and drift into space. It could be the gentle lull of the opening of Silver Gate or the sort of hypnotic groove that winds up The Last Experience. The regular shifts in dynamics show a band in full control of their direction, always ready to steadily accelerate into a dramatic sequence or pull back the gears.

For anyone new to the party – maybe your Klone experience is limited to Le Grand Voyage – then what better place to start but with a career spanning live record. The band describes the record as “a way to pay tribute to our audience and the people who support us.” It’s going to prove a gift that keeps on giving.

Alive is a thrilling catch-all recording that’s the gateway drug into Klone. This is the live album that all bands need and that becomes the cornerstone of their work. Klone has just delivered theirs.

Here’s the film for Sealed from the album:

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