Very much major players in the ongoing explosion of great metal bands from France, Klone have already established themselves as fascinating and wilful masters of atmosphere and groove. But just as Gojira have made the leap from cult heroes to true contenders in recent times, so these Poitiers punishers are gaining momentum.
The Dreamer’s Hideaway is a brighter, more diverse and more persistently progressive beast than 2010’s Black Days, with a greater emphasis on vocal melody and spacious arrangements. This intermittently mellow approach suits the Frenchmen well, particularly on the rueful title track, with its disarming bursts of scattershot woodwind, and the sprawling Walking On Clouds, which marries dense, dissonant riffing to downbeat, off-kilter melodies.
Long-time fans may bemoan an overall reduction in heaviness, but there are so many smart ideas on display here that Klone’s future evolution could take them in any number of directions. For now, this is a bold coming of age.