Voyager – Colours in the Sun (Season of Mist)Thursday, 7th November 2019
Masters of progressive, pop, synth, and riffs, Aussie act Voyager established a unique niche with loads of 80’s influences on both the vocal and musical fronts since their beginnings in 1999. Smashing norms has been part of their process, in route to attain a healthy following globally where they’ve gained acclaim through consistent studio albums, touring escapades, and high festival billing. This amalgamation of ideas continues for the group’s seventh studio album Colours in the Sun – incorporating everything from djent/groove to pop/synth sensibilities against their catchy progressive metal platform, all the while challenging the listener to absorb, reflect and process these songs in an entertaining, alluring way.
Key-guitarist / vocalist Danny Estrin captures immediate attention because of his dreamy, 80’s-inspired melodies that take into account artists like Depeche Mode, The Cure, and The Smiths which are outside the soaring norm for this style. Yet it’s intoxicating to listen to his wide array of voice deliveries and attention to multi-octave activities – especially within a kaleidoscope of aural swirls that you hear in “Saccharine Dream” that segues into a more dramatic verse/ chorus quotient for the see saw sonic propulsion taking shape for “Entropy” where drummer Ash Doodkorte gets a solo spotlight during the instrumental section. Guitarist Simone Dow and Scott Kay fill the arrangements with loads of riffs and clean supplementation – always forward thinking to fill the proper light in the arrangement on hand, as the circular patterns against some heavy, modern parts during “Severomance” illustrate early on for the record. Considering most of these ten tracks fit in the four-minute, 30 second mold, its amazing that Voyager can siphon the best segments into a smoothness and continuity that keeps things catchy and pop-oriented while still being technically sound and progressive. Danny’s keyboard flourishes set ethereal/outer universe overtones as well – listen to his opening sequence for “Reconnected” against some brutal/crunch rhythm guitars or the beautiful layers that penetrate “Sign of the Times”, another song where the interplay and open action as certain instruments drop out and come back in again keep anticipation at a higher peak for the listener.
Colours in the Sun features the right combination of established Voyager influences along with keeping an eye on what appeals to the musicians from the current crop of artists in heavy metal and outside genres. We should be so lucky that the band keep innovating in their own unique style, as it’s exciting and fascinating to hear what will come next.