Voyager – Fearless in Love (Season of Mist)Wednesday, 19th July 2023
Whether it’s the remoteness from other continents or other intangible qualities put together, it seems that a vibrant heavy music community bursts forth from Australia and has been present for quite a few decades. No matter the genre, readers of this site know of names like Parkway Drive, Ne Obliviscaris, Psycroptic, Karnivool, and the melodic progressive metal genius unit before us in Voyager. Although it’s been four years since the last studio album (2019’s brilliant Colours in the Sun), the band did release a series of singles (including a Presets cover for “This Boy’s In Love”) and a live album A Voyage in Time to fuel interest as this eighth studio album Fearless in Love finally appears.
If you are already familiar with the band, you know that you’ll get an array of 80’s melodic, alternative, and synth/pop influences channeled through a progressive metal filter that can be heavy one moment, elegant and ethereal the next. Vocalist / keyboardist Danny Estrin has a knack for capturing the best catchy hooks/grooves in both departments to set the stage for his bandmates to elevate each song to another higher dimension – spacious, extraterrestrial offerings that float in another universe rarely seen (or achieved). “The Lamenting” for instance opens with Supertramp meets Asia-like keyboard patches before the song launches into this airy, atmospheric vibe as the slower, heavier guitar tones and orchestration portrays this titanic feel. Conversely tracks like “Dreamer” and “Daydream” possess that uplifting, almost dance-groove attraction that are commercially viable even in today’s modern scene – the layers of melodies and harmonies taken to extra lengths for the listener to treasure. The contrasts open up intriguing progressive nuances – check out the semi-drum solo from Ashley Doodkorte against ripping guitar work by Simone Dow and Scott Kay during “Listen”, or the additional harsh vocals from Make Them Suffer’s Sean Harmanis for “Ultraviolet” that add dynamic twists of to convey deeper emotional context in specific tracks.
The comfort level of the five-piece to execute this style in a seamless, passionate manner deserves kudos as well – it’s not easy to capture melodic progressive metal in tighter, mostly radio-friendly timeframes as Voyager achieves consistently. Fearless in Love keeps this veteran Aussie act at top shelf, premiere level – spanning decades of influences into their own style, which for this genre is not as easy as it may seem.