Voyager – V (Nightmare Records)Tuesday, 3rd June 2014
Taking in this album a minimum of five times a week prior to typing up this review, if I could revise my top five list of 2014 to date, Australia’s Voyager would be right in the mix a la our esteemed editor. There’s something creatively brewing in the land down under as of late in the power/progressive metal genre: acts such as Lord, Teramaze, and Vanishing Point have set the bar high in terms of their latest albums, giving the leaders like Dream Theater and Symphony X a run for their money.
Which brings us to Voyager and their fifth studio record, the aptly named V. The first factor that separates the quintet from the pack is the alluring, one-of-a-kind vocal delivery from keyboardist Daniel Estrin. His voice is not conventional metal at heart and brings 80’s synth pop to mind. Imagine a swirl of The Fixx, The Human League, and the Thompson Twins as you take in some of his best work on the peppy “A Beautiful Mistake” or the outer limits/ space odyssey “Embrace the Limitless.”
Secondly, all five musicians possess strong instinctual instrumental chemistry. In “Orpheus” for instance, drummer Mark Boeijen and bassist Alex Canion showcase at quiet and explosive times their necessary feel to meet the changing mood tide of this arrangement, be it light jazz or semi-thrash. The follow up “The Domination Game” gives guitarists Scott Kay and Simone Dow the spotlight, cascading in and out as a circle of clean and electric riffs move about, the lead break another stellar case of following the melody rather than a flurry of unnecessary wankery.
Highlights are plentiful. The mysterious chorus of “Hyperventilating,” the jagged guitars careening against the propulsive drumming for “It’s a Wonder,” the driving chug against the open verses within “The Morning Light,” Voyager give the listener 13 songs and 54-plus minutes to embrace, captivate, synthesize, and champion.
May the right booking agent place Voyager on another big tour (opening for Kamelot or Nightwish perhaps?), for V is the melodic progressive metal stuff of legends, my friends.