I never heard hide nor hair of VOYAGER until I got their newest Kickstarter-funded fifth album, appropriately titled V. Hailing from Australia they seem to have quite a following among the melodic prog metal circles, and after one listen I can totally see why. I’m not a big prog guy per se, but some of the twists and turns taken on this disc really caught my attention. The big thing here is the melody as far as I can see. There is absolutely no noise to be found, and that’s not to say the record doesn’t have balls, because it clearly does. Look no further than “You the Shallow” for some biting riffs and tight grooves. The vocals are something else, too. Daniel Estrin, who also plays keytar, is very, very talented and his voice fits this particular sound perfectly.
My immediate favorites were “A Beautiful Mistake” and “Embrace the Limitless”, the former featuring beautiful guest vocals from singer Zemyna Kuliukas, and the keys adding zest to the latter, without watering it down in the slightest. There is a distinct blend of darkness and light across all of the tracks, most notably on “Orpheus” which is one of the moodier pieces and another standout. Album opener “Hyperventilating” starts off with electronics before the guitars come screaming ‘round the corner to let you know just what kind of band you’ve taken up with here. So again, right away I was like, “I’m listening…”
On “The Domination Game” you can really hear ALL the instruments in the mix, especially the bass of Alex Canion and the razor-sharp drumming of Ashley Doodkorte. Combined with the twin guitar attack of Simone Dow and Scott Kay this is one of the rockingest tracks on V. This band is really onto something with their sound. Instead of trying to play 10,000 notes in songs that basically scream, “Hey, look what I can do!” VOYAGER opt to do what they do, and do it well. And what they do so well is craft songs that keep you coming back for a second, third, and fourth listen because I guarantee you’ll find something you didn’t notice on that first listen when you were trying to soak it all in. “It’s a Wonder” is another heavy rocker featuring some nifty stops and starts with killer riffs.
A Terminator-esque intro to “The Morning Light” made certain that this would be a song I’ll not soon forget, and the body of it is pretty badass, too. “Breaking Down” is a little different, daring to stick its toes in pop territory, especially on the hook, which is just fine. And one of my favorite vocal melodies happens during the aforementioned “You the Shallow” with Estrin really showing us what he’s got. He also shines on closer “Seasons of Age” a number that at times reminded me of another Australian band ICEHOUSE and their hits “Crazy” and “Electric Blue” from back in 1987. I can definitely hear shades of Iva Davies in Estrin’s delivery…well done! There really isn’t anything bad to say about VOYAGER or the album V. It makes for some great listening, and you should get yourself a copy since it’s out now.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Morning Light”, “A Beautiful Mistake”, “Embrace the Limitless”, “Seasons of Age”, “Orpheus”, “You the Shallow”