REVIEW: VOYAGER – “Colours in the Sun”
In the last couple of decades the city of Perth in Western Australia has become a hotspot for heavy rock and alternative music. Established Perth natives like Karnivool, Pendulum, Bird of Tokyo and Tame Impala amongst others have claimed international recognition and opened the floodgates for many other emerging bands to be readily noticed.
Amongst Aussie progressive metal enthusiasts, the name Voyager makes fans of pounding djent guitar rhythms, prowess musicianship and a new-romantic style of songwriting instantly prick up their ears.
Voyager’s music journey started back in 1999 at the University of Western Australia in Perth where the original members formed the band. The quintet’s career has been a slow burner with 6 studio albums in their sonic canon and an imminent 7th LP titled ‘Colours in the Sun’ to drop on the 1st of November.
On the band’s Instagram page, they’re quite unapologetic in calling their music pop-prog but don’t be mistaken to think their sound is disposable or blatantly commercial. ‘Colours in the Sun’ is a spectrum of sounds that merge together and transcend genre boundaries from the get go. Making this approach very evident the album opens with the single “Colours” fantastically spraying 80’s synths played on a keytar (of course) and proceeds with down tuned guitar madness whilst frontman Danny Estrin’s epic vocals soars over a soundscape of beautiful and murky instrumentation.
“Brightstar” brings out Voyagers pop writing skills without ever compromising their metal credentials. The powerful guitar work on this song is a technical chugging assault which djent fans will love. For those who are more enthralled by the band’s menacing side, a track like “Water Over the Bridge” will truly satisfy with its Meshuggah like polyrhythms whilst channeling the band’s sensitive prog characteristics. “Reconnected” starts with a fast-broken piano chord and all of a sudden you hear guitars and drums hit you like bullets spitting out of a machine gun.
Lead singer of Norwegian outfit Leprous, Einar Solberg, lends his vocals on the chorus of “Entropy”, a standard progressive metal tune that matches well with the other compositions. “Severomance” and “Saccharine Dream” kind of misfire as they don’t really add a lot in terms of displaying the musical dynamics or interesting songwriting ideas the band clearly executes on other songs. “Sign of the Times” and “Runaway” are both electronically driven, a trait the band likes to employ throughout ‘Colours in the Sun’ as well as previous albums.
‘Colours in the Sun’ is a worthy edition to Voyager’s catalogue – it has teeth, but also has the kind of dance-able beats that rock bands in the 80’s may have rejoiced at. If you’re new to Voyager this is a great place to start as it gives the listener all of the collective influences the band has scooped over the years and sandwiches them all in into one complete work of art.