Voyager – Ghost Mile

There is no denying the eager grin which broke upon faces here when the new Voyager album was sent through, having been seriously tempted by the band since their second album uniVers in 2007 and lustfully hooked through their fourth and fifth in the acclaimed shapes of The Meaning of I and V. The later in 2014 set a plateau it was easy to wonder if the Australian band could eclipse thereon in. Hopes and a quiet confidence have just been realised with the release of Ghost Mile, an album which brings a truly fresh breath to progressive metal as instinctively catchy and virulent as it is technically and inventively imaginative.

The success of the Perth quintet’s last album saw the band invited to perform at major festivals such as ProgPower USA, Euroblast Festival in Germany, and the ProgPower Europe Festival in The Netherlands as well as sharing stages with the likes of Deftones, Opeth, Leprous, Protest The Hero, Nightwish, Epica, Oceans of Slumber, and Coheed and Cambria. Voyager ended last year touring Australia with Deftones and Karnivool and being further invitations to play Euroblast and Progpower EU this year, the latter as headliners. Now with Ghost Mile driving things, it is hard to imagine 2017 being anything other than a really busy adventure, one no doubt littered with praise lured by their stunning new album alone.

Mixed by Matthew Templeman and mastered by Simon Strutters, Ghost Mile opens up with Ascension. A golden melody kisses ears first with the warmth and intrigue of a dawn sun, its suggestive air tempting the imagination before bolder rhythms add their bait. Djent teased enterprise is soon joining the blossoming affair, their steely tenacity paving the way for another caress of elegance around the radiant tones of Danny Estrin. As magnetic as ever, his presence is swiftly joined by sturdier textures whilst being the ringleader to an irresistible infectiousness soon fuelling the chorus and body of the evolving encounter. With the suggestive heat of his keytar matched in craft and magnetism by the guitars of Scott Kay and Simone Dow, the song is pure captivation, only increasing its potency as breaks of predacious intent and aggression escape.

The quite stunning start is quickly continued by the equally outstanding Misery Is Only Company. From the off, it has a harder core to its presence, a latent but open intensity which lines jagged riffs and the brooding air of Alex Canion’s bass. There is no containing the instinctive catchiness within songwriting and imagination though, the swinging beats of Ashley Doodkorte inciting similar boisterousness in the resourceful and technical enterprise across the band. Deftones’ Chino Moreno recently likened Estrin’s voice to Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon, something at times easy to agree with and indeed at times the song has something of the British outfit to its pop sensibilities, infectiousness aligning with more predatory essences to masterful effect.

Next up Lifeline initially lays another sunny shimmer on the senses, its progressive aptitude soon courting metallic rapacity though as melodies radiate and vocals warmly croon. Relaxing into a gentle stroll, there is still a constant snarl to the guitars and bass which breeds alluring unpredictability and waiting volatility, the latter never truly having its moment but keeping the calm honest whilst giving the progressive/ pop rock adventuring a threat. As with its predecessors, physically involving the listener is a quick given and with increasingly lust.

The provocative nature of Fragile Serene seduces next, its climate a mix of melancholy and joy with one addictive hook at the heart of a fusion of rich temptations which almost swarm over the senses into the imagination before To The Riverside carries the same fantasy off in its evocative piano led flight towards the waiting more capricious embrace of the album’s title track. From the first second, Ghost Mile has an agitated eagerness which infects body and spirit, the carnivorously laced bass growling beautifully within the fiery but composed roar of the track. Like sonic and melodic alchemy, the song turns four minutes or so into a cauldron of heavy and light, dark and luminous adventure; contrasts uniting rather than battling for the album’s pinnacle.

What A Wonderful Day pretty much sums up the feeling during its three minutes plus, its pop nurtured rock ‘n’ roll as contagious, additive, and arresting as anything heard this year so far. Its warm dance though does have predacious overtones lurking in its shadows, their semi-vocal presence more realised in the tenebrous texture of the following Disconnected, though it is never devoid of the light and vibrancy instinctive to the Voyager imagination. With industrial breath seeping into the track’s progressively nurtured and invasive metal challenge, there is nothing to deter a quick and full submission to its rousing and often caustic incitement.

The enchanting fascinating of This Gentle Earth simply beguiles next, the union of piano and vocals alone sheer seduction and only escalated as rhythms probe and drama floods every rising texture and tendril of contagion sharing sound; an infectiousness belying the emotional reflection of disconnection.

The album finishes with the fiercely charismatic As The City Takes The Night, a track growing from an absorbing tango into a blaze of heart and intensity which smoulders, simmers, and boils across its eventful reflection without ever seemingly taking the same route twice. As the album, the song is a fascination giving more and more with every listen, rewards including pure pleasure.

Expectations of Voyager are always high because of previous triumphs but again left short by an album which will take some shifting from being one major contender for this year’s greatest moment.

Ghost Mile is out now via Nova Distribution across most stores.

http://voyager-australia.com/   https://www.facebook.com/voyageraustralia   https://twitter.com/voyagerau

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Voyager – V

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Breath-taking and ravenously compelling, V the new album from Australian metallers Voyager, is one of those releases which just steals thoughts and emotions from the surrounding world, enslaving ears and imagination with no respite until its incitement is done. It is a powerful and intensive encounter, one demanding attention with a creative rabidity which fuels the thumping rhythms and raging riffs which sculpt the thirteen designs of the album. Equally though a mesmeric beauty radiates and shimmers with a kaleidoscope of sonic colour and melodic emotion across the release in riveting invention to consume everything from ears to passions. The album is a magnificent beast, which puts most other offerings in the shade.

As you can assume from its title, V is the fifth album from the Perth quintet and finds in our humble opinion their unique fusion of melodic and progressive metal with a wealth of other essences at its finest yet. Following the rigorously acclaimed The Meaning of I of 2011, the new album shows Voyager ascending to new heights not only in songwriting and sound but also in the way they texture and align every essence of a song into a flaming tempest which has the unbridled contagion of pop linked to an exploratory progressive imagination metal and locked into the predacious voracity of metal. Fan-funded via Kickstarter and recorded with producer Matt Templeman, V leaves similar genre clad bands in the starting blocks, though to be honest few if any come to mind as comparisons to the rich colour and sound of Voyager right now.

The release opens with its two singles from the album, and through the pair alone rapture and devotion for the release is virtually 654367989302 UPC-Vguaranteed. The new single Hyperventilating instantly soaks ears in an electro mist which is secretive of things ahead, though the wait to find out what is pending is mere seconds as djent bred vivacity strides through ears. The guitars of Scott Kay and Simone Dow prey on the senses right away as the rhythms of Ashley Doodkorte jab and puncture with just as intense voracity. Around them though it is the keytar seduction of Daniel Estrin which is mesmerising the imagination ready for his equally impressive vocals to charm and infest thoughts. Less than a minute in and the song is in full command; its earnest and dramatic stance magnetic whilst the climactic chorus is pure virulence. It is a gloriously anthemic merger of antagonism and seducing, dark and light, the bass snarl of Alex Canion, who also provides excellent backing vocals, a pronounced protagonist. Veined with an Eastern mystique well onto its adventure, the track is aural alchemy, an enslaving epidemic to which there are no cures.

The following Breaking Down continues the outstanding start. Featuring guest vocals from Daniel Tompkins (In Colour, Skyharbor, ex-TesseracT), the song from an orchestral caress launches into a fiery and enthralling blaze of heavy metal riffs, progressive enticement, and melodic expression. As it predecessor there is an uncaged hunger to the charge of the song but urgency cloaked in pungent emotive melodies and immersive enterprise which again isolates ears and mind from any outside interference. It is a monster of a song swiftly matched by A Beautiful Mistake which hosts another guest in UK born, Perth living vocalist Zemyna Kuliukas. A sinister gurning of sound opens up the song before again gnarly guitar endeavour casts their bait as the continuing to truly impress vocals of Estrin explores ears. Only three songs in and it is hard not to think the musician is providing his mightiest moment yet as a singer. There is a snarl and belligerence to the under belly of the song which is translated in the rhythms and jagged riffing, but under the elegance and evocative flames from vocals and keys it is just another rich texture to a delicious weave, within which Kuliukas potently shines.

The very brief rhythmic and atmospheric narrative of the excellent Fortune Favours The Blind leads into the just as imposingly dramatic and thrilling You, The Shallow, the track a rapacious predator cloaked in the robust hues of a blazing sunset which dance emotively over the senses. Thumping rhythms build a towering intimidating frame which the sonic drizzle and blistering enterprise of the guitars hangs absorbingly from, but it is again the ravenous almost savage agitation of the riffs and the exceptional vocal qualities which brings the deepest submission.

The diversity of the songs from each other also makes a mouth-watering tempting across the album, the roaring pop flames of Embrace The Limitless within a swirling pool of electronic light and the electro rock marauding of Orpheus straight away adding to the rich landscape of the album. The pair permeates every pore and synapse with their simultaneously raw and polished beauty before making away for another major pinnacle in nothing but mountainous highs. Domination Game is a warrior of a song, its sinews charged and rippling on the rhythms and battle hardened riffs which bring the track to bear on senses and imagination. Within their cage the vocals stalk and light thoughts with their own specific intent. It is a confrontation in many ways but one where the fire of passion and searing melodies temper any pungent emotion poised to unleash its venom. It is an outstanding slice of ingenuity with not for the first or last time, an eighties synth/indie pop breath within its metallic canvas.

The pair of Peacekeeper and It’s A Wonder impress instantly but take a little longer than other songs to reveal their full hypnotic beauty and toxicity, though there is no particular reason why it is so. The first of the two reminds in small ways of fellow Australians Circles as well as UAE band Absolace as it explores its deep emotional depths with a slow expansive wash of heart sculpted reflection whilst its successor stakes its narrative out on another raging surge of crushing rhythms and senses entangling riffs and bewitching grooves. The song is another stunning spike in an unrelenting line of pure brilliance across V, a track which casts its own unique epic tale of light and shadows within the triumphant broad narrative of the album. It has an unrelenting evolution to its premise too, a horde of styles and flavours unleashed so that as many songs, it feel so much bigger, longer, and lingering than the mere five minutes it needs to capture the passions.

The industrialised air of The Morning Light around a symphonically embracing melodic bathing of invention is followed by the brilliant piano and vocal incitement of Summer Always Comes Again. Poetic strings wrap the song in their evocative flourishes as the song grows into another major treat of the album. Estrin has been likened to Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon by Deftones’ Chino Moreno, which you can understand but here song and vocal style is sheer Julian Cope, both aspects a pleasing resemblance of the great arguably undervalued man. It makes the song glow as a piece, and that essence also seeps vibrantly into the closing metallic pop excellence of the closing Seasons Of Age. It is an inferno of pop majesty and metal causticity, combining for a final exceptional summit of a sensational album.

To be honest only ears not words can truly relay the quality and brilliance of V and everyone behind it, so a recommendation to go explore a definite album of the year contender just cannot be forceful enough. In fact you might as well give the title to Voyager now as it is going to take something very special to eclipse their triumph.

V is available now digitally and physically via Bandcamp at: http://voyager.bandcamp.com/

http://voyager-australia.com/

10/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Vreid: Welcome Farewell

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    Following up their immense 2011 album V, Norwegian melodic black metallers Vreid have in Welcome Farewell unleashed another impressive and enthralling encounter. Whether it is the equal of its stunning predecessor is debatable but certainly the new nine track journey of enterprise and invention is a masterful confrontation of the imagination and thoughts as well as the instigator of another wash of passion for the ingenuity of the quartet.

Across their impressive albums the band has shown that tagging them as merely melodic black metal is short changing their invention as the band weave a web of sounds which court varied flames of rock and metal across numerous decades. Often referred to as Black & Roll their sound once more upon Welcome Farewell explores and re-invents a varied spicery to create songs which are consistently compelling and perpetually thrilling. Since forming in 2004 out of the demise of Windir, the band has been a blur of releases and touring, Vreid having performed over 300 shows in 22 different countries across 3 continents, lit up numerous festivals, played alongside the likes of Enslaved, Pestilence, Marduk, Unleashed, Eluvetie, Belphegor, Einherjer, Paradise Lost, and Kampfar, and released acclaimed albums in the shape of Kraft (2004), Pitch Black Brigade (2006), I Krig (2007), Milorg (2009), and of course their tour de force V.

Released via Indie Recordings and produced by bassist Hváll (Jarle Kvåle), Welcome Farewell brings the senses into its arms with01framside the opening melodic mists of first track The Ramble. It is a gentle beckoning which before long opens up its muscles with rumbling rhythms, a seductive groove and sultry sonics weaved into a hungry rampant surging gait. The bass of Hváll growls with hungry saliva dripping from its carnivorous tones whilst the beats of Steingrim (Jørn Holen) jab, punch, and roll over the ear with merciless intent. Carved into compelling shape by the exceptional craft brought to bear by guitarists Strom (Stian Bakketeig) and Sture (Sture Dingsøyr) whose vocals grasp and rasp over the senses with serpentine malevolence to temper and compliment the heated melodic wash, the track commands attention and rewards with a mix of uncomplicated and finely crafted sounds.

From next up Way Of The Serpent with its rampaging breath and slight folk metal whispers, the album lights up thoughts and emotions with a perpetual cascades of flavours and invention. The following Devil’s Hand opens its claws with an energising punk rock abrasion ridden by venomous vocals before merging thrash and rock n roll into its blackened touch whilst the title track offers a classic metal and prog embrace within the intensive ravaging which breathes within the track. It is a continuing and enthralling blend of seamlessly entwined spicery which sets each song apart from each other and Vreid distinct within black metal.

The magnificent Sights of Old takes the album to one of its loftiest pinnacle, a song which challenges and rewards with fiery invention. From a slow stroking of melodic licks the track explodes into a furnace of vicious insatiable rhythms and a spiteful twisted groove which seduces and spears the senses with sabre accuracy. Across its corrosive journey the song evolves and shifts its character to ignite intrigue and unrivalled focus upon the tempting twisted wash of predatory and mesmeric splendour. It is a song you cannot predict one note of and continually keeps the listener off guard and absorbed with the dawning shifting landscape.

The virulent Black Waves also ignites the deepest richest rapture with its goth/blackened swagger and riveting aural shadows armed with lethal barbed hooks and melodic mischief. From drums to bass, guitars to vocals, the song entices and recruits the passions with a lure as catchy and as destructive as you could wish for.

Offering a final almighty slab of muscular grandeur in the best moment on the album, the brilliant At The Brook, Welcome Farewell is simply sensational. This outstanding song is another which breeds an addiction in the listener with its predatory stance and voracious groove amidst an all devouring and insatiable acidic progressive glaze. It with ease leads you right back to the start of the album as after its esurient rewards resistance to the band is impossible.

If there is to be a better black metal release this year than Welcome Farewell it will be something quite spectacular as Vreid yet again has set the benchmark impossibly high.

https://www.facebook.com/vreidofficial?fref=ts

http://www.vreid.no/

9/10

RingMaster 25/02/2013

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