[Season of Mist, 2019]
Intro: Dimitris Kaltsas
Translation: Lefteris Statharas
Voyager’s route has been really interesting form the beginning in the early 00s and mainly after their second album, Univers (2003). The main characteristic of the band from Perth, Australia was the constant pursuit of new ways to evolve their sound. This led to probably their best album, V (2014). With dominant elements the unique hue of Daniel Estrin’s voice and the pop influences in their progressive metal.
Ghost Mile (2017) proved the incompatible character of the band that never rested. This year’s Colours In the Sun couldn’t be any different.
Breaking all barriers
I listened to Voyager for the first time in 2014 with the release of V, their fifth album. Since then, I consider myself a huge fan of theirs. And now, after one more album (Ghost Mile, 2017) they have released Colours in the Sun. I put my headphones on and pressed play. First track is Colours, a strong start with atmospheric vibes, changes in sounds and style, a very colorful start. Brightstar immediately goes to the contenders for a playlist. This track worked as a promo for the album, since it’s the first that came out as a video clip. It’s worth looking into this track because as Danny (Estrin, the frontman of the band) states in an interview, through this track they tried to record and transmit the magical beauty of one of the hottest places in Australia, Perth form which they’re from. In Take me to the star you let yourself be one with the rhythm, the colors and in the melodies. The dreamy Saccharine Dream that follows has one of the most beautiful guitar solos of the album. In the same rhythms we have Entropy that follows and in my surprise, I hear a familiar voice. Einar from Leprous is featured in this track with their voices harmonically being blended and they definitely give us reasons for us to want them to collaborate again.
The album starts to change style when Reconnected starts with a piano from an old western and after a while the guitars and keyboards starting to burst. One of the most metal tracks of the album, heavy riffs and fast drums. With a change in the short track Now or Never where the vocals dominate. The tracks that follow have they keyboards being the star, the sounds become more atmospheric even if Water Under the Bridge has a strong start. We reach the end with Runway that sounds like a soundtrack form some past decade, where the science fiction films, and the atmospheric keyboards were soaring. Initially, I wasn’t sure If the album was over. It seemed like a sudden end, I was waiting for the next track to start and I think that this feeling stayed in the subsequent listens of the album.
In sense that Voyager are moving in the paths of their previous records. In the technical aspect, the album is very carefully constructed, with clear sounds, clear melodies, you can identify the guitars, the sharp riffs – signature sound of Voyager – everything is beautiful, like the vocals in the background. The difference is in the synth pop element which is more intense than ever, which fit -strangely- with their prog metal /djent sounds. In regards to their melodic, musical part, as they clearly state in the album title, we’re talking about a colorful album that starts strongly, with intense metal sounds and it continues as a pop and romantic album, as Voyager are used to doing, full of atmospheric melodies.
I really liked the album. I believe that if you like Voyager you will like Colours in The Sun. If you don’t know Voyager, meet them though an album that includes every characteristic of theirs: the amazingly flowing voice of Daniel, melodic guitar tunes and sharp metal riffs by Simone Dow and Scott Kay, the addicting rhythms on the drums of Ashley Doodkorte, and the groovy bass of Alex Canion. I think that Voyager are maturing musically and I eagerly await their next album.
8 / 10
I will emphasize it every time: the Australian scene has contributed immensely to the progressive sound in the last 10 years at least. Voyager are one of the big names of the scene and they confirm that with Colours in the Sun. Faithful to the grafting of the pop sound with progressive metal and djent, in the current release with a nostalgia nod to the 80s they add the synth sound. Muscically mature, they offer aggressive compositions with heavy djent riffs like Reconnected (a continuation of Disconnected from Ghost Mile) and my favorite Water Over the Bridge with its humorous video clip. Of course they can’t hide their pop character and as an antithesis they compose tracks like Sign of the Times. Truth is that Voyager with their own unique way convinced me to embrace their pop aspects. The voice of Daniel Estrin has a wide range for the appropriate expression of all their influences. Colours in the Sun is a listen that requires an open mind, something that we would once call a “sellout” or forcefully likeable by the masses. Of course, the masses can listen to it easily but the progressive community has to recognize the character and their musical vision, independently of preference. All in all, we’re talking about an interesting release for anyone that isn’t looking for a complex result or precisely metal. Until their next surprise, we can rhythmically move our heads in their synth sounds.
8 / 10