After the release of Voyager’s The Meaning of I in 2011 and a show stealing performance at ProgPower USA the band found itself with a new level of popularity. The band capitalized on this with a opening slot on Rhapsody of Fire‘s U.S. tour in 2012 to rave reviews. When it finally came time to think about recording and releasing their fifth studio album, the band found itself at a crossroad. Despite the critical praise and fan support, the band could not afford to record and release a new album. It was then that the Kickstarter campaign I AM VOYAGER to raise funds to record and release the album on their own without any label support. The band reached their $10,000 goal in just 3 days and nearly doubled the goal by the end of the campaign (including support from yours truly!). So finally the fruits of the bands labor will be released worldwide on June 2nd.
All of the promise that was shown on their debut album, the progression of the ensuing albums UniVerse, I Am The ReVolution, and The Meaning of I has finally come to fruition on V. This is a band that is firing on all cylinders. V is the first recording of the bands current lineup featuring skins basher Ashley Doodkorte. All of Voyager trademarks are here. The melodies, the vocal harmonies, the riffs, breakdowns, the genre bending prog metal meets 80’s synth pop..,and lest we forget..that keytar…oh that glorious keytar.
The albums lead off track Hyperventilating begins with a electronica intro and a frantic chorus you’ll be hard pressed to get out of your head it’s so damn catchy! If you’re a hardcore Voyager fan then you have already heard the infectious lead single Breaking Down with all of the elements of classic Voyager. The charismatic vocal melodies of Danny Estrin, the frenetic guitar work from shredders Simone Dow and Scott Kay, and the tight rhythm section of Alex Canion and drummer Doodkorte. A Beautiful Mistake features some incredible progressive drum patterns from Doodkorte and some intricate guitar work as well as lush guest vocals from Zemyna Kuliukas which add another melodic layer to the song.
Fortune Favours The Blind has a unique flavored electronica inspired short intro that is reminiscent of the Talking Heads Burning Down The House with Estrin’s Simon LeBon-esque vocals. Estrin really is underrated as a vocalist. He has the charisma, tone, emotion, and power when it’s needed. The rock quickly takes a hold on the next song You The Shallow with a solid groove and chugging guitar rhythm.
The keytar makes another memorable appearance on Embrace the Limitless. Another song that has all the Voyager sweet spots. The song has a heavy edge yet always retains it’s melodic sensibility with Estrin’s emotive singing style and swagger. The band shows it’s heavier prog metal style on Orpheus complete with growling background vocals from bassist Canion. The chorus is another melodic masterpiece and some softer, more ambient soundscapes to keep the listener on their toes.
The Domination Game is another heavier song given the proggy Voyager twist. Doodkorte’s chops are again a highlight here. He and Canion are like a well oiled rhythm machine. The breakdown towards the end of of the song is just jaw dropping with some incredible guitar work. The pace slows down slightly on Peacekeeper, which contains some amazing progressive moments from the rhythm section and gorgeous vocal melodies from Estrin. The guitars are understated here but just as powerful in how they are incorporated within the song.
The heavy guitars return on It’s A Wonder, a faster paced progressive rocker with some brilliant vocal melodies and a chorus that is instantly memorable as having that certain Voyager quality that makes the band so unique compared to others in the progressive metal genre. The band made the decision to re-record one of its earliest songs The Morning Light, which, if your familiar with the original, doesn’t stray too far from that version. The main benefit of remaking the song is to update the sound and recording quality to today’s standards as well as taking advantage of the advanced musicianship of the current line up. Estrin shows his softer side on the short piano ballad Summer Always Comes Again, a song that, while short, packs an emotional punch. The albums final moment Seasons of Age is an uplifting song filled with hope and strong melodies and a chorus that ranks up there with Voyagers best material The band is scheduled to perform at the prestigious ProgPower Europe festival and a return to the U.S. seems highly likely. After years of being “on the brink” of something big. Voyager finally have all the line up pieces in place and have created the album of their career!