Voyager
I Am the ReVolution

If Depeche Mode, A-Ha or Ultravox, all of a sudden, grew long hair, join their forces and started playing metal, they would probably be able to rival one of the most original and daring groups on planet, that is Australian Melodic Metal five-piece Voyager. Yet, it would be a cold day in hell if it ever happened, so there’s no fear for the guys to lose their unique status for the time being. In the teeth of originality, it’s a tough task to try and describe what Voyager’s sound is about. Take a handful of 80’s neo-romantic electronic charms, add latter day Katatonia’s cold reverie and Amorphis’ unquenchable lust for melody, decorate it all with crystal-clear tenor a la Morten Harket (A-Ha) meets Mathias Blad (Falconer), serve some elegantly crafted riffs along with sporadic half-whispering shrieks and short yet amazing solo splendors, and you will get a roughly accurate picture of what Voyager present. In other words, if you were looking for your small “terra incognita” in metal, go no further and make a halt right here. Led by their tireless singer and composer Daniel Estrin, these guys stand virtually outside of any styles and canons, laying down their own axiom of today’s metal.

Honestly, I expected that the upcoming new release I Am The ReVolution wouldn’t throw me for a loop the way its predecessor UniVers did back in 2007 (it was actually my number two of the year), since I got into good training with this music over the past two years and literally learned every song by heart. If I used to have difficulty admitting that Voyager are a metal band from head to toe, I just stopped paying any attention to it. In fact, I’m now quite comfortable with the state of things that there is metal and there is Voyager, as it gives the listening process a keen feel of singularity, a taste of forbidden fruit if you like. And I knew for a fact that I was simply doomed to fall for the new material the moment I heard the first sounds of opener “Land Of Lies”. It just couldn’t be any other way with these dynamic rhythms, slightly muffled yet impressive guitars and Daniel’s serene and highly fascinating manner of singing. Maybe the fact that it sounds galaxies away from what today’s Melodic Metal bands offer in general takes some time to get used to, but soon you will not only lose track of time but also forget your own name, so beautiful and unearthly are melodies and arrangements presented here.

Similar to the UniVers material, there are no weak songs on I Am The ReVolution at all. Any of the songs has a huge potential to become your favorite, depending on what mood or state of mind you are in at the moment. Thus “The Devil In Me” disposes to sad meditation about the imperfection of human nature while “Close Your Eyes” makes you look at the bright side of things, claiming that time will heal all your wounds and scars. Pondering on the subject of death and life, the relatively speedy “Total Existence Failure” and “Straight To The Other Side” learn not to fear inescapable “gifts” of fate and live a full life while you still draw breath. Once again Daniel Estrin offers some vent to his eccentricity, including fragments of German and Russian speech in these two tracks. I’m not sure about the German excerpt, but the Russian one features the lines from “Duma”, a legendary piece by classical Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. Last time it was Alexander Pushkin with his immortal “Yevgeny Onegin”. Marvelous romantic ballad “In My Arms” brings in the scent of dying love, involuntarily making you re-live the experience if you’ve ever had one. The most musically complex and progressive “Times Like These”, “On The Run From The World” and “I Am The Revolution” are just permeated with the spirit of rebel against this life’s dictatorial principles, literally calling you out to make a “little coup” in your worldview. Actually, this is a very philosophical and many-sided album that will certainly make you contemplate life’s deeper meanings.

In like manner, the musical decors are very well-thought and timely convey the general feeling with lots of bridges, interludes and splendid solo bits. I would especially mark the work of the guitar combo consisting of new 18 year old guitarist Chris Hanssen and his female copartner Simone Dow. Instead of surprising you with an exceptionally virtuosic commandment of their instruments, they prefer holding on to a more restrained yet delicate manner, enchanting the listener with Gilmour meets Oldfield spells. Equally good is the maestro Daniel Estrin himself with his keyboard set, impressing not only with well-crafted background accompaniments but also with lots of unexpected high-tech effects and solos.

Comparing the new album with its predecessors, I’ve come to the conclusion that with UniVers and I Am The ReVolution Voyager have attained the zenith of their genius. They should simply keep doing what they do, not taking much note of how innovative or ingenious it is. As long as they cope with this task, not only will they retain their appeal to their fans, but they can expect their fanbase to keep on growing from album to album. If you still haven’t entered the wonderful world of the big “V”, then don’t hesitate to do so as soon as possible. The revolution has begun!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
September 17th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: bast

    ??? Sounds crazy but interesting


  2. Commented by: ceno

    Yes, “crazy” and “interesting” are the right words in this case.


  3. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Great review for a really great album! Voyager is HANDS DOWN the best new band to come along in the last 7 or 8 years. This being their third album, I hope it finally propels them to the recognition they deserve. Easily one of the most unique and inspiring bands to ever play heavy music… which is saying a lot considering all the rehashed, hackneyed crap that is floating around these days. ALL HAIL VOYAGER!!!


  4. Commented by: ceno

    Hats off to Blackwater Park for helping me push this great band. Thanks for proofreading the interview and review, man


  5. Commented by: thewinterland

    wow, saying they’re “The best new band to come along in the las 7 or 8 years” is massive kudos. I kinda think they are a bit of a guilty pleasure. There arent many bands around nowadays who are so unashamedely melodic and thats really cool if you’re in the mood for it.


  6. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    I love unashamedly melodic. :cool:


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