Album: Ghost Mile
Genre: Progressive Metal/Rock
Review by Steve Jenkins
Far across the Western side of Australia is the birthplace of one the best progressive rock outfits to ever grace us with their sound, Voyager. The band from Perth have made quite a name for themselves, being a tremendous support act for many large international acts as well as having their own shows that have won them a loyal and loving fan base.
Aussie prog really seems to have taken off in the last couple of years, with bands like Karnivool, Caligula's Horse and Twelve Foot Ninja all doing their own thing creatively. Voyager are definitely one of the more underrated bands out there with quite a different approach and feel. Now when I say this, I don’t mean unique in the sense that we've never heard what they're doing before, but more that they're putting a much bigger emphasis on both guitar and vocal textures compared to their counterparts. Not only that, but they focus much more on compact and straightforward song structures, with their tracks very rarely exceeding the 6 minute mark.
The keys have this fantastic ethereal tone which coats the entire record in a shiny coat of gloss (or sheen if you will) enhancing the super clean and slick sound of this album in general. Yes there are heavy riffs from time to time, but there is no heavy distortion or any pounding edge to the guitars which suits me just fine as excessive heaviness would ruin the charm of this album. Plus, the guitars and keys combine to create fantastic soundscapes: see 'Lifeline' for a perfect example for what I mean. Having an album that places much more emphasis on the vocal textures and overall catchiness of each song is a very refreshing change from the usual prog metal album out there.
I’m still partially struggling to find a point of reference regarding their music, but imagine a cross between the spacey sound and a little more stripped down version of Dream Theater, mixed with the grooviness of Soilwork with some pop influence thrown in for good measure. It’s definitely unique for sure, remaining vaguely familiar at the same time. Voyager are probably one of the very few prog bands to have an incredible grasp on catchy hooks within each of their songs and believe me, it really shows. Daniel Estrin is one of the best vocalists I have heard boasting a clean sublime mid-range voice that works wonders with the music on display and on every single song. The very first track 'Ascension' should be enough to convince you about the man’s insane vocal ability. Voyager always seem to have some clever tricks up their sleeve for sure. The overall riffs are a mix between melodic death metal and power metal riffs, more often than not crossing into full-blown melodic death territory with those groovy choppier riffs, especially in the heavier songs like 'Disconnected' and 'Misery Is Only Company' which are another two immaculate offerings. Even the piano/keyboard parts in 'The Fragile Serene' and 'This Gentle Earth' sound just sublime and grandly epic to the next level. Simply outstanding.
Every track is a standout on the entire album from beginning to end. There’s just no way I can pick out standout tracks on this masterpiece. Ghost Mile should be the album that finally projects this extremely talented band into the upper tier of progressive rock royalty that they deserve to be in. It is most definitely a magnificent addition to their already stellar catalogue and one of the stand out releases of the year so far. Do yourself a favour and check it out now.
8.5 out 10 stars.