Melodic freaks, watch out! This is a real delicacy for you and it comes out of a country, I would have never expected such music. VOYAGER come from Australia and “Element V” is their very good debut album. These four guys and one lady (on bass) play a quite interesting and catchy mixture of epic stuff a la RHAPSODY (but without orchestrations), Melodic Metal a la GAMMA RAY and the progressiveness of THRESHOLD. They spice it up with Dark Metal elements (in some vocal parts) as well as a dash of electronics (synthies and some drum loops). A colourful but decent style mixture.
The main emphasis on VOYAGER lies clearly on the keyboards and the guitars, which again and again offer some weird duels, similar to SONATA ARCTICA. But the keys aren’t that overlaying, they’re rather subtly used. But the songs of the Australians live mainly through their catchy melodies, which seem to get better with every spin. “To The Morning Light” or “Cosmic Armageddon Pt. 1” are prime examples for the catchiness of their compositions. Besides aforementioned tracks, I really dig on “The Eleventh Meridian” and “The Ancient Labyrinth”, which convince with their catchiness and diversity. The vocal performance of Daniel Estrin is really good as he’s able to integrate hisself into the music. Mister Estrin is not only able to sing softly, no, in some songs he uses a screaming, better known from Dark or Black Metal bands, or he surprises with some vocal lines, sung in German language (“The Eleventh Meridian”). But the other musicians are the same brillant, so the technical aspect of their music fulfils all expectations. There’s only one filler to mention, it’s this Techno song “The V Element”, an unnecessary song from VOYAGER. But artists have no boundaries... The band should definitively work on their sound, the production of “Element V” is a bit thin. But this is a minor complaint about “Element V”.
I think, with this band, the Melodic scene has a new star born because there are only few bands, which combine such various styles that easily and at the same time, they remain always catchy and accessible. There’s one ear candy after another on “Element V” and even fans of heavier music should find something for them on this album. There is only one song within these 14, which is dispensable. Fans of aforementioned bands should check them out. VOYAGER is a great surprise and I will have an eye on them in the future! Thumbs up!
Check out tips: “Cosmic Armageddon Pt. 1”, “The Eleventh Meridian”... (Online April 4, 2005)