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Marenna - Voyager Award winner

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 25 November 2022, 4:01 AM

It’s a great mistake to think that AOR/Melodic Hard Rock was a genre that existed only in the USA during the 80’s. Many tried to play it and reach the same commercial success in the 80’s of North American acts, and one fine example of a band that did such achievement as EUROPE, of Sweden, with “The Final Countdown”. Today, this specific genre is spread throughout the world, and even Brazil has some great acts playing such a form of music, and one of the best is MARENNA, of Caxias do Sul (RS). And here they’re back with “Voyager”, their latest full-length (released in Brazil in a partnership between Classic Metal Records and Heavy Metal Rock records).

On the band’s music is the DNA of AOR/Melodic Rock of the 80’s, following the same path of acts as BON JOVI, JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, NIGHT RANGER and others, able to create excellent and catchy melodies that are hard to resist, remarkable choruses (that kind that you hear once, sing on the second time and never forget), and all those amazing and lovely elements of the past, but with a difference: the band’s music sounds alive, full of energy and it’s not a kind of ‘homage-to-the-past’ thing, but explores possibilities (the fans will feel a clear touch of weight inherited from Glam Metal acts as KISS in its most accessible moments). Yes, it’s an amazing work (one more in their discography, for those that known the band’s music).

 “Voyager” was mixed and mastered by the hands of Jonas Godoy at Linha Sonora Estúdios (Caxias do Sul/RS), and was produced by Mauro Caldart (the vocals received a special production, done by Arthur Appel). All flows in an expected form: clean and defined, but as usual for the quintet, the presence of the guitars is clear (what many AOR acts don’t do), with the right tunes and in a form that can be understood even by the dumbest man on Earth. And the guests are Mauro Caldart (rhythm guitars in all the songs, and solos on “Out of Line”, “I Ain’t Stranger to Love”, “Perfect Crime”, We Are United” and “So Close”), Bruno Pinheiro Machado on the guitar solo on “Hold Me”, Rodrigo Flausino doing the same on “Voyager”, and the additional vocals of Arthur Appel, Jonas Godoy, Mauro Caldart and Leandro Moretty.

The 12 songs of “Voyager” are amazing, an updated and modern form of expressing the genre. “Breaking the Chains” is a melodic and impacting song, with a clear heavy tendency full of Glam Metal influences, based on a great work of bass guitar and drums (and what lovely ambiences). On “Out of Line”, a greasy and heavier moment with very good guitars, reminding me a lot of the early approach of Glam Metal acts of the 90’s (and what a great chorus). On “Gotta Be Strong”, some influences of Country Rock can be felt in the beginning of the song, but soon it becomes a wonderful and melodic song that is hard to resist to its 80’s appeal (and it’s one of the best moments of the vocals on the album). “Wait” is the name of one of the most accessible moments of the album, using elements that reminds early hits of AOR/Glam Metal mix of the 80’s, and what amazing chorus and backing vocals.

“I Ain’t Stranger to Love” is a heavy and powerful ballad-like song, contrasting melancholic moments and heavier parts (especially near the chorus), and with great vocals and guitar solos. And if you’re looking for more of the 80’s elements, you’re looking for “Hold Me”, a song that presents many clichés of the past, but in an updated and energetic form, and lovely contrasts between vocals and backing vocals in some moments. Heavier and accessible as BON JOVI and KISS were on the first half of the 80’s, “Perfect Crime” is that kind of song that mixes heavier and silk moments in a harmonic form. And even tempered with excellent melodic keyboards parts, “Voyager” is a heavier song, with an omnipresent set of great arrangements of bass guitar and drums (but you must be prepared for contrasting accessible parts).

“Too Young to Die” follows the same tendency of the previous song, but with a melodic appeal clearer due the keyboards parts (and be prepared to the grasp of the chorus). “We Are United” is another ballad, but here in a tenderer and silk form (even with some heavier guitar touches); and “Wherever You Go” is here to ‘close’ the album in a commercial AOR form, full of catchy melodies and a great chorus once more. The ‘close’ said above means that more is coming: a personal version of the quintet to “So Close”, and deeper and expressive ballad of HALL & OATES (a Pop Rock act of the 80’s, ask to your parents who they are).

To a country that is worldly known for its extreme Metal scene, MARENNA is ‘paddling against the tide’ (it’s a common Brazilian saying), and “Voyager” is here to be considered one of the best albums of the year.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Breaking the Chains
2. Out of Line
3. Gotta Be Strong
4. Wait
5. I Ain’t Stranger to Love
6. Hold Me
7. Perfect Crime
8. Voyager
9. Too Young to Die
10. We Are United
11. Wherever You Go
12. So Close (Hall & Oates Cover) (Bonus Track)
Rod Marenna - Vocals, Backing Vocals
Edu Lersch - Guitars
Luks Diesel - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Bife - Bass
Arthur Schavinski - Drums, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Lions Pride Music


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