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Voyager - Ghost Mile (Reissue) Award winner

Ghost Mile (Reissue)
by Eric Poulin at 27 July 2020, 12:24 PM

VOYAGER is a Progressive Metal band based out of Perth, Western Australia and have been around since 1999. This is their release from 2017 (and 7th full-length) entitled “Ghost Mile” which has been re-issued as a digipack with 3 live bonus tracks, and that was originally released independently. Now here is a band I have been following for over 10 years and who really got my attention with their breed of innovative dark progressive metal. I even had the privilege of being part of a Q & A session, when they had just played here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as part of a bill with RHAPSODY (which I unfortunately missed).

Ascension” starts the record off with some post-rock delay effects in the guitars, but the guitar sound really changes drastically into a MESHUGGAH maelstrom of extremely guttural bass tones. What stands out in this band are the seamless transitions from heavy prog to spacy rock and what accompanies those parts are the TEARS FOR FEARS enviable and majestic vocals of Daniel "Nephil" Estrin. The song has emotional portions, technical mastery, some rough vocals and just the right mix of Djent. “Misery Is Only Company” is no different, other than it has a bit of a different keyboard tone and some considerable muting used in the guitar riffs. There is a dose cacophony because there is so much going on at the same time with multiple vocal tracks, dual guitars and the keyboard atmosphere but it all blends together perfectly.

Lifeline” uses another element this band masters and that is ambiance, and they control it like very few bands can. It is not just an accessory to the music, it helps open the music to more technical parts, that are about as good as it gets. While I would not compare them to DREAM THEATER, they are by no means, simplistic. Not to sound too cliché, but this song just breathes life and lets every ingredient grow as the song progresses. One of the absolute standouts on the album if you have never listened to these guys before is “Ghost Mile”, a song that resonates so much on the album because of how it delivers its powerful message of heaviness and serenity. Basically, that is what this project is all about, how to balance the more traditional heavy side of metal we know today with some electronic and post-rock elements. This song embodies everything that is progressive.

You also have the very joyful electronic piece “What a Wonderful Day” that I guess is about as close we will ever get to hear DEPECHE MODE perform industrial metal. It may not sound as our traditional meta song, but it has a very positive vibe. There is not a single weak track on this album, that was originally released 3 years ago and if you have never heard what the band sounds like on a live stage, you have 3 additional bonus ones here (including a live rendition of the song I mentioned above) and most likely one of the more popular songs this band put out a few years ago (and also how I discovered them) with the amazing track “Lost”.

I am not sure what else I could add when talking about this band, they really embody the essence of writing music that is genuine, modern and unique. It is not always easy to bring in elements to your compositions that have nothing to do with the metal genre and make it sound heavy but for the last 20 years, VOYAGER have done just that and if you have never listened to them before, this reissue should give you a nice glimpse into the high quality of their discography.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Ascension
2. Misery Is Only Company
3. Lifeline
4. The Fragile Serene
5. To the Riverside
6. Ghost Mile
7. What a Wonderful Day
8. Disconnected
9. This Gentle Earth (1981)
10. As the City Takes the Night
11. Ghost Mile (live)
12. The Meaning of I (live)
13. Lost (live)
Alex Canion - Bass, Vocals
Daniel "Nephil" Estrin - Vocals (Lead), Keyboards
Simone Dow - Guitars
Scott Kay - Guitars
Ashley Doodkorte - Drums 
Record Label: Season of Mist


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