As close to perfection as Voyager have ventured
Over the course of three full-length efforts, long running Perth (Western Australia) based outfit Voyager have forged a unique sound for themselves, which in term has earned considerable praise and success both nationally and internationally. Two years after the release of I Am the ReVolution, the five piece act has returned with their fourth and latest effort The Meaning of I. And as expected, it’s another magnificent melodic metal album that sounds unlike anyone else within the Australian metal scene.
Having firmly established their sound over their last couple of releases, I really didn’t expect Voyager to present any real monumental shifts in sound and style with The Meaning of I. And sure enough, there are no surprises here that give you the impression that this album is something completely different from what you would otherwise expect from Voyager. But having said that, the song writing here is so strong that you could forgive the band for finding it hard to improve upon perfection.
The opening track, Momentary Relapse of Pain, sees the band getting the album off to a heavier start, with the guitar riffing taking on higher prominence within the mix, while the underpinning progressive sounding keyboards provide plenty of constant support. But Voyager’s music has always been about strong song writing above anything else, and in that respect, the biggest factor on Momentary Relapse of Pain is the strong use of melodic chorus hooks and Estrin’s soaring vocals. All up, this song is a perfect introduction to Voyager’s latest effort.
Veering a little more towards the catchier side of their song writing, Stare Into The Night and Broken are infectious tunes that are near impossible to forget after a couple of spins, while tracks such as Seize the Day, the title track The Meaning of I and the heavier and driving closer Are You Shaded? lean more towards the metallic and aggressive side of things (especially with the occasional death growl to liven things up here and there), without losing any of the melodic charm of the band’s core song writing and overall sound.
But while most of The Meaning of I is fairly typical of what we’ve come to expect from Voyager these days, the album does have a couple of interesting new twists to offer listeners.
Former Tesseract vocalist Daniel Tompkins helps out briefly on the progressively edged The Pensive Disarray (which features some outstanding and emotive guitar work), while Royal Hunt front man D.C. Cooper adds his distinctive pipes to the powerful Fire of the Times.
Elsewhere, the band pays tribute to the late Type O Negative/Carnivore vocalist Pete Steele on the truly awesome Iron Dream (In Memoriam: Peter Steele) and the short It’s Time to Know, where the band manage to pull off the Type O Negative sound to perfection.
Over the band’s lengthy career, Voyager have notably improved and strengthened with each and every new album. And as expected, The Meaning of I is no different. While the steps forward in terms of song writing and shifts in sound aren’t quite as noticeable as they were between their other albums, it’s really an issue, because as I mentioned earlier, it’s damn near impossible to improve upon perfection. The Meaning of I is the exception to that rule. Simply put, this is Voyager’s best effort yet.
(Riot! Entertainment/Warner Music Distribution)