Voyager - Ghost Mile
IAV Records
Progressive Rock / Metal
10 songs (44:27)
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Goat

Past experience with Australian five-piece Voyager had me dismissing them prematurely as an indie djent-knockoff, which is deeply unfair and just goes to show that it's all too easy to write bands off on first impressions! Sixth full-length Ghost Mile sees a refinement of the band's style, a melodic-focused prog metal that is much about hooks and catchiness as it is instrumental skill, resulting in a set of ear-pleasing songs that are hard to get out of your head. Take opener Ascension, draped liberally in keyboards, building convincingly with Daniel Estrin's pleasantly lilting vocals atop a technical guitar-drums interplay, upliftingly catchy with a touch of heaviness thanks to a harsh-vocal led breakdown. The music video is splashed with bold colours, the band shot in silhouette making for a retro-futurist feel that works well with the music. And it's impressively-written stuff, the hooks apparent enough to stay with you yet the song being always a little more complicated than you remember it being, which naturally leads to further listens.

The whole album is like this, keeping a solid level of songwriting quality with just enough variety to avoid feeling repetitive. Lifeline's vocal hooks and djent-y instrumental chugging add up to an early highlight, while the band's 80s pop influences make the likes of The Fragile Serene and This Gentle Earth (1981) sound like Duran Duran via Soilwork. Interlude To the Riverside and the title track explores the band's softer, more atmospheric side, while the electronic additions to What A Wonderful Day and the heavier Disconnected balance things out. This is definitely closer to prog or even pop rock at times than what we'd normally expect from prog metal, but however poppy the hooks there's enough heaviness to keep the band grounded, and enough complexity to make the songs bear up to many listens. I'd like to hear more of the band's heavier side - the very limited use of blastbeats and harsh vocals could have been expanded on in several places. But there's really very little to criticise, and this will be on my playlist for months.

Killing Songs :
Ascension, Lifeline, Ghost Mile
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Voyager that we have reviewed:
Voyager - V reviewed by Joel and quoted 90 / 100
Voyager - Element V reviewed by Mike and quoted 85 / 100
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