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New Voyager album Ghost Mile

 

Review – Craig Grant:

Too early to call as album of the year in Australia? Potentially one of the top three progressive releases globally so far this year? Well not really a huge punt, given that the new Voyager album Ghost Mile is an absolute killer from beginning to end. It’s a return to the progressive mantra quadruple threat; great playing, solid concepts, strong vocals and the ability to take a risk. With the demise of the Butterfly Effect I don’t think, in fact I know, that there is no other band in this genre in Australia that are producing this quality of sound, with this depth of vision and able to put it all on stage. With hearing about eighty prog releases this year from all parts of the globe, from bands old and new, Ghost Mile still shines like a beacon. But let’s give you some background before I encourage you to buy this release.

I first caught up with the Perth five piece a few years ago and was immediately taken by the quality of their sound. They oozed confidence on stage and the audience were caught up in a band that loves what they are doing. Over the few other tours I caught the band again and each time they had improved. A few high profile overseas festivals and four domestic support spots with international acts made it difficult to avoid Voyager. The Ghost Mile is their sixth studio album and again has come about through a crowd funding process which managed to meet its target in a couple of weeks supported with over four hundred and fifty subscribers. The shareholders, and the rest of us, were rewarded with a modern and progressive album that has lifted the bar.Ghost Mile is ten tracks, each different and each adding to the quality of this release. I read an article recently that talked about the use of djent by Voyager and frankly I found that to be totally wrong. Calling Voyager a djent act is totally devaluing what is going on here. This album has more guitar variance on it that I’ve heard in a long time. In fact, there is a nagging thought that this could have thirty tracks in length given the ideas and innovation that this band clearly has. Something a bit more accurate is Chino’s assessment, at least it was attributed to Chino, that Daniel Estrin’s vocal is similar to that of Simon Le Bon (a name I never imagined typing in thirty five years of following metal). That is a very accurate assessment, as his voice carries all the variances within the songs and isn’t washed away by the onslaught of instruments. It’s also a very recognisable voice, something that defines a progressive band. The vocal has a warmth to it and a fragility, which work together to make the lyric believable.

Listen to the first two tracks,  Ascension and Misery is Only Company, back to back and hear crystal clear vocals with some immense playing, like the band is being tugged in many directions at the same time, yet rising back to meet at the chorus. For the peeps who like their prog to be four seasons in a five minute track then the title track and the song As the City takes the Night are for you. The track Ghost Mile drops into a drum line about three quarters of the way through that is the aural equivalent of a mugging. I slipped the track bar back thirty seconds and listened again and again. Ghost Mile is a blindly good track.

I’ll finish up the review by looking at the track To the Riverside which is as close to a piano led ballad that we will get from Voyager. Sitting in the middle of the album and at just over two minutes it splits the recording. It’s simple but I’ve listened to it a few times now and I hear something different ever time. Not only a good track but well placed in the album to create a pause before it all kicks off again.

So….easiest review I’ve written in a while. This album is a no brainer and neither is the tour. I’ll be in the front row tomorrow night watching Voyager headline after coming of a Devin Townsend tour. Get out there and support this band. There is no better in Oz right now. The Ghost Mile should be on your shopping list today!

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