This likeable bunch of Australians have been around since 1999, and are now releasing their seventh album. Their melodic style of prog metal often has a commercial ring to it, and having heard clips prior to receiving this album, and having seen them play live recently at ProgPower Europe, I can say this is still the case.
“Colours” is one of those songs whose clips I had seen previously. It’s pop-orientated, yet features heavy djent. It has the expanse about it of being on the open road. The keyboards add a little bit of magic but above all it’s catchy. Of modern bands, it reminds me a lot of the Danish band Vola although to be fair, Voyager has been in existence for a lot longer. The electronic keyboard starts off “Severomance” too. This has so much more depth than “Colours” in my book. To quote one of the lyrics, we reach for the sky. Aided by superb mixing, singer Daniel Estrin does a great job in displaying vulnerability and emotion to go with this full-on commercial, yet heavy song. I really felt myself flying to this one. “Brightstar” is another of the pre-advertised songs. It’s an upbeat pop song, but with the heavy section and an ethereal feel. Whilst it’s not the most complex song, it’s not simple either, but most of all I feel happy listening to it, as I often do when listening to Voyager. If we’re worried about categorisation, then it’s more prog than power metal, but the delight lies in the clever and almost childlike quality of the lyrics like “Saccharine Dream”, which hook you in, while combining with airy progressive passages. I suppose that’s another way of saying it’s a good listen.
For a bit of variety the familiar tones of Leprous’s Einar Solberg enters “Entropy”, a kind of pop epic. It’s an intriguing mix, but I felt it was crammed in a bit to provide something different in the form of Einar’s voice. An electro and drum explosion brings us back to the real Voyager with “Reconnected”. It’s a riot of colour, strangely reminiscent of Darkane, yet with the smooth and endearing pattern of a trademark Voyager song. To “a good listen”, add intrigue and fun. The short “Now or Never” is Voyager at play. I was completely with it. “Sign of the Times” is more prog-orientated except for its catchiest of catchy choruses. It’s all like a visit to dreamland. Djent is at the core of the soaring “Water over the Bridge”. It’s yet another song where it’s easy to join in, yet its technical progression is very subtle. “Runaway” closes the album. It has all the qualities of the others but having been taken on such a colourful journey, this was quite mundane by comparison. That was a pity, but such a high standard had been set, and it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this album which I intend to listen to again. “Colours in the Sun” as a title suggested that my day might be brightened, and that is what happened.
This album had me rapt with attention. I didn’t just want to join in. I felt I was there with Voyager. The band has a certain style, and they exploit it very well. The structures and technical patterns are exquisite. Musically it’s more complex than in appears on the surface, so you have the best of both worlds: the catchiness of melodic songs and the sophisticated prog-oriented instrumentals. Suffice to say that I really enjoyed “Colours in the Sun” and its fresh and exciting take on commercial prog metal.
(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)