Album review: Voyager – Ghost Mile
Genre: Progressive metal
Release date: 12th May, 2017
Record label: (Self-released)
The sixth album by Australia’s melodic experimentalists Voyager, Ghost Mile is a hefty barrage of djent-inspired riffs, mind-bending polyrhythms and angelic harmonies.
Opening with its gorgeous single “Ascension”, the record begins by slowly building through clean guitars and a general sense of ominous calm, paying off by descending into a technically impressive dual shred from Scott Kay and Simone Dow.
The riffing duo of Kay and Dow are one of the primary driving forces of Ghost Mile, blending impressive technicality with a mastery of melodies and harmonies. Whether their tone is clean or distorted, the guitars of Voyager are very much a gift that keeps on giving, in and of themselves deserving multiple, repeat listens.
However, worthy of equal praise is the work of Daniel Estrin, the man behind Voyager’s enticing vocals and beautiful piano. Both of these aspects of Ghost Mile are enticing and continually exciting, with the use of the keys during such moments as the opening of “Misery Is Only Company” adding an extra layer to the already filling prog sandwich.
His singing, meanwhile, evokes comparisons to TesseracT’s Daniel Tompkins and Deftones’ Chino Moreno. Soaring high above the conversely intense, down-tuned polyrhythms of Voyager’s instrumentals, Estrin’s vocals are the perfect counterpoint to the band’s musicianship, their cleanliness giving both the group and Ghost Mile an accessible edge for those that would otherwise be dissuaded by the “metal” label attached to the record.
And that is what elevates Ghost Mile to such progressive heights: its accessibility.
At the moment, it seems that Australia is the homeland for mind-bending yet heavily melodic progressive metal, with Voyager joining the ranks that also include Caligula’s Horse, Karnivool Plini and more. Despite the minimal exposure it may be getting in the metal press, Australia’s prog scene is one of the hottest and best movements in current metal, and Ghost Mile demonstrates every reason why. It is both clean and rule-breaking, adding a certain beauty to metal that a great many bands have negated during the genre’s massive history.
With Ghost Mile, Voyager cements Australia’s place on the metal map, crafting a record that a great many outside of the heavy music niche can enjoy very easily. Delightful and devilish in equal measure, this record is undeniably a luxurious ride that deserves to be heard by as many people as humanly possible.
Ghost Mile gets 8 sliced drummer fingers out of 10.
Ghost Mile will be available physically and digitally on 12th May.
Check out our interview with Voyager drummer Ashley Doodkorte here.