Release DetailsLABEL DVS Records
RELEASED ON 3/1/2004
posted on 1/2006 By:
Boasting stellar musicianship, creative songwriting, and an original sound, Australian melodic metallers Voyager have made my week with their debut album, Element V. Fourteen songs and 57 minutes deep, Element V could never be accused of sounding incomplete. There are almost too many good things about this album to allow me to begin to write a proper review. Bombastic and brimming with the energy of dueling guitarists Emanuel Rudnicki and Mark DeVattimo layered over vocalist Estrin’s keys, it’s both atmospheric and aggressive without leaning too much in either direction. The sci-fi atmospheric elements like the synth-heavy intro to the album, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi,” establish that bombastic tone and tracks like the more epic “Cosmic Armageddon Pt. 1” and the interlude that follows, “Towards Uncertainty,” make sure that the light, open feel remains consistent throughout the inarguably deep album. The album’s sixth track, “This Bitter Land,” best conveys the group’s tight sound. Estrin’s impressive range suffers little restraint here and one really hears how well Rudnicki and DeVattimio work together to create their own duel guitar sound. Estrin’s voice, and I am almost stopping myself from saying this, is absolutely beautiful throughout the four and a half minute track, and he can go from a light falsetto to a much more refined version of Anders Friden ala Reroute to Remain in a split second and with no break in the transition. Guitar solos are abound here and help keep things interesting between the catchy chorus. There’s no beating around the bush; Element V has a very distinct sound that should strike anybody with the proper ear as both genuine and complex. Falling somewhere between Rhapsody and Dream Theater, they are not shy in mixing styles to maintain a greater sense of diversity. There are progressive elements, such as how frequently the band plays with sci-fi and fantasy synth and uses it as fitting introductions to its songs and the duel guitar work of Rudnicki and DeVattimo, but there are also some balls to the wall soloing. One element never really suffers as a result of any focus on the other, so this approach to songwriting seems to work quite well for the Australians. My personal preference would be for the band to focus just a little bit less on the atmospheric work and a bit more on creating more epic leading riffs, but at this point that can be chalked down to a serious case of nitpicking and critbitching. If you’re at all interested in melodic/symphonic power metal and you have yet to check this out, do it now before Voyager releases another gem, because if the followup is anything like this one, you’ll be hooked for a while.
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