In the realm of intelligent prog-metal, Voyager has been one of my favorites since 2009s I Am the Revolution. Their ability to blend traditional metal ideas with extraneous elements from death, power and djent always impressed me, but their ear for catchy, tight writing really made them stand out. Nowhere was this more apparent than on 2011s The Meaning of I, which earned a very rare 5.0 rating from yours truly. I still spin that album regularly and marvel at how diverse and addicting it remains 6 years later. I was somewhat let down by followup V, but it was still a solid album in its own right with some remarkable songs. I hoped the band would rebound and release another classic platter of thoughtfully oddball material, and while their sixth album, Ghost Mile isn’t quite their best work to date, it’s an exceptionally, entertaining and unusual album full of twists, turns and quirks.

Ascension” eases you into the album with a calming, sedate version of Voyager that sounds, dare I say, mature. The soothing sounds get increasingly jangled and proggy as things progress, the band’s many quirks surface, and before you know it, sweet melodic plucking gives way to creepy black metal riffing and death roars appear alongside Daniel Estrin’s crystal clear vocals. What strikes you is how effectively they herd all these cat-like disparate elements into a cohesive song that ends up so catchy and unforced. That’s always been their specialty and they’ve lost nothing off their fastball. “Misery is Only Company” is a classic Voyager tune, full of vocal hooks akin to Tears for Fears and ear wormy melodies with just enough edge and heaviness to keep it urgent. If the chorus isn’t stuck in your head after one spin, you need a new head.

“The Fragile Serene” is almost like a heavy Yes song and Estrin’s vocals actually get very close to Jon Anderson’s at times. The title track is an odd, moody and convoluted tune mixing indie rock, djent and even blastbeats. As heavy as the music can get at times, it’s so melodic and accessible, it’s a remarkable feat of engineering. “What a Wonderful Day” goes way offbeat with what sounds like a progged-up re-imagining of Louis Armstrong‘s classic “What a Wonderful world.” It’s a cheery, relentlessly upbeat song but manages to work death roars in at unexpected times for added WTF? The album closes out very strong with moody rockers, “This Gentle Earth (1981)” and “As the City Takes the Night;” the former dabbles in radio ready indie rock for an irresistible anthem, while the latter has a darker, melancholy vibe.

While the album works very well as a whole, “Disconnected” is a bit underwhelming, though far from a skippable track. At a tight 44 minutes, Ghost Mile is a very agile, fast-moving spin and the diverse material gives a sheen of unpredictability and keeps interest high. As usual, the band employs a hyper-clear, sterile production with every instrument clearly audible, but the guitars could stand to be dialed back a bit in the mix. Would more grit and nastiness in the sound add something? I’m not so sure with these guys, as it just wouldn’t suit their unique approach.

With the same line-up as on V, this is a very tight, cohesive unit and it shows. Their style leap frogs from genre to genre and their skill and precision makes the stop-start approach feel less disjointed than it might in less talented hands. Daniel Estrin continues to evolve and grow as a vocalist and he’s easily one of my favorite singers, with a voice that cuts through the music like a plasma saw. His range and versatility seems to improve with each release and he can adapt to almost any style of music. Simone Dow and Scott Kay continue to impress with their razor-sharp riffing, slick transitions and memorable melodies. The band is like a finely tuned machine and you get the impression they could play any style effectively.

Voyager is the rare act that has a sound and style completely their own. Ghost Mile is a very intelligent, thoughtful and introspective album with dark moments mixing with light effortlessly and playfully. It’s also an insidious grower that gets deeper under the skin with each spin. If you like your prog-metal catchy and creative without being overly wank-tastic, look no further.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 1411 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Release
Releases Worldwide: May 12th, 2017

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  • André Snyde Lopes

    Didn’t realize they had a new one coming out. Despite its failings, there were some great songs to be found in their last one (A Beautiful Mistake and Hyperventilating come to mind). Looking forward to this one!

  • Drew Music

    1:56ish “…and so I’m sending you to Sweden from Mars.”
    Otherwise, really cool stuff. I might have to avoid the site for a bit, I’m musically backed up like a mahfuckah yo.

  • The Meaning of I was absolutely spectacular! One of my fav prog/power releases ever. For some reason though, V just never clicked for me at all. Maybe it was the subconscious PTSD from single-letter-titled-albums instilled by Norther’s insanely awful “N”. Or maybe it just wasn’t that good. Either way, looking forward to this. Sounds diverse!

    • Ben Davella

      I never ‘got’ these guys. Average, run of the mill. BORING Just my opinion Did I hear some cool djent? Wow man Ehh….

  • I’d never listened to Voyager, heard the name in passing and never thought twice about it. As a massive fan (well, I thought I was) of prog I’m ashamed I’m just now giving them a listen.
    Thanks for the review Mr Druhm

  • Dethjesta

    Struth, I didn’t know Voyager had a new album. I absolutely adore The Meaning of I. I absolutely must get me a copy of this. Cheers Druhm.

  • brutal_sushi

    Stoked out of my gourd for this one! Love me some Voyager

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    These guys have always sounded to me how Duran Duran would sound if Duran Duran was a metal band. Both with their pop sensibilities and Danny’s voice. By the way, I mean that all as a compliment.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    It’s nice to know Australia’s premiere prog bands (these guys and Karnivool as far as I am concerned) know how to write actual songs. Not a huge fan of Voyager but liking what I’m hearing. These guys will be in town soon too (don’t get to say that often, suck my willy America), excited at the prospect of embarrassing innocent bystanders while I trying to nail the chorus of the embedded track front of stage.

    • sssgadget

      Check out Caligula’s Horse.

    • John

      I second Caligula’s Horse. They have a lot of different styles in their song. Some are more metal, some sound much more proggy than others, and they also have some songs more similar to Opeth’s (who they toured with recently) Damnation album.

    • Reese Burns

      I third Caligula’s Horse. An absolutely brilliant band.

    • Gabriel Cabana

      May I add Ne Obliviscaris. Way heavier, but still an incredible aussie formation.

  • Paul VH

    Sounds like a poppier/proggy version of Junius.
    Love the vocals.

  • Chris

    Great review, really looking forward to this one.

    I want them to revisit the Pete Steele impression they did on “Iron Dream”. That was eerily accurate.

  • TheCurlyMetalhead

    This is amazing! I’m ashamed (as a big prog fan) that I haven’t listened to them sooner. That changes now xD

    • If you go to PledgeMusic you can actually do something about it.

  • rumour_control

    Pure Steel…uh…GOLD:
    “What strikes you is how effectively they herd all these cat-like disparate elements into a cohesive song.”
    Great review, too.

  • Scarymother

    There’s another prog metal band from Perth, Australia that I’d recommend: Chaos Divine.

    I find Voyager boring and repetitive as hell.

    • Reese Burns

      I believe Caligula’s Horse is Australian as well. Beautiful prog metal.

      • John

        Yep, Caligula’s Horse is awesome and they have an album coming out later this year.

        • Reese Burns

          Really? I expect big things after Bloom. Hopefully they don’t disappoint.

          • John

            They had a couple band members leave so hopefully the guys filling in are just as good. Obviously Jim, the singer, is the most important part of the band though. That guy has a Godly voice.

            Apparently they’ve been playing one of the new songs live for quite awhile and it’s supposed to be longer (over 10 minutes I believe) than any song on Bloom and is apparently amazing.

          • Reese Burns

            Dang, I’m nervous about the new material! I typically like to give an album 3-4 years before I feel comfortable calling it perfect, but Bloom is definitely an album I’d consider perfect. And yeah, the vocals sort of define the band in this case. As long as they put out an album that’s even half as good as Bloom, I’ll be happy.

          • John

            Just in case you’re not aware, he was in another band that is now disbanded, called Arcane. They released 3 albums, one of which you can only buy on Bandcamp (all three are cheaper on there though anyways).

            I found their double-album “Known/Learned” late in 2015 and loved it, then I added them on Facebook and two days later they announced that they separated lol. The only issue I have with the album is I wish they made his vocals louder on that final album.

          • Reese Burns

            Hey, thanks! I’ll check em out ASAP

          • John

            Another album I like is “Her Halo” by Teramaze, who are also from Australia.

          • Reese Burns

            I was just listening to that album yesterday! Delusions of Grandeur is one of my favourite power/prog songs

          • John

            Yeah that’s a fantastic song. Did you get a chance to listen to Arcane yet?

          • Reese Burns

            I did, They’re really good. Thanks for pointing em out!

          • PS-RagE

            Arcane disbanded?? Damn…

      • I really need to check them out. I’ve heard a few songs and liked them, but never fully dove into an album.

    • Jm from nj

      YES! Absolutely LOVE Chaos Divine. They get no love. “The Human Connection” is probably one of my most played albums in the past 10 years and “Colliding Skies” is pretty tremendous too.

    • Serjien

      Wow, I just discovered 4 bands I had never heard of just by reading through this comment! Thanks!

  • Zadion

    I remember discovering these guys back in 2011 with your review of The Meaning of I. I didn’t think it was nearly as amazing as you did (in fact I might call it their weakest album after their debut), but it led me to thoroughly exploring their discography, and they soon became one of my favorite projects (as of 2017, whenever someone asks me who my favorite band is I’m always conflicted between Voyager or Orphaned Land).

    I’ve been looking forward to your review for this and I’m thrilled it got such a great review. Especially since you didn’t like V as much (which was a fucking awesome album btw), I’m counting on this being at least as impressive. One day I hope they’ll match the astounding magnificence that is I Am the ReVolution.

  • El_Cuervo

    The Meaning of I is 6 years old? For the second time in my life I’m starting to feel old.

  • Tagged with 3.5 and a 4.0 rating, deal with 3.75?

  • savafreak

    I understand that Black/Avantgarde/anything Post in it, have no guitar solos because it doesn’t fit with their unholy “epicness”, but why so many Prog Metal bands are ditching the solos nowadays, don’t they realize that it is the eargasmic peak of a song, without it its just a releaseless listening! or simply they have no creativity for them and all they can do is chug chug chug! A turn off for me

    • If you actually have something to say with your solo then good, but most of the time they’re just filling a space and most guitarists sound pretty much the same. If every band had Victor Smolski in it, then I would have to agree with you. It used be that pretty much every metal track had to have a solo, but I think it’s good that not everyone does the same thing. Music without solos is certainly not all just chug chug. I’m not a fan of the chug actually.

    • Ben Davella

      Yea, reminds me of the beginning of the anti guitar thing in the 90s all over again. This is metal man, and great guitar work is an essential part of metal. And I don’t mean worthless notes played just for the sake of showing off. I go back to Teramaze again and again to deaf ears here. All the prog metal bands have kind of all blended into one sound, not all but most. Esoteric Symbolism by Teramaze is the best prog metal release in YEARS. Dean Wells is a beast from Australia, he doesn’t overdue it. Guy knows how to write a solo. Dynamics, neck pup usage, layers and textures, an ARTIST in every sense! That cd has so many ah ha moments and hooks.

  • Panagiotis Krokidas

    Sweet and interesting. Brings to my mind Fair to Midland.

    • I think “sweet and interesting” is how Steel Druhm describes himself.

      • I’d probably go for bitter and multi-faceted, myself.

  • I’ve always been curious about this band and listened to them a bit here and there over the years, but I’ve never made the jump to buy an album. I think it’s the production: It’s all just a tad too sterile for me. If they release a quality live album, maybe I’ll get it! :P

  • From the first listen a few years ago, I was absolutely entranced with this band. They seemed to forge a sound and identity very early in their career. The ability to effortlessly genre-hop without sounding forced is very appealing. And they seem to have a blast while doing it. I get a fun, zero-pretentious vibe from them. The vocals/songwriting are always stellar and stick with you long after the album has played. I was one of the Pledge Music contributors and can’t wait for this to arrive!

  • Mad Gone Jarek

    You’re in luck Steely D. You’ve been giving all my most anticipated records mediocre (good) reviews recently (Hellwell and Pyramaze) so this is a sigh of relief :D
    Also I would’ve given those respectively 4.0 and 3.5

    • A 4.0 for the new Hellwell? Inconceivable!

      • BaboonKing

        You keep using that word…

      • Mad Gone Jarek

        The production doesn’t bother me, as it’s actually quite dynamic, the only lenght issues I have with the album is that I feel like “It’s Alive” and “The Galaxy Being” run just a tad too long and I actually love all the excessive jammin’ and organ-raping that’s going on.
        It’s a really easy listen to me :)
        Pyramaze is somewhat dissapointing but I still love plenty of the songs
        I’d actually cut out “Obsession” and the two interludes – I think that would make the album flow even better
        Also the chorus of “Nemesis” is sooooo gooooood :D

    • Neither of those is hitting me as hard as their previous albums, sad about that. I had high hopes they’d be year end material.

      • Mad Gone Jarek

        My hopes have been somewhat fulfilled, though probably not on a year end level :/

  • h_f_m

    Digging this album. Love it.

  • Paul VH

    Nice…this is my best discovery since Leprous.
    Got some back catalogue to catch up on.

    • Gabriel Cabana

      Leprous and Voyager? Great taste!
      I saw Leprous live, it’s definitely an amazing prog band.

  • David Prawira

    A bit djenty

  • GardensTale

    This sounds amazing!

  • jersey devil

    Pretty damn good! I have never ventured too far into prog metal, but maybe i should. I used to listen to YES a lot in high school many years ago, and as you said in the review sometimes they have a Yes vibe. Full circle.

    • Try Anubis Gate and Threshold too.

      • jersey devil

        cool thanks

      • Paul VH

        Steel Druhm did you ever find out who does the Pete Steele sound a like vocals on Iron Dream? ?

    • Ben Davella

      Teramaze, Esoteric Symbolism is hands down the best progmetal album in years. The last 1 was ehh, Esoteric is a killer!!! Not knocking this, but to me, not even in the same league, by a MILE

  • I really liked Vola’s Inmazes album and this about the closest ting I’ve heard to it since. I like what I’m hearing and I’ll certainly check out the full album. I had no idea these guys were Australian. To be honest, I don’t like that many Australian bands so it’s nice to find this.

  • herrschobel

    Never heard of this band before. Enjoying it a lot !

  • Luke_22

    Damn, how have I overlooked these Aussie proggers for so long? This sounds great.

  • Lithophyte

    In town Friday – lots of fun these guys, so I reckon I should go

  • Paul VH

    Steel Druhm did you ever find out who does the Pete Steele sound a like vocals on Iron Dream? ?

    • I always assumed it was the vocalist.

      • Paul VH

        Yeah you’re right.
        I messaged the band.
        Crazy how he nails it.

  • Grawmps

    Voyager are definitely fun. Like a quirkier Pagan’s Mind. Will be keeping my eye out for this one!

  • Paul VH

    Wow..what a fantastic album!
    It’s encouraging to hear a band sounding so fresh and original.
    Just when it seems like all the best hooks have been written these guys put out an album full of them.
    Lead singer seems to have grown out of his catchy yet sometimes awkward punctuation of older albums and his voice sounds incredible on this album.
    This is easily my aoty so far for 2017.

  • Jeffrey Carter

    After a few listens, I can say without hesitation that this album is superior to V – this should have been the followup to Meaning of I!

  • Edmund Sackbauer

    Really good stuff. I am not a fan of all this modern Prog stuff and prefer my Prog to be more on the Power Metal side of things (DGM, Anubis Gate, Pagans Mind etc.) but Voyager write damn catchy Songs.

  • Grawmps

    Anubis Gate and Pagan’s Mind are pretty much the kings of this “style” of progressive metal….but Voyager are okay.