Published on July 9th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Voyager: Ghost Mile (IAV)
So I normally start these things with “so and so is back with a new album” and so forth, but leading up to this one my brain was in full-on OMGNEWVOYAGER!! mode. The Australian prog metal band has quickly become one of my absolute favorite bands, so a new Voyager album is anything but business as usual. I had the highest possible expectations for this one, and a few weeks on I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it.
Ghost Mile is the band’s sixth album to date, and in a lot of ways is the natural progression from what they did on their previous album (2015’s utterly addictive V). It’s highly melodic, but in a more subtle and seductive way than what the early Voyager albums had. The atmosphere on Ghost Mile, which is this massive, lush soundscape, is pushed way out in front, even more so than it was on V, and really defines the album. It’s reminiscent of Devin Townsend without sounding like Devin Townsend, if that makes any sense. I do wonder if having that big overall atmosphere makes the individual songs harder to connect with, as it took me a few spins to identify the songs that resonate with me the most. That’s not something I’ve had to look for on a Voyager album in some time.
Speaking of those songs, the early single “Misery Is Only Company” was one that I picked up on right away, but that may be because I’ve had more exposure to it. The shorter, ultra-catchy “What a Wonderful Day” is another favorite. “The Fragile Serene” is the kind of song that gradually sinks its hooks into you, and it is good to see some harsh vocals creeping back in on “Disconnected.” Album closer “As the City Takes the Night” is the album’s most ambitious track, and reminds me more than a little of the sound on the latest Fates Warning album.
The things that work so well on previous albums (and make Voyager one of the most fascinating bands in prog), work on Ghost Mile. The guitar work is mesmerizing. I could listen to Simone Dow and Scott Kay trade these crisp, intricate riffs all day, and the rhythms Ash Doodkorte and Alex Canion deliver are deceptively complex. Tying it all together is that huge keyboard presence and Danny Estrin’s unique vocals that so define Voyager’s sound.
In the end, Ghost Mile is another boundary-pushing album from one of the most exciting bands in progressive metal. I will admit that I had to give it time to grow on me, but so did I Am the Revolution, and everybody loves that one. I can’t see anyone who loved V not enjoying this one though, and Ghost Mile makes for a good jumping on point for those who prefer their metal to be on the atmospheric end of the spectrum.
Summary: This one took a while to sink in.