Album Review: Voyager – Fearless In Love

I wonder how many people had heard of Voyager before Eurovision 2023. I’d wager not that many, although if you’d had the opportunity to catch them supporting Vola last Autumn on their UK run, you’d have struggled not to have been impressed with the Australian five-piece. In fact, this is a band who are rapidly approaching veteran status, having formed in 1999 in Perth. Although they didn’t release their debut until 2003 in the shape of Element V, the band has worked incredibly hard with their sound, experiencing shifts from early power metal styles to the mature, complex, progressive sound that we hear today. I’ll admit being relatively late to the party, with 2017’s Ghost Mile the album that really caught my attention, along with an “I was there” set at Bloodstock in 2018.

11 tracks in total, wrapped up in short sharp blasts, the longest song being a mere 5:23 in length. Voyager don’t need to elongate or over-elaborate. They don’t skimp on the content either, with plenty of those big down tuned riffs that have become a signature part of their sound still present. The crushing intro of “Prince of Fire” is one such example, tempered with delicious melodies, allowing vocalist and keyboardist Danny Estrin to take centre stage. He does that without any ego, with the band allowed to breath throughout. Likewise, on “Dreamer” which starts with an electro beat that is infectious and gets you dancing. The hybrid mix of thick riffs and dance vibes is certainly one of the attractions for me about this band and here it kicks in from the first note. The juxtaposition between the crunching riffs supplied by Simone Dow and Scott Kay, the layered synths and the pounding rhythm section of drummer Ashley Doodkorte and bassists Alex Canion is sublime.

It’s the sum of the parts that make Voyager such an interesting and exciting band. Their style is unique in many ways, refusing to be genre badged. Instead, they play what they believe in. Thus, we get the soaring emotions of “The Lamenting” sitting next to the pulsing bursts of “Submarine”. Both are fine songs, the latter a compelling toe-tapper that is vibrant, anthemic, and uplifting in equal parts. It’s also one of the most progressive tracks on the album, with delightful interplay between guitars and keyboards in a crazy prog maelstrom that is irresistible. It’s almost Devin Townsend in its drama and conclusion.

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Many in the metal world were dismissive of “Promise” when it first dropped, yet everyone I know was rooting for the Aussies in the Eurovision final. It’s by far from the best song on this album, yet it’s the clever composition, subtle changes, and pop sensibilities that make it an essential listen. You probably know the words by now. If you don’t, then it won’t take long. I never tire of hearing it, and the careful placement of the song in the middle of the album is just right. Can you listen to it without singing along? Liar!

“Twisted” continues to provide the heady mix of crashing metal with the progressive dance tempo that has become a trademark of Voyager’s sound. It’s certainly in the latter half of Fearless in Love that Voyager remind you of their metallic roots. There is plenty of heavy kicking in. And just when you thought they couldn’t reach any higher, Voyager throw in the final song “Gren (Fearless in Love)” which shows their tender side once more.

Fearless in Love is an album that contains some of the most sublime playing you’ll hear in 2023. From the huge swells that rush through, the emotional contrasts that provide moments when you’ll catch your breath, and the dramatic, atmospheric songs that simply uplift the heart, it’s one that will need multiple plays, and will likely still be on the turntable in six months’ time.

They may have bubbled under for years, but Voyager are now rightly moving into the ascendency. This album is likely to provide the fuel to maintain that momentum.

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Fearless in Love is due out on July 14th

Check out all the bands we review in 2023 on our Spotify and YouTube playlists!

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Craig Henderson
Craig Henderson
June 28, 2023 11:50 PM

I’m one of the many people who actually had heard of and listened to Voyager prior to Eurovision this year, so it was exciting and quite surreal for me to see them so so well in it.

Anyhoo, love the review and I can’t wait to hear the album.

Reply to  Craig Henderson
June 29, 2023 9:13 AM

Proud to say we’ve been featuring them since _2016_ including an interview in the runup to their appearance at Bloodstock 2018! Largely due to the great PR and manager they have :)