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Monday, October 3, 2011

Voyager - The Meaning of I review

Year : 2011
Genre : Pop Metal
Label : Sensory Records
Origin : Australia
Rating : 6.5 / 10

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Voyager's The Meaning of I is so diligently and devotedly polished that it will reflect all your cautious expectations back by its sheer pop glitter and chromium rasta-tentacles, leaving you sufficiently blinded - tautology!! - for a moment or two so it can channel its own rendition of risk-, and sugar-free, plastic-pink sci-fi metal into you. More precisely : sci-fi reggae pop metal. This record definitely sounds to have a pop / reggae feel going on, and, while one does not at all need to seek out any caveats to whine comfortably along regarding this notion, Voyager's The Meaning of I does not come through as a particularly strong pop metal release. The "official" meta-consensus is, that this is - hahahaha! - progressive metal. Wow, really! GTFO, I'm begging you. Symhony X's cybernEPIC Iconoclast HAS progression. Dream Theater's latest declaration HAS progression. Voyager and progression? No, you have been deceived. Voyager has Dr. Alban robot singing on top of synth-pop heavy metal music you have heard in the arcades in 1997, more on that later.

But, being pop metal is not necessarily bad, I'm still waiting to be touched by the genre, and I'm not at all opposing it for the sheer act of opposing it. Voyager's The Meaning of I comes through as "uhuh, OK" grade pop metal content, but a number of traits that become more and more irritating, are doing an efficient job at giving you twitches at both corners of mouth while this spin is declaring itself. Do the collective psyche a favor and scrutinize the z-grade Photoshop cover with diligence, then read on to find out more about this pop metal output, or don't.

The one and only problem with this release, - a problem though which is persistent to stick around - is that the songs on this LP - I truly am not happy for having to say this - ain't that great at all. They are mechanic exercises at creating pop accessibility with instruments of metal that are reflecting the same robotic feeling as the release's vocal contribution. I'm sorry to shatter your world, but. If you are humbly, dutifully, enthusiastically blown-, even bloooooooown awaaaaaay by the record, then know that this is the result of the release having no other agenda than to serve your nervous system out with microwave-consumption pop metal stimuli that has only super-mild creative efforts in it, and sure, this is a blatant claim. This is not a claim with a right to exhibit any hope of its validation without justification, and here is the attempt of that : some compare this release to Anubis Gate's super-slick self titled album, and I personally find this comparison highly staggering, even sorrowful. I dare say that Voyager sounds very shallow when compared to Anubis Gate. It is no doubt that AG is packed with high quality-, diligently researched and superbly realized MELODY, and when I consider Voyager after hearing Anubis Gate, uuuuuhh. Here is the thing : Voyager's latest registers as a metal pop festival nominee when compared to the entertainment factor of the music of the Danish dudettes.

People blown away by this record, please. Please? Don't believe your ears or fix the fucking things?? Get Anubis Gate's self titled and THEN it is OK if you are blown away. Blown away by THIS Voyager album is not being blown away for "real", it is your nervous system receiving very cheaply created signals to make you believe that your lazy fucking ears are graced already. Final tip regarding the introductory section of this review : Anubis Gate's self titled album kicks asses galaxies bigger than Voyager's latest ever fathomed having hopes to approach.

Guys, let's talk about the music.

The first track, Momentarily Relapse of Pain, is quick to invite grim suspicion almost right away. The track - and the album, logically enough - starts out with a superb polyrhythm that does not make sense at all and still sounds absolutely great, but the magic is to wear out soon, because the singing starts. OMFG! The singer dude sings like a robot that is not ALLOWED to commit mistakes. He is not allowed to include human emotion, either, if it conflicts with the first Asimovian Directive to deliver mathematically precise pronunciation and articulation. Listen to this articulation. This is so 111% precise, that it sounds unnatural. It sounds mannered. The lyrics are pretty boring, too. The singer must feel utterly empty indeed, because he needs to state "I feel so empty" four times in a row during the midsection. Hm. Maybe you should try to come up with a song when you are not feeling so empty, too.

Next track called Stare Into the Night starts out as an atrociously non-inventive zoo metal piece, while sporting a sense of warped carnival music, but, thank God & Co., a solid chorus comes in to save a minute of the day. One must point out that once the chorus revealed itself, the zoo metalish verse gains somewhat of a spine, as well. The chorus has a relative reggae-vibe going on, but, without the restrained rhythmization so common to that genre.

Seize the Day is your everyday average attempt to deliver a metal hymn that is supposed to give you an immediate spiritual level upwards, but, for me, it gives just a laugh I prefer to conceal into a cough, - failing now that I admit - and must say this sounds like the music I'd expect from a romantic metal-candidate at a pop festival in 1986 or so. The sound is relatively current and full, sure, - but mind us that many elements, including synthetic guitars, are being utilized in the background to make us believe that we are genuinely graced by evidently relevant content - but the composition is relatively weightless, even when considered as pure cheese, and the lyrical content is sentimental, risk free soul-flatter formed to assuage the one who is so easily can be assuaged once fat hope is served, the one who is still waiting for her/his very best hour to finally start something by. Well, Ladies and Gents, if you did not yet seize the day, then I can imagine THIS song will make the necessary mindhack on you! < - ill willed irony. This sounds to be a filler song with not too much-, if any ripe intent behind it, saved for an attempt to summon the determined epicness factor - and the hidden cheese - of anime power metal.

The track called Broken is more successful, and it also sounds to have this Dr. Alban vibe, which is a somewhat ubiquitous feel on the spin, supported by the persistent pop feel that coats the compositions into a sense of risk free accessibility. Broken also brings to mind Billy Idol's Heroin from 1992. This does not sound any more current or any more rich than that though, to be honest.

I can't tell anything about the track called The Pensive Disarray, because we - the track and me - have failed to do anything to each other during the three attempts we had at each other. OK, I see a dude in 1983, contemplating in his solitary bed with his sorrowful face on, lamenting about his Dream Woman, and suddenly I realize that he probably is a miserable grandmaster-turd, and then I lose interest in the picture.

The track called He Will Remain sounds like a prayer, and it could have been a splendid filler song you love to skip immediately, but the singing is not OK in it, in my opinion. Mind you, I'm not trying to be a troll all over the place, the singing is just COLD, in my opinion.

The consecutive, titular track starts out with top notch rumble - finally, for a tender fuck's sake - and the delivery is quick to elegantly summon a vibe similar to that of the Killer Instinct theme song, only more complex and with more extreme grit. Nevertheless, this is the same pop-metal made for immediate microwave consumption, now paired with Dr. Alban-like singing being taken to a new level of misplaced confidence. I like the thick, robust instrumental intro section of the song, and any part of it that does not have that cold, over-articulated singing. This titular track has a ripe structure and a nice flow, but also has metal core screaming in it. No worries, it only lasts for 2 bars, so it reaches its end before you could produce a nervous breakdown in peace.

The track Iron Dream is a tribute to Peter Steele Metal God / Human Demigod, and also is one of the most solid tracks on the release, one which Mr. Steele himself probably gives the nod on.

No, he did not object.

The pop vibe herein works, because the composition itself is : solid.

Fire of the Times once again gives you the metal pop festival in 1986 feeling, but the super-polished sound makes it tolerable. (For a minute or two.) The chorus of the song is not so bad, - not so stellar, either - but a lackluster, lazy verse puts a whole lot of unpleasant cosmoses on its shoulders. And, once a guitar solo kicks in and you think there will be something more relevant happening for a change, it turns out that the solo is 2 bars long, WTF!? And the average pop chorus comes back. Whattt. Evvver.

She Takes Me features kind of dignity-lacking singing of the "look, Girl, this is how I feel deep inside, look!!"-type with the so well known powerless sighs at the very end of the sung words that I think a woman is secretly disgusted of, the powerless sighs that truly commands hairs on a male's body to arrange themselves into Godlike Awareness Mode. Not a good thing, not in this aspect. This is a below average pop song - below average lullaby if you are a troll and proud of that - performed with metal instruments.

It's Time To Know tries to summon the Metal Elton John and succeeds masterfully, making use for the 32623786238623862386th time from the fact, that, it summons an instant sense of the cheapest epicness when you leave a triad of notes intact at the top, and change the root note/bass note around.

Congratulations, you have just lost a point!

I admit I utilized this trick once, too, after watching a totally unrelated, great instructional video from Guitar God Frank Gambale. He is Australian, too, like this band, and if you don't know Frank Gambale's work yet, you need to check him out ASAP, he is gigantic, and knows parts of music even music is ashamed of when they are revealed.

The last track, Are You Shaded? has this Evil VS Good thing going on, with glimpses - and JUST glimpses - of every possible sub-genres of extreme metal being thrown into this mix that seeks your appreciation like a dehydrated camel seeks rain in the desert. In a matter of ten seconds, you have death metal growls on top of thrash metal drums, riposted by the robot folk singing. Uuuuh. Not today, thanks. As hinted, the main attraction of the song is a chorus bordering on mystical folk/pop, with solid moments of mechanical, cybernetic fury that the album would sound way more convincing with, if to feature more - like : MUCH more - of that. This is a superbly produced, average plastic-pink pop metal record. At best. It reeks accessibility, but it reeks that so much that the "it" itself is nowhere to be found. It is KIA, baby.

Rating : 6.5 / 10

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