Lately we’ve seen a lot of bands trying to break into the United States’ sanctum of hardcore/metal, and few have the chops to garner the respect that is necessary to survive in such a crowded genre. Now, Voyager is a group of five guys from the depths of Brussels, Belgium, and they’re a force to be reckoned with.
This collection of abrasive tyranny and cold concrete aggression, called the Seas EP, shows their furious reality in multiple lights. Taking charge with opener “Foundations,” a muffled spoken word intro gives way into a punishing guitar riff before the disenchanted roar of vocalist Nabil Sanaullah comes pushing and shoving its way through the mix. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill hardcore we’ve come to expect; it doesn’t follow the path of typicality most other bands that dominate the scene do. It beats down on you, verse to verse, with gorgeous harmonies floating in the background near the end. For many this will take some growing and harboring appreciation, but I can see it immediately; these guys are diverse and full of tricks.
The album title track is a morose and depressing interlude, but it is constructed with great melody and impressive programming. It suddenly changes pace when cutting into “The Surface.” Its intro is fast, belligerent and ruthless. Reminding me of older Architects material, it doesn’t stop. What I love about this song in particular is how well these guys change from non-stop thrash to beautiful cleans in completely unexpected positions. Another thing I’ve noticed is their total open-mindedness in doing what works. Take for example the next track “Tabula Rasa.” It has a two-minute long instrumental section that in some ways is dissonant, featuring off-the-cuff percussion and strange melody. Just as quickly as it comes though, it warps into this beautiful singing verse that seems to rise out of (pun intended) the sea. It isn’t heavy like the previous numbers, but its gritty overtone serves a dynamic purpose with the vocals.
Now before you think it’s all mellowed out, check back in because they aren’t finished yet. “To The Beginning” is the closer this EP needs. It beats your face in with no filler, and no bullshit. Again, not following the typical format for such a sparse release, it’s a welcome sound. It rivets back and forth from fast to slow brutality, but its common theme remains the same throughout. With no pause for breath, the song ends as quickly as it began; was that the best move? I personally would have loved to see more instrumentation, but all in all I was very impressed by what I found here.
For such a young group, this is a record to take notice at. They’ve got the elements to lay down a solid force, now they need to run with it and show everyone what they’re made of. This EP is the groundwork; it’s time for them to build the walls of their impending success, as long as they continue with what they’ve shown us here.