Michigan-based trio Voyag3r – prononced ‘Voyager 3’ I’m told – wear their collective heart on their sleeve. One glance at the front cover of this, their debut recording, should give you a pretty good idea of what lurks within, looking, as it does, almost exactly like the kind of straight-to-video post-apocalyptic Mad Max knock-off that filled the dusty shelves of video rental shops back in days of yore. The image of a wild-eyed, bespiked thug leaning out of the window of a heavily armoured, spike and weapon-bedecked rustbucket car is straight out of a flick like Metalstorm or Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone – he could well be one of The Humungus’ goons from Mad Max 2 – and the grim ‘n’ dusty retro-futuristic eighties vibe is carried through to the band logo and overall design aesthetic too.
Where fellow eighties soundtrack aesthetes like Zombi, Umberto, Anima Morte and the like worship at the altar of John Carpenter, Fabio Frizzi and Goblin, Voyag3r, whilst clearly afficionados of Carpenter, have more in common with the likes of Sylvester Levay, composer of the legendary theme to Airwolf, and the artists on the original Transformers The Movie soundtrack. This is epic action flick music, reminiscent of the stirring synth-clad call-to-action of a particularly death-defying stunt scene from Airwolf or Streethawk.
Steve Greene’s throbbing choppy synths open proceedings, a clarion call melody squelching its way over the top before the drums of Greg Mastin and the guitars of Aaron Greene punch in and ‘Victory In The Battle Chamber’ begins in earnest. Switching between the tense, leanness of the opening bars and a more expansive, powerchord-driven, section, the tight drums, icy synth and alternately terse and rawk axeplay create a driving atmosphere that really does evoke a tremendously strident battle-scene that ultimately results in a heroic victory.
Over on the flip, ‘Hunted Become Hunter’ puts me very much in mind of a punchier take on the classic Knight Rider theme tune, which is sure as hell no bad thing. Once again, taut, choppy and in full control of the dynamic, Voyag3r absolutely nail the atmos here. Dramatic, slightly dark, and stirring.
The recent resurgence in interest of Carpenter, Goblin and the like shows exactly how fresh-sounding the cream of that material can be, and whilst Zombi and their cohorts – Voyag3r included – are very much paying homage, the sound they make and the approach they take is anything but a retrogressive nostalgia trip.
Fans of any of the afore-mentioned artists, and even the likes of The Fucking Champs and Trans Am, will find much to appreciate here. Only two tracks though?
Bring it on.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson