While Voyager’s 2017 album Ghost Mile represented a stark and haunting record including bleak piano melodies throughout and having themes of darkness, the night, and a ghost mile journey, their 2019 album Colours in the Sun represents a brighter and more varied album.
Containing elements of 80s synthesizers, the chugging djentleness of progressive metal riffs and the tight grooves of a solid bass and drums funk foundation, Voyager finds themselves on a trajectory similar to a lot of heavy metal bands who, in more recent years, have resorted to adding an increasing number of electronic instrumentation and often completely doing away with the guitar on their records. The difference here, obviously, is that rather than doing away with the chugging riffs and opting for a solely throwback 80s electronic album, Voyager uses their increased synthesizers to enhance or color the tracks on the album, leading to an ideal album that is equal parts heavy and equal parts melodic.
The song “Colours” uses the interesting synthesizer sounds to great effect. As the synths are the opener to the first song on the album, as the band is introduced the song quickly turns into something entirely different. The chorus in particular is an interestingly melodic, haunting, and beautiful score, with the chorus having a gradual crescendo “Leave / Leave all / Leave now / Leave I.” It’s an altogether straightforward Voyager song with the extra seasoning of a ideal synth.
While “Colours” sounds like Voyager with an 80s synthesizer, “Brightstar” is the most direct sound Voyager gets on this album, and similarly to “Colours”, it contains the equal bits of melody and progressive riffage that Voyager is known for.
Probably the best new type of song on the album, “Saccharine Dream” is also a departure from their typical grooves, focusing instead on an entirely funkified rhythm that’s more of a creamy soup texture than a meat and potatoes kind. Yes, the song is akin to great food.
Alas, “Water over the Bridge” and “Sign of the Times” are the heaviest tracks on the album. While they sound similar to old Voyager, “Water over the Bridge” has darker and angrier riffs while “Sign of the Times” has a more subtle feel, similar to the lyrics and its themes revolving around the title. “Severomance, which actually comes after “Colours”, is a track in similar fashion, with eerie vocals during the verse laid over a harmonic, Arabic sounding, churned out riff.
Voyager’s brand of “pop progressive power metal” is an equally new and old beast, and as they progress, the band is taking steps to incorporate new sounds and create new sonic landscapes for their listeners. While “Colours” is the cream of the pop, “Water over the Bridge” is the hammer smashing the bowl, the album itself creating new sounds for Voyager while also leaving room for further and further experimentation and growth.