by John Kindred
– Publisher —
Voyag3r (pronounced Voyager Three) has released its debut album titled Doom Fortress. The album features six instrumental songs. What sets Voyag3r apart from its peers is that the band’s focus lies within the confines of soundtrack music from the ‘70s and ‘80s. And within that context, the music created by Voyag3r is influenced heavily by sci-fi, horror and action movies of that time. The key element of the band’s music lies with the use of synthesizers, which set up that classic, if not eerie, signature sounds from your favorite ‘70s and ‘80s cult movies.
If you’re looking for an example Voyag3r’s sound all you have to do is recall Terminator’s synthesizer-based film score by Brad Fiedel, or the Escape from New York soundtrack, composed and performed by John Carpenter. One could imagine listening to Doom Fortress while reading Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley. Doom Fortress fits musically right into those genres with relative ease.
Voyag3r modernizes its approach by adding guitars and real acoustic drums to the equation. The synthesizers are handled by Steve Greene, while Greg Mastin mans the drums, and Aaron Greene provides the electric sting and crunch of the guitars. They maintain the spirit of the era by using analog equipment. So, from using vintage analog synths, vintage tube amps, acoustic drums, 2-inch analog tape to recording with a 1977 Custom Harrison 3232 console, the band brings the warmth of that technology to its recordings, while maintaining the vibe of the time period.
For the band, exploration begins with the electronic-spacey sounds of the synthesizer. Setting up the framework for these post-apocalyptic instrumental anthems, the synth leads the way, but inclusion of the guitar and drums make the journey more dramatic and dynamic for the listener.
Starting off with “Summoning the Forgotten One,” the synth leads listeners into a long buildup that slowly introduces the complementary instruments of guitar, additional synth melodies and the pulse of the kick drum. This motif provides a dynamic tension that pushes toward a spirited climax and an eerie outro. The heartbeat of “One’s True Intentions,”aka the kick drum, and the synth prepare the way for lead guitar and further synth-melodies. Here, the guitar is the featured instrument and eventually opens up into Pink Floyd-ish-like trippy solo. “Doom Fortress Escape” opens with crushing guitar chords, and here, the synth delivers the primary melody, and the guitar echoes a similar riff. As it begins, so does it end, as the intro becomes the outro and fades into a slowly detuning synth melody.
“In the Hand of The Computers” uses wind to lay the backing foundation for this song. The track is reminiscent of how STYX uses the synth in its music. Swirling sounds create an eerie atmosphere, building up the tension. The guitar provides some creepy background dynamics. Midway through, the drums enter, along with an odd counter-melody of the synth. The song winds down almost like it began, but is quieter and softer as it ends. “Il Guanto Nero,” again, provides an eerie intro that is very futuristic; a delayed guitar riff swirls around the haunting keys. The synth drives this one, but the guitars are key here and bring forth a nice contrast to the steady, pulsing drive of the synths. “Lord of Doom Fortress” wraps the CD, and, as with the other songs, the music is dominated by the synth; the guitar and drums are there, stride-for-stride, keeping the music dynamically challenging. Again, the buildup leads to a burst energy in the middle of the song. The song ends on an uplifting chord progression that allows the guitar to deliver a wistful and soaring solo as the songs fades out.
Doom Fortress is a brilliant change of pace from traditional one-dimensional instrumental shred albums. Steve Greene, Greg Mastin and Aaron Greene have been performing with one another for nearly 20 years. Their time spent working in other bands, such as Forge and Decibilt, has honed their musical abilities. The result of their efforts comes together nicely with Voyag3r and their new album Doom Fortress.
Genre: Synthesizer Rock, Space Rock, Soundtrack, Minimal Synth, Experimental
Steve Greene – Synthesizers
Greg Mastin – Drums
Aaron Greene – Guitars
1. Summoning The Forgotten One
2. One’s True Intentions
3. Doom Fortress Escape
4. In The Hands Of The Computers
5. Il Guanto Nero
6. Lord Of Doom Fortress
Label: Battle Chamber Music
Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10