Archive for the ‘Voyager’ Category

Deryk Thomas’ Top 10 Albums of 2014

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Deryk Thomas of RTRFM’s Critical Mass counts down the year’s best in the world of doom, death and thrash metal.

10. SCAR SYMMETRY — The Singularity: Phase I
SS have always released razor sharp futuristic melodic metal, but this is the next step up. It flows well, and cant wait to hear the other chapters.

9. DECAPITATED — Blood Mantra
A fair bit of the technical stuff has gone, in favour of more straight ahead fast paced modern death metal. Great album considering what they’ve been through in recent years.

The best album they’ve done. A real coming of age for the band, like Scott Bishop has pointed out, they’ve figured out how to combine heavy metal sounds with the melodic stuff.

7. AT THE GATES — At War With Reality
At The Gates are back in the studio. Lots of anticipation for this one being one of the top picks for the year. Yeah, it probably is, but it’s a bit ho-hum in the back half of the album. Six other albums were better than it.

6. 1349 — Massive Cauldron of Chaos
A late comer for black metal release of the year. Better production and more adventurous elements to vocals have set this one apart from previous releases.

Jus Osborn, tour Australia already damnit.

4. WORMWOOD — Wormwood
There was a glut of new releases that hit our inboxes recently on Critical Mass, this is one that stood out. It’s the guys out of Doomriders doing a visceral take on doom and sludge. This is an EP. Now this is the first time I’ve bent the rules a little to include a non-full length because A) it’s awesome and B) it’s not exactly a bumper year for heavy metal releases.

3. ANIMALS AS LEADERS — The Joy Of Motion
If you haven’t heard this one yet, reward yourself. Combines djent metal with jazz fusion instrumental stuff. Gets stuck more in your head with each listen and that’s the sign of a “top” album. Saw them at Amps a while back and have been a fan ever since.

2. MASTODON — Once More Round The Sun
Mastodon are the best at what they do. Never got sick of this album since its release. I reckon I listen to it every week or two.

1. TOMBS — Savage Gold
This was always gonna be a contender, and it just grabs you straight away. Primal post-metal riffs and pounding drums. Very basic in approach, every post is a winner on this album.

Scott Bishop’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Scott Bishop of RTRFM’s Critical Mass counts down the best heavy releases of 2014.

2014 is nearly over. It’s been a great year for heavy music, including a reformation album many of us thought we would never hear (At The Gates). Ultimately on these lists there will be a few albums that didn’t make the grade due to various reasons and unfortunately we at Critical Mass can’t hear every metal album, as presenters though we do our best to dig a little deeper and present our personal top 10s (with 5 honourable mentions).

5 honourable mentions:
At The Gates — At War With Reality
Eyehategod — Eyehategod
Tryptikon — Melana Chasmata
Behemoth — The Satanist
Babymetal — Babymetal

10. EARTHROT — Follow The Black Smoke
From Perth. Gnarly, abrasive, crusty and everything in the red. Love it.

9. VALLENFYRE — Splinters
A surprise release, not being familiar with their back catalogue, the pedigree of members had me thinking of a different sound (slow doom death) but it got much better!

Took me a while to come around to this, especially since vocally it sounds like Jus Oborn sounds like he’s singing down the corridor, but it’s the heavy/slow DOOMY riff fest that you want and desire from EW.

7. ENTOMBED A.D. — Back To The Front
Back indeed! Stripped back and with fire in their bellies the Swedish masters show the young’uns how its done.

6. GRIDLINK — Longhena
The final album from the grind perfectionists. Ravenous riffage and vocals shrieking all over the place. Some well placed violin and clean guitars make this a perfect end game for Jon Chang and co.

5. DYING OUT FLAME — Shiva Rudrastakam
Coming straight out of Nepal with their self-styled Hindu/Vedic death metal. Some brutal riffs mixed with chanting and traditional instrumentation. Best debut for sure!

4. THE AUSTERITY PROGRAM — Beyond Calculation
Noisy metal/punk with heavy chugging bass and angluar guitar. Justin Foley is part insane preacher and part Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’.

Excellent songs and production. These guys have finally found a sound that bridges the melody and the heavy. Pop structures and anthems that deserve to shouted along too at massive European festivals.

Almost cheating with a double album here but it’s DEVIN TOWNSEND! All the crazy, layered, symphonic, bombastic sounds you could ask for! The pop metal of Sky Blue and the epic, heavy metal space opera of Dark Matters.

1. MORBUS CHRON — Sweven
Morbus Chron took death metal into all kinds of weird and surreal dimensions with Sweven. Weird instrumental passages, howling vocals that drift in and out, heavy headbanging riffs. It’s so wrong and so right, I just want to hear it again and again!

Scott Bishop is a host of Critical Mass on Perth’s RTRFM from 9pm-11pm Wednesdays (+8GMT). You can stream Critical Mass from

Check back this week and next as Life is Noise contributors continue unveiling their top 10 records of the year.

Life is Noise’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Our staff count down the best records of 2014 — from the heavy to the hallowed and everything in between.

10. TINARIWEN — Emmaar

Even though the songs are sung in their native tongue, Tinariwen’s epic desert blues transcends barriers of language and culture. It helps that the Malian band’s brand of rock — a label that does little justice to Tinariwen’s diverse and often spiritual aesthetic, but feels more appropriate than any other term in Western music criticism — bursts with flourishes of familiarity, from Hendrix to Dylan. Emmaar feels like a bridge between worlds, a fact best exemplified by its opening gambit ‘Toumast Tincha’, a riff-filled odyssey that’s equal parts intriguing and recognizable, grooving and introspective. Emmaar is the perfect soundtrack to journeys unknown. — Matthew Tomich


Excellent songs and production. These guys have finally found a sound that bridges the melodic and the heavy. Pop structures and anthems that deserve to shouted along too at massive European festivals. — Scott Bishop

8. SUN KIL MOON — Benji

Though Mark Kozelek’s year has been marked by petty feuds and pettier insult songs, he was also responsible for one of the most moving and honest records of the year in Benji, an ode to the minutiae of contemporary life that spans from San Francisco to Ohio to Newtown and back. There’s as much darkness as there is light in Benji, though it’s more poignant moments are the most heart-wrenching like opening track ‘Carissa’, where Kozelek uses his guitar and voice to make sense of the accidental death of his cousin in and give her life poetry. Rarely does an album feel like it’s being written and played right in front of you, the stories unfolding in real time as Kozelek seemingly finds the words as he goes to narrate the lives of those around him. Worth countless repeat listens. — Matthew Tomich

7. TOMBS — Savage Gold

Post-metal with more than a dash of black, Savage Gold is dissonant, haunting, extreme – and one of the surprise releases of the year. See also their excellent cover of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. — Scott Williams

6. SHELLAC — Dude Incredible

Dude Incredible simply gets the job done. Clocking in at just over half an hour, the record is Shellac stripped of anything that might be considered superfluous, leaving less a record and more a precise, surgical airstrike. From the prowling bass of ‘Riding Bikes’ to the snarl of ‘All the Surveyors’, Dude Incredible manages to pack real menace into an austere half hour. Nothing is overused and nothing is overdone (both in terms of songwriting or production), a fact that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Shellac and Albini’s form. — Jack Midalia

5. ICEAGE — Plowing into the Field of Love

Plowing Into The Field of Love is everything people love about Iceage and a whole lot more. The songs still wallow the in same bleak mirth Iceage bathe in, but the dense, nihilistic moods are now littered with the sounds of folk and an undeniable country swagger, which might sound odd to some fans but by damn you wouldn’t have it any other way. This whole album is like a punch in the guts, but it’s the sort of punch you’re grateful for, the one where once you’ve managed to start taking in oxygen again and you reach out and gladly ask for another. It’s bold, aggressive, mangled and so perfectly enjoyable, an example of a band leering ten feet above their contemporaries. — Jack Payet

4. SWANS — To Be Kind

Michael Gira is a without a doubt the scariest human being on the planet. Swans at their loudest and heaviest are a terrifying beast, but it’s the quiet moments of To Be Kind in which Gira seems to be at his sneering, menacing worst. Boasting more than a hint of the industrialism of Einstürzende Neubauten, this is a record I would regularly put on as background music, only to find I’d that I’d either stopped whatever I was doing and that an hour had passed in the blink of the eye. There are certainly worse ways to spend a couple of hours. Additional mention of the cover art, which is either the best or the worst album artwork of 2014. — Jack Midalia


Devin has to be admired, not just for the great music on this album but for the projects he takes on in general, the majority of which are born from his bizarre and brilliant mind. Z2 is a double album (condensed down from 50 songs originally), the first part being a typical DTP “pop metal” album taking elements from Epicloud and Addicted, though it feels more mature. The second half is a War of the Worlds-style rock opera featuring the return of Ziltoid (Devin’s alter ego, a coffee-loving alien hell bent on world domination) similar in musical style to the first Ziltoid album but with a bigger scope and budget. The Ziltoid tale will also be taken to the musical theatre stage next year at the Royal Albert Hall for a show that sold out within weeks. — Scott Williams

2. ELECTRIC WIZARD — Time to Die

It took me a while to come around to Time to Die, especially since vocalist Jus Oborn sounds like he’s singing down the corridor, but it’s the heavy/slow DOOMY riff fest that you want and desire from The Wizard. — Scott Bishop

1. YOB — Clearing the Path to Ascend

YOB’s Clearing the Path to Ascend was virtually undisputed amongst aficionados of independent heavy music as one of the best albums of the year. Crowned by a song bound for a timeless regard in the world of heavy music, ‘Marrow’, the rest of the album gradually emerges from the blinding supernova of the closer across multiple listens to burn slowly into the mind as one of the most outstanding albums made in heavy metal history. Scheidt can make it seem as though drawing upon an utterly deadly riff is as easy as breathing for him, and is quite happy to let you have it methodically and relentlessly over a period of time where other bands would have played twenty different ones. This is doom deep in a trance. YOB is meditative. YOB is introspective, and deeply moving in its sincerity. On this record, YOB is godlike. — The Black Captain

Check back over the next two weeks as we reveal our individual writers’ top 10 records of 2014.

Anger Management: Voyager

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Watching Voyager support the Devin Townsend Project in October 2013, it was evident from the band’s new songs and stage performance that new album V was going to be very good indeed.

Onstage the band looked enthusiastic and full of life. Time spent touring overseas with Rhapsody Of Fire has sharpened their live game. The newer tracks were much heavier and toned back on the keys just enough to let Daniel Estrin focus on being a frontman and not be anchored to his synth.

A hugely successful crowdfunding campaign seems to have added to the joyous mood as V sounds very warm and upbeat. Some more modern djent-styled riffs work well with the sound. Daniel Estrins’ unique lower register is backed up with some more aggressive vocals and a few guest vocal appearances by Zemyna Kuliukas (A Beautiful Mistake) and Daniel Tompkins (Breaking Down).

Though toned down, the synth sounds complement the guitars well in ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Embrace The Limitless’. A re-recording of ‘To The Morning Light’ from their debut Element V (retitled minus the “To”) complete with awesome Terminator-esque effects makes me think a lot of the older tracks would sound great with this lineup and production.

Many bands in this genre that make it to five albums would generally start to toy around with lengthy, forced balladry and softer sounds — I’m looking at you Vanishing Point — but Voyager have simplified things and it works well. Modern heavy riffs filtered through a catchy verse/chorus/verse pop structure. These songs were made for singalongs at huge European festivals. Get on board.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM on RTR FM 92.1.