Destroy Everything Records
19 August 2013
For a young band, having lofty ambitions is no bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. Having creative vision of huge scope gives you a tangible goal to achieve; however, as so often is the case, ardor can run rampant and focus can be lost. This, unfortunately, is the fate that befalls Now, Voyager’s second EP Tell-Tale Hearts – a four-tracker that reveals a band with ample ability, but crucially, lacking in cohesive direction.
The Belgians have ideas in their spadefuls, but there’s just too many crammed into such a small space. In just under 18 minutes, the first and second halves of the record could be different bands – it really is as if Harvey Dent made a progressive metalcore record. The first two tracks, ‘From The Brain’ and ‘Where We’ll Start’ match the band’s self description of “melodic mathcore” – it has the intense instrumental assault and visceral vocal that puts one in the mind of luminaries like The Dillinger Escape Plan, but also has the slick production style and electronic effects of Rise Records’ output (think Architects’ early and latter day output crashing headfirst into one another). Now, Voyager may feel they have hit upon a winning formula here, given others’ success with marrying electronically induced atmospherics to heavy guitars, but although these tracks have some impressive bombast, the overall style is ill-fitting.
‘The Long Lane’ and ‘To The Heart’ find the quintet in an almost entirely different place; along a more progressive bent, these tracks are far more reminiscent of the post-metal of Devil Sold His Soul and the stratospheric prog rock of latter-day Thrice. ‘The Long Lane’ is possibly the most interesting track on display here, moving from an atmospheric intro to a fast-paced, dynamic art rock-esque song, distinctly reminding this writer of Fair To Midland (anyone remember them?). Finale ‘To The Heart’ is the conventional “epic” (eugh) curtain-closer to the record, slowly building and swelling to its euphoric denouement (or so it should supposedly make you feel). Maybe it’s because my heart is naught but a barely beating blackened and withered piece of cartilage, but the “big finisher” has become such a cliché that barely any emotional resonance leaps through the speakers on this one.
Watch the video to ‘Where We’ll Start’ by Now, Voyager:
Maybe I’m expecting too much of Now, Voyager to have discovered a definitive sound on only their second EP, but it seems a waste of their obvious and copious capabilities on dithering between directions. Once they find an element of self-discipline and consistency, they will be a force to be reckoned with, but Tell-Tale Hearts feels like a mismatched collection of songs, rather than a release that screams for your attention.
Sounds Like: Some serious split-personality issues – did Chuck Palahniuk already finish Fight Club 2?
Standout Tracks: Where We’ll Start, the Long Lane