What's in a name people sometimes ask. Take for instance the name of a new band from Dortmund in Germany. They call themselves Voay. Consisting of Marc Schmieder (guitars and keyboards), Paul Schl÷▀ler (guitars), Heiko Pleskun (drums and percussion), Julian Schmidt (bass) and Xil (vocals and grunts). The name of this combo derives from the scientific name of an extinct crocodile species named Voay Robustus. The band makes their debut this year with the release of Cyclogenesis.
What can you expect from a band music wise that calls itself after an extinct crocodile I asked myself. Well, in the bands biography it is mentioned that the members are influenced by acts such as Dream Theater, Between Buried And Me, Haken, Opeth, AC / DC, Cynic, Death, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, The Mars Volta, Faith No More and Dir And Grey. Many times the bands which inspire musicians will tell something about how the band sounds themselves. But sometimes not. Well in this case it is so much true that the names mentioned in a way can be heard on the seven tracks they recorded for their debut album. Mixing all those musical influences into the compositions they wrote of course gives a very weird musical style and sound. I can imagine that for some people right away turn off their CD player after a couple of songs. Why? Because sometimes you hear fine melodic progmetal tunes, other times you hear death metal with lots of grunts. Sometimes so brutal you have problems listening to it any further. Then suddenly they come up with the finest progressive rock melodies you can imagine. All this takes a lot from the listener. Even more if you want to review an album like this one.
Take for instance a song like Ghost Of Kindness on which you hear Daniel Aurich playing on a tuba and Max Spickermann playing on a trombone. This certainly sounds very weird. But mixed with the fine guitar and synthesizer solos its rather enjoyable to listen to. Only the vocals sometimes bring the level of the song down to a level which is hard to listen to for a lover of true progressive rock music. The bands singer is quite present, sometimes scatters, growls and occasionally changes into screaming. The singer likes to switch between the melodic vocals, the well-dosed screams and the stubborn, sometimes unleashed wild vocal acrobatics, which can sometimes take quite a bit of getting used to.
On this album the often seemingly mathematical structures are not quite compatible with very traditional sounding musical resources and therefore not easy to digest for everybody. Especially the jazz influences seem to play a bigger role on the bands compositions next to the metal influences. With such versatile influences the band could have created great sounding progmetal, one would think. And if you do not hang directly on the traditionally oriented song structures and the melodious melodic arches, but rather experimental set, you will probably find Voay on Cyclogenesis quite convincing. Here is mainly a more technical, versatile kind of progmetal offered, in which the choppy chords, extremely crooked rhythms, twisty-sloping vocal lines and unmediated contrasts between the death core fragments, jazzy throw-ins and the comparatively traditional passages can offer you a lot of musical fun. Or you just might be disturbed if you have developed different preferences in terms of taste.
Whether the band has really succeeded with this release, everyone must judge for themselves. Everybody has a different musical taste after all. Sometimes a review helps you to see if an album is worth a recommendation. But if you like progressive rock with many influences taken from jazz, metal, death core you might be interested in this release. However one thing is sure. Here, on every track, numerous genre boundaries are crossed. How often do you hear that on a new album!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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