|Hard Rock, Stoner Rock
Nuclear Blast Records (2014), Sena Records
September 11th, 2012 / January 10th, 2014
Release length: 50:40
While Voyage has a pretty crisp digital audio quality, it’s soaked in classic Rock riffs, distortions and enthusiasm, all of which is upfront and on display with the Stoner Rock laced riffs of “Craving.” The vocals find a hint of distortion on them when they get louder, and the cleaner guitars allow the mid-range twang of the bass guitar to stand out and help keep the rhythm alive. The music itself carries a nice thickness common to the era The Vintage Caravan is aiming for. While the main verses show some technicality, it’s the solid guitar solo and enthusiastic chorus that instantly grab you, lunging with Rolling Stones-esque hooks that are impossible not to get pumped by.
“Do You Remember” is a nice little ballad piece that one could easily picture used in the soundtrack to a show like The Wonder Years. The soft acoustic piece drops all distortions, giving a clean piece that is just shy of including keyboards or an organ in the background. It’s not the most amazing Soft Rock entry, but it’s enjoyable enough to just lay back and relax with, or hold a loved one close to, maybe even break out a slow dance with him or her. It also introduces the one instrument that is largely absent from a release like this: The tamborine. It’s limited towards the end, but it still fills the hole many songs have from the lack of it. The rather Progressve “M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T.” uses it again, but it’s towards the end once more. The track itself is engaging, but much like the folksy “Winterland” and its slower introduction, it’s an experience that definitely would be enjoyed more in some kind of altered state.
There’s a few more worth mentioning, starting with “Cocaine Sally,” which will instantly reminds Rock fans of songs like “My Generation” by The Who. The music is rather thin in the verses, but the richer melodic chorus that is easy to get into makes up for it. “Let Me Be” is a little deeper overall, putting the focus more on the bass guitar to assert a Jimi Hendrix style authority through groovey riffs in the main verses. The vocal performance shows a subtle hint of Blues-oriented passion that only makes the atmosphere all the more believable, topped off with a surprising guitar solo worthy of the most legendary of early Heavy Metal groups such as Iron Maiden. “The Kings Voyage” carries that Metal presence even more with a stern attitude in the glorious riffs that follow the uncompromising groove found throughout. Of course around the six minute mark the song kind of goes into a medley of all the odd material you came across, such as a bad acid trip around the six minute mark that would best be left to “M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T.” or “Winterland,” and a throwback to the Easy Rock sound similar to “Do You Remember.”
When it comes to the sudden interest in classic Rock groups, The Vintage Caravan is a very welcome surprise. The power that Voyage starts with does lose steam a bit around “Expand Your Mind,” but what follows are still enjoyable slabs Hard Rock nostalgia by The Vintage Caravan not limiting themselves to one specific style from that period. Instead they bring together all the styles that helped make Rock such a force to be reckoned with, and even a hint of Heavy Metal in it’s earliest form, keeping this album fresh and engaging from start to finish. If you’re a fan of classic Rock, or even a Metal fan born and bred on the good stuff that mainstream stations are too afraid to play today, Voyage is journey well worth taking.
01. Craving – 4:25
02. Let Me Be – 4:29
03. Do You Remember – 4:58
04. Expand Your Mind – 6:58
05. M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T. – 4:02
06. Cocaine Sally – 2:46
07. Winterland – 6:15
08. Midnight Meditation – 4:48
09. The Kings Voyage – 11:59
|2014 Pressing Score: 8/10