Armed with an uncanny ability to unite the soul and melody of traditional rock’n’roll with the intricacy of prog, Temples On Mars kick-start tonight’s experimental triumvirate in a flurry of harmonic heroism. Frontman James Donaldson and co storm the stage with an energised vigour that lures in their ever-expanding crowd, quickly rallying through the grooving singles When Gods Collide and So In Love With Your Own Drug, both taken from the quartet’s self-titled debut album. This pair – along with deeper cuts like Suicide By Tiger and Black Mirror – excel at condensing progressive, polyrhythmic adventurism into radio-friendly anthems, promising a bright and potentially arena-filling future for this flashy four-piece.
English juggernauts Sumer follow suit.
The quintet, bolstered by their possession of three guitarists, provide a riff-driven explosion of a set that commences with the slow-building Chisel before hitting a cathartic high early on with the fiery Pinch, Cut. Two brand-new tracks, Subversions and Coherence, are debuted back-to-back: the lengthy, patient sophistication of the former soon finds itself gloriously juxtaposed by the steely savagery of the latter. The adrenaline rushes caused by Sumer’s mighty metal are amplified by the band’s stellar presence. Every ferocious breakdown only feels all the more spine-rattling as the venue witnesses everyone onstage indulging in enthusiastic bouts of deep, synchronised headbanging.
As a headline act, Voyager could not be more appropriate: their sumptuously heavy output seamlessly unites the avant-garde muscularity of Sumer with the unyielding infectiousness of Temples On Mars. The Australian mavens had to endure the throes of a 16-hour flight to make it to British shores, but their inalienable chemistry and charisma could fool anyone into thinking they were playing on home turf tonight.
Small details like witnessing vocalists
Danny Estrin and Alex Canion steal one another’s microphones, or an impromptu cover of the Darude dance hit Sandstorm, go a very long way, elevating the performance from an impressive display of pure talent to feeling like a true prog metal party.
The strength of the power metal-inspired tunes on display is the perfect complement to the fun environment that’s meticulously crafted: modern classic after modern classic is laid out with ease and a constant swagger.
Whether it’s a decade-old powerhouse like the manic
I Am The Revolution or a newer entry taken from the latest album Ghost Mile, every song in Voyager’s packed setlist resonates with luscious singalongs, permeating percussion and rock-solid riffs. As a result, it’s unsurprising to hear the crowd unabashedly beg for more as the evening apparently concludes to the titanic sound of The Meaning Of I. Of course, the thunderous technicians happily oblige, continuing their unique balance of wildness and professionalism long into the night.
“THEIR SUMPTUOUSLY HEAVY OUTPUT SEAMLESSLY
UNITES AVANT‑GARDE MUSCULARITY WITH INFECTIOUS
VOYAGER: PROG METAL PARTY PEOPLE. VOYAGER’S RIFF MACHINE, SIMONE DOW.