Prog - - Take A Bow - MATT MILLS

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.





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