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Voyager

VoyagerMorphica/This Other Eden/Caligula’s Horse

Amplifier Bar
Friday, February 21, 2014

Urgent strings, chugging drums and some serious keyboard wizardry signaled the beginning of Morphica’s set, with the talented foursome playing a selection of covers and originals to a small but enthusiastic crowd. Wowing us with their powerhouse progressive metal, keyboardist Jeremy Poole-Johnson and guitarist Daniel Wiggins stole the show, displaying a kind of musical camaraderie rarely seen. Wiggins especially shone on original tracks LB427 and Universal Mind, with his frantic, masterful shredding leaving several punters’ jaws on the floor.

Five-piece This Other Eden brought a hardcore sensibility to the stage, with furious, frenetic drums providing an interesting backdrop to frontman John Kelly’s vocal stylings. From ear-shattering screams to lovely singalongs, he did it all with ease, displaying the impressive control he has over his instrument. In fitting with Kelly’s versatile vocals, their sound encompasses a wide range of genres; post-rock, hardcore, punk and even a pinch of pop make for an unlikely – but invigorating – listening experience. Peddling tracks from new EP Six Senses, high-energy standouts Shake This and Better Already had the crowd singing and shaking along.

Brisbane based five-piece Caligula’s Horse instantly demanded attention with their charismatic brand of prog rock. Lead singer Jim Grey’s comedic timing and easy banter with the audience belied the band’s penchant for all things eerie and creepy – unsettling soundscapes segued into heavy metal mayhem, characterised by sublime harmonies and Opeth-influenced guitar solos. Flaunting some great pipes of his own, bassist Dave Couper lent a killer falsetto to Vanishing Rights, before a sweaty and shirtless Grey introduced set finisher Fuck This City via a fitting political message: “This last song goes out to all the fucking pollies across the country. We love you, but FUCK THIS CITY!” A song worth its weight in shred, it was the perfect endnote for a set brimming with no-holds-barred attitude.

The deafening cheers accompanying Voyager’s arrival made one thing very clear: the local legends had high expectations to fulfill. Frontman Daniel Estrin’s drawn out overture “We…are…Voyager!” was met by hushed suspense, with super catchy opener The Devil In Me finally sating their fans’ desire. Lost, a track punctuated by driving riffs and pounding drums, was followed by an epic cover of Type O Negative’s Iron Dream. While the night’s purpose was to promote new single Breaking Down – the first fruits of their hugely successful Kickstarter venture – the single was somewhat overshadowed by a sexy medley of retro hits, including Kung Fu Fighting, What Is Love, Eye Of The Tiger, Jump and You’re The Voice. Not a body in the room was still, with expectations exceeded and new fans won. The fun was far from over, however; well-loved tracks like Morning Light, Fire Of The Times and Sober were interspersed with heartfelt words of thanks and even the odd Arnie impersonation.

ELLIE HUTCHINSON

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