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Album Review: Void Cruiser – Wayfarer

From Void Cruiser’s name to their artwork and band member titles, it seems their second full-length album, Wayfarer, is poised to be seen as a fairly typical heavy space rock release. This notion is further reinforced on the opening instrumental “A Day On Which No Man Was Born,” which blends hazy production with fuzzy instrumentation and a brief space sample toward the end. But a completely different set of influences pops up once you get into the meat of the album.

Once you peel away that hazy production and space aesthetic, Void Cruiser is actually pretty close to the more metal side of grunge. It initially pops up in the Layne Staley meets Phil Anselmo vocal approach that is heard throughout, but becomes much more apparent on “Madonnas and Whores,” a song that sounds like something Soundgarden would’ve put together with a nasty guitar tone and brilliantly biting lyrics to match.

From there, the album does prove to be a pretty varied effort. While “Seven Years Late” exercises tempo changes that range from tranquil melodicism to a faster paced climax, “All Over Nowhere” proves to be the most aggressive track due to its especially bottom heavy riff, driving tempo, and venomous vocals. Things then close out with the ten minute “Maailman Kallein Kaupunki,” as Void Cruiser returns to a psychedelic template while reminding us of their Finnish roots.

Overall, Void Cruiser’s second album is a solid effort, though one whose variety may be connected to a band still trying to find its sound. It seems like the band may be conflicted between the space rock aesthetics and its more accessible influences, though a cleaner production job may have given this material more strength to stand out. Either way, I’d strongly encourage giving “Madonnas and Whores” and seeing how you feel about the rest of it.

Highlights:
“Madonnas and Whores”
“Maailman Kallein Kaupunki”

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