Grant The Sun‘s debut album comes six years after the release of their first EP. And it seems like the Norwegian band were biding their time and honing their formula, ready for this explosion onto the progressive metal scene. Mainly sticking to instrumental through the EPs, Voyage also introduces lots more vocals to their sound, with what I’d describe as a heavier and more interesting VOLA being the end result. Having Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah) on their 2019 Sylvain EP certainly looks to have laid the foundations for the band to employ more stabby, gritty guitars, that either ramps up the energy in the track to one hundred or accentuate the well-crafted breakdown riffs dotted throughout the album.
Alongside the traditional meat and bones of a metal band, Grant The Sun employ a heavy synth layer, making me draw comparisons as well to SÂVER, another Norwegian band that lays it on thick with atmospheric electronica. However, Grant The Sun doesn’t quite reach their levels of depravity, despite at times smartly stripping back their sound to accentuate instruments in the same way. “Mariana” is an excellent example of this with the band creating a hybrid progressive post-metal track that perfectly captures the futuristic sounds in both genres.
Whilst I am glad for the guiding paths of vocals in a few tracks, I am glad the band decided to largely keep it instrumental. The clever weaving of tracks they’ve put together would almost be lost underneath a constant layer of words, so it’s a very smart decision to keep them limited. Samples aren’t employed too much in their place either, a pitfall of some recent instrumental albums I’ve listened to. And in these instrumental tracks, you get a wild variation in sound, with some shoegazey elements dropping in, on top of some exceptionally good progressive rock and metal moments, giving you a wide palette of sounds to dig into.
And amongst all of this are some absolutely killer riffs. “Vertigo”, “Seadevil” and “Hits Like a Wave” live up to their names, delivering some jaw-dropping grooves. All get you grooving with well-crafted tones and punchy time signatures. I also like the fact that Grant The Sun didn’t put their best grooves at the beginning of the album and instead packed it with what you might call their more experimental tracks instead. A really bold choice for a debut, and one I think has paid off.
At eight tracks and around 45 minutes, you get plenty of great tunes thrown at you. However, sometimes I will admit to completely zoning out and finding the tracks could blend at times, only to be woken up by the raucous final track to close it out. It’s likely just a matter of my personal preferences, but I feel that there is some kind of magic missing at times.
There is magic in the excellent album cover, that being said. One of the best I’ve seen this year, I love the creativity in the concept itself and the brilliant execution. All in all, the production, songwriting, and delivery of the instruments are killer for those into progressive metal, post-metal, and shoegaze, so do make sure to check out Voyage as soon as possible. I expect Grant The Sun to keep on this exciting path, and deliver even better in future too.