It took a lot of consideration to write this particular review. Not because there was any doubt about the quality of this amazing underground release but because I missed the opportunity of its timely presentation and critique. However, OCEAN’S EDGE debut has been one of the finest independent albums of 2023 and I decided that although almost eight months have passed since its release, “The Voyager” deserved a place in Forgotten Scroll’s pages; so, here we are, better late than never!
OCEAN’S EDGE were born when bassist and main songwriter Manos Sideris, guitarist John Aktypis and keyboardist Panos Haritidis met through an online ad in 2017 – it’s worth noting that founding member, John Aktypis, appears in the album with a guest solo in “Sacrifice” and has also provided the lyrics for “Atlas”. It took the band six whole years and lots of changes in their line-up, until they finally managed to bring out their first album and it proved to be an INCREDIBLE one!
After “Passage”, a sweet one-minute intro where anyone can immediately witness the greatness of Manos Xanthakis’ vocals, the opening track, “Fragile” busts in, full of melody and power, with all the DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X influences beautifully expressed. “Sacrifice” and “Supernatural” that follow are true displays of masterful musicianship and delightful arrangement and – HAKEN and AYREON are also brought to mind, as progressiveness is perfectly combined with mellowness.
And then, comes “Waterfall”, my favorite track in the album. Yes, it did make me think of IRON MAIDEN’s lately sophisticated sound but only party; mind you, it’s just a hook! For the song is PURE PROG EXCELLENCE, with Panagiotis Haritidis doing some wonderful job on keyboards.
Title track “The Voyager”, is a short -quite interesting- ambient interlude which leads us to “Stream of Souls” and “Atlas”, two literally EPIC anthems, both running over ten minutes, ABSOLUTELY GREAT compositions in all aspects! Manos Sideris (bass) and Xristos Palamidas (drums) offer a remarkably solid and inspired rhythm section, an ideal base for Constantinos Mavrogiannis to showcase his genius on guitar playing. The very ending of “Atlas”, with the piano and the natural sound of wind blowing, is magical, giving an ethereal sensation of completion.
The experience of listening to “The Voyager” reaches to such emotional range and depth that is really rare, even for progressive outstanding albums. I have to admit that the almighty RUSH came to my mind a couple of times throughout the tracklist and THAT alone is enough evidence for the MUSICAL MAJESTY of this debut – I relished every moment of it!
OCEAN’S EDGE decided to self-release it and hopefully, a label that really appreciates their music will call for signing soon – SOONER that it took me to review it, I would add!
“The Voyager” was released digitally on May 1st 2023 and shortly after on limited private edition CD.
Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.
You can order the CD here.