The Vintage Caravan – Voyage
The Vintage Caravan – Voyage (2014)
Written by Mark Nagy
The Vintage Caravan is an Icelandic power trio whose members are collectively young enough that their parents probably don’t even remember when Black Sabbath and Deep Purple ruled the music world. Despite spending their teenage years in a time when the likes of Guns N Roses and Nirvana were creeping onto classic rock radio stations, The Vintage Caravan has crafted an absolutely wondrous call back to the early years of heavy metal and psychedelic blues rock. I’ve actually seen in the last few years: a good number of these kind of bands get signed to Nuclear Blast and other large metal labels. Far be it from me to explain why, what is commonly known as stoner rock, is coming back into fashion after it’s early 90s ‘golden era’, but perhaps the cycle of fashion has finally brought us back to something that’s retro and actually worth listening to.
So like I said, The Vintage Caravan is unashamedly retro-rock. In particular, I’d compare them to very early Black Sabbath and Hawkwind, as well as some Judas Priest action. In genre terms, that’s blues-tinged doom metal-meets-psychedelic hard rock that’s pretty much uptempo the whole way through. These are fuzzy, riff heavy guitars, and music that is completely saturated in charisma and attitude.
Outside of their 70s calling card of influences, which go far beyond just the four bands I named above, there are a couple of things that make The Vintage Caravan relevant to the modern scene. There’s a lot of great interplay between the guitar riffs and drum fills, which leads to a very active musical experience. The drums are actually some of the best I’ve heard on a more traditional metal record in quite some time, functioning as much as a melodic instrument as they do to hold down the tempo and rhythm of the song.
Still, this is a hugely derivative album. Your enjoyment of what already exists from classic metal will directly influence whether or not you appreciate what The Vintage Caravan has to offer. The lyrics are really, really cheesy too. Especially on “M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T.”, where the band is singing about pop culture that predates them by decades, and I can’t say I really buy into that part of their ethos. For a fist-pumping, head banging throwback to a bygone era, Voyage is the record for you, but for intellectually engaging, unique, or innovative heavy metal, it’s still best to find satisfaction elsewhere.
3.5 // 5