When listening to the opening track “Dragon’s Tail” on Void Cruiser’s third album Call of the Void, two questions came to mind. The first is if this band was from Southern California? No, they’re from Finland. The second question is this a reissue of an album released in the mid 90s? The answer is also no. For some reason, Void Cruiser made an album that’s a throwback to 90s alt stadium rock. It’s not an unpleasant album but it is an unsurprising listen.
On Call of the Void, Void Cruiser craft an album of big, radio friendly alternative rock. This isn’t a metal album but it’s definitely on the heavier end of the alt rock spectrum. Guitarists Vili Salo and Antti Kauski-Laulaja play the kinds of hooks, and riffs a listener would want from this type of music. The choruses practically beg you to sing along with them. These songs would fit right into the playlist of any alternative rock radio station. Hearing this album live and with a crowd, would possibly be very comforting.
That’s why this album is bit of a slog in the first half. The band sounds like radio waves from 90s alternative rock radio finally hit Finland. They play with the joy of people who just discovered these sounds as new music. The sonic tricks guitarists Salo and Kauski-Laulaja use on tracks “The Overgrower” and “Happiness” sound like a distillation of every 90s alt rock song ever. The rhythm section of Lassi Tähtinen on bass and Teemu Rantanen on drums rumble like you expect. You half expect vocalist Santeri Salo to start yarling like Eddie Vedder at some point. This isn’t joyless music but it’s not surprising music. It sounds crafted in a way to hit your ears in ways you’ve already heard.
Void Cruiser clearly enjoy the heavier era of the alternative rock spectrum. Bands like Alice In Chains come to mind and this band probably would be a good opener for Queens of the Stone Age. There’s clearly an audience for this but probably one looking for something more comforting than confrontational.