Review: Vektor – Terminal Redux 9.4

  • Vektor
  • Terminal Redux
  • 2016
  • Progressive Trash Metal/Black metal
  • USA
  • 9.4/10

Bandcamp

This band is fucking awesome and they may have an album coming out this year to follow up this 2016 LP. Progressive thrash metal is a rare genre that requires a lot of musicianship to execute well. Vektor not only fulfill the thrash promise but they do so while ditching the usual thrash themes and lyrics of religion, politics or bravado. Instead went the way of prog science fiction themes. Perhaps not original but it’s super effective against me as a massive fan of Crimson by Edge Of Sanity and the only Gojira album I like, From Mars To Sirus. Science fiction and prog metal is an iconic combination, like Tolkien and fantasy is to black metal. A lot of the time bands don’t live up to the album art – as I’ve learned by repeatedly trying albums based on their album art alone – but Terminal Redux will not disappoint.

This is my favorite kind of presentation on a metal album. A sweet ass relevant album art, 100+minutes of prog thrash with meaningful tracks and a scifi theme. This appeals to me in every way. It keeps an engaging pace that doesn’t get old by the last track, it’s always surprise to me when the album ends. The tracks aren’t gimmicky or faux intros/outros which I’m always happy to see. There is one short instrumental track but it’s the acceptable kind like Death‘s Voice Of The Soul or the many Opeth instrumentals. It’s still a nice piece of music. The final track is a big ol’ 14 minute titan but it doesn’t do that annoying thing where the last 6 minutes are just noises or silence entirely. It’s a song through and through, again comparable to the work of Deafheaven with it’s post-metal inclinations. It’s a plump CD with a lot of decent content, it’s one to buy a physical copy of for sure.

The vocals are interesting to say the least. During the first track I was turned into a faithful follower just by that high pitched gurgle that sounds like the off screen death of a Star Wars alien. This thankfully is on most of the tracks but sometimes it feels too unnatural, like it’s masked with an inhuman effect quality. It’s kind of like if Dani Filth had his mouth full of water while screaming. If you knew how much I like Cradle Of Filth then you will know this is not a criticism. The general vocals are more straightforward old school black metal influenced, the root of most extreme thrash. We’ve got vibes of Venom and Marduk. It’s good to have that little signature sound or technique, it really helps separate a vocalist from the rest of the scene and it’s not a choice that effects the vocals across the whole record. So even if you don’t like it you can overlook it.

The guitar work is spot on, it fits like a glove. The craft at hand here is immense, this is fast and technical and yet often leans into pure melody. There’s great control and pace to the music that uses the forward galloping tropes of Megadeth and related bands but at the same time adds so much nuance into the actual riff. There’s a familiar base sound that’s constantly manipulated and varied, it feels alive, aware. Most of their influences seem to lie in old school metal but they are a modern band and bring a modern sound that allows the two styles to interact rather than one overshadowing the other. It doesn’t sound like an homage and it doesn’t sound outdated. It’s has a signature sound that feels fresh. The guitar tones are really right and do well to smooth over the prog and thrash elements. An interesting note is that since this release, everyone has left the band except for the guitarist and vocalist. They are also supposedly releasing an album this year, 2019. It makes sense these two would remain as they are the two defining sounds of the band, I think they could get in some more quality rhythm people and make something as good, if not better than Terminal Redux. I also hope the drummer they get has a similarly decent sense of timing or that could be a big loss.

The riff play during LCD is so good. It bounces around dangerously with a crisp but biting pedal tone. It’s not even a standout track as that’s a difficult thing to assess with this level of consistency.

 

 

“The album’s lyrics are a sci-fi story about an astronaut finding the key to immortality and using it to gain vast political and financial power, but eventually experiencing an existential crisis as a result” – Wiki

I like this theme a lot because it’s a story that focuses on the human condition and uses futuristic themes and settings to communicate ideals relevant to present day. It’s a character arc rather than a lazy concept album, as we so often see from metal bands. Stuff like the general concept being anti-religion or about masculinity in some way, these are loose af “concepts” that act more as branding than anything else and half the time are just a collection of tracks that happen to have a similar message. What I crave and what has been provided for me here is an actual story that develops over the course of a listen. Both from lyrical content and from the music. It makes the album feel unified. Plus, it’s straight up creative and psychedelic.

This one’s for the metal geeks so check it out.

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