REVIEW: VEKTOR – “Terminal Redux”
Amidst a stagnating world of uninspired drivel that is modern thrash metal came a ray of hope in the form of Vektor. Delicately balancing progressive writing and catchy riffing, the band made a successful foray with ‘Black Future’ in 2009 and release another marvelous album ‘Outer Isolation’ two years later. Five years since then, Vektor returns with ‘Terminal Redux’, an intense and gratifying record.
‘Terminal Redux’ is another stepping stone to Vektor’s path of experimentation and it continues to share the beacon of interesting thrash metal with only a handful of other thrash releases on this side of the turn of the century. There is pace, aggression and memorability in what is the longest album in Vektor’s catalog, standing at 73 minutes. Exploration of other genres, vocal styles and instruments is also observed with satisfying execution, and there is a bit more focus on atmosphere in this album when compared to their previous efforts. The lyrical themes seem to delve into space and mind-altering drugs, among other sci-fi related themes.
The album starts off with sharp riffs in the 9 minute long track “Charging the Void”, with catchy riffs lightly embedded with melody and punctuated by tempo changes and black metal-like blast beats that gets you immensely pumped. What a recipe! “Cygnus Terminal” is another example of excellent riff-stitching that Vektor often does, not a moment would your mind wander from the track. “Liquid Crystal Disease” features more of Vektor’s progressive structures so intricately juxtaposed with belligerence. The devilish black/thrash riffs nearing the end of the track pushes you off the edge, in a good way. “Mountains above the Sun” is a mellow interlude to guide you comfortably into “Ultimate Artificer” (not sure if D&D reference), probably the catchiest track on the album, and very reminiscent of ‘Outer Isolation’.
“Pteropticon” and “Psychotropia” both are quintessential Vektor tracks with fresh riffs studded with fast paced solos and technical drumming. This cannot be any less absorbing. “Pillars of Sand” gallops on with blast beats and frantic albeit calculated guitar work that can put veterans to shame. After this is the point where Vektor actually experiments beyond their earlier music style. The first part of “Collapse” sounds like something off a goth/prog rock record, with clean vocals over a slow tempo melody. Only at the 5 minute mark would you hear any thrash on this track. This is quite a drastic difference from anything heard previously on this record, and is quite a breath of fresh air. No complaints here. The final track on the album “Recharging the Void” is also the longest track on the album, running for over 13 minutes. The track is a summary of the record, with intense drums, cleverly structured riffs, melodic guitar work and some sounds not heard in the album before – especially the female soul vocals encompassing the sound space over the clean vocals of the frontman in the mid-section of the song – that was something else.
Vektor offers everything it always has, and more. From melody, to dark passages, to speedy riffing, Vektor arranges these qualities in a spectacular fashion. Although I am picky when it comes to clean production, it works very well here. It takes some effort and talent to add something new to their palette, and Vektor successful display how to do it here.