(Austin Weber turns in this review of the new album by Vektor.)
Formerly Arizona-based, now Philly-based prog thrash unit Vektor are an interesting sonic experiment, akin to fellow modern thrashers Revocation as far as taking thrash roots mixed with some progressive death metal influences (and beyond) and creating something new and breathtaking. Their first two releases, Black Future and Outer Isolation, showed a group hungry to prove their mettle in an already crowded re-thrash oriented scene and movement. From those initial sparks of brilliance, Vektor have truly become something even greater this time around with Terminal Redux.
Taken as a whole, Terminal Redux is far more than merely more of the same by the group. In many ways, it’s an evolution on all fronts, from the ever more complex and dense songwriting, to the smattering of vocal experimentation — rich female backing vocals on “Charging The Void”, Dave’s somber clean singing on “Collapse”, and the combo one-two punch of both new vocal elements united on album closer “Re-charging The Void” — to the increasingly mind-boggling rhythm and lead guitarwork that shatter preconceived thrash territory throughout the album.
But beyond Terminal Redux showcasing a group hungry to reclaim their place as one of merely a few modern thrash-focused, god-tier bands, it is a challenging and inspired effort, one not easily unlocked by simply a few spins through its meaty, 70-minute-plus depths.
Nay, this record is both a grower and a truly epic experience, one that draws strength and diversity through its cascading delivery of shifting moods and styles from song to song and moment to moment, bringing to the table a strong prog-oriented mindset behind their thrashing rifftastic bliss. Vektor always seem to know just when to switch things up, to keep it fresh and give each song its own signature feel and identity. I can listen to Terminal Redux all day and never feel like skipping a song on it. This is truly one of those great bombastic musical experiences that’s high-minded art, yet never hollow or soulless feeling while attempting to accomplish something grandiose and moving.
The spirit of the re-thrash movement has far too often felt like a calculated exercise in meticulously attempting to merely copy the past, instead of choosing to glean its best characteristics and elements in order to create something forward-thinking rather than what is often essentially retro-guided hero worship. Yet again, the music Vektor create belongs in a class of its own, avoiding the pitfalls of all their peers and forging a unique sound and style that deserves to be highly lauded in its own right.
Terminal Redux is a haunting experience, one that offers more than fist-pumping aggression, giving equal weight to delivering an emotionally charged, soulful journey with a striking beautiful core that helps make the album the multi-dimensional experience it is. Will you charge the void with us?