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Released: 2016, Earache
Reviewer: Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
How I discovered Vektor’s TERMINAL REDUX is a perfect example of a happy accident: whilst listening to some other band’s new song on YouTube, I became distracted by other tasks around the house and lost track of what was playing. As the band in question was old-skool death metal, I suddenly became surprised that I heard a bizarre choral melody being woven in over a thrashing riff and a zippy blastbeat. I was no longer listening to whom I thought – YouTube had randomly skipped onto another artist, and it was Vektor
I was so intrigued by the eerie, out-of-place-ness of the vocal arrangement I heard that I parked myself in front of my computer and listened to the entire album. About twenty spins later, I can now say that VEKTOR has totally exceeded my expectations for what I thought an American “thrash” metal band is capable of producing. VEKTOR is so much more than ordinary, NWOBHM-style thrash. Rather, they are a blend of prog, thrash and death, all bound together beautifully by a space-opera lyrical concept. While I wasn’t able to make much sense of the story, which involves spaceship battles and much much more, the thematic unity behind the music is so strong that you still feel emotionally bound up in it.
TERMINAL REDUX opens with one of the strongest tracks I’ve heard all year; “Charging the Void” quickly introduces us to Vektor’s extraordinary ability to meld complex thematic riffing, phenomenal drumming, and shrill vocals into a headbanging masterpiece. The song builds layer upon layer of monumental riffs, until we’re introduced to that rare bit of spice that elevates Vektor into legendary status: a minimalist choral background starts weaving itself into a vicious blast beat, creating a gorgeously confusing texture of epic insanity. I’ve never heard anything like it in a metal album, so my hat is off to Vektor for creating something so simultaneously unusual and powerful.
Follow-up track “Cygnus Terminal” has a more epic, drawn-out start, but it beautifully develops into a set of turgid, gripping riffs propelled by choppy drums and the growlier side of frontman David DiSanto. “Liquid Crystal Disease” lets us know just how good Vektor is at crafting compelling music that never gets boring, despite each track’s seven-minute-average length. After a brief instrumental interlude, “Ultimate Artificer” introduces to us a more traditional song structure, but this works out just fine due to the killer chorus which the song is constructed around. The only weak tune on the record is “Collapse,” which tries to be a slow song, including a very mealy-mouthed clean vocal performance from Mr DiSanto. While some interesting riffing develops later on, the drama gets sucked out of the music by his dronish singing. I applaud Vektor for taking a musical risk here, even if it didn’t quite work out. Overall, the various risks taken throughout the record pay off tremendously.
At a distance, TERMINAL REDUX could be experienced as unexceptional. It’s technically considered a thrash album after all. But pay just a little attention to what’s going on, and an incredible soundscape emerges from the void. Vector now has my full attention as one of the best discoveries of the past several years. Do not hesitate to give them a listen!
1. Charging the Void
2. Cygnus Terminal
3. LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease)
4. Mountains Above the Sun
5. Ultimate Artificer
8. Pillars of Sand
10. Recharging the Void
David DiSanto Vocals, Guitar
Erik Nelson Guitar
Frank Chin Bass
Blake Anderson Drums
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