Vektor | ‘Terminal Redux’
I read a quote recently: ‘Life starts at the edge of your comfort zone’.
Schmaltzy, but true. You can, and should, extend that to heavy metal.
The best stuff is frequently at the edges.
At the outer limits.
That’s where the mind-blowing Vektor have travelled to bring us this categorically fantastic jewel of an album whose prowess and class must be recognised by anyone who thinks themselves a metal fan.
The words on the forum have already summed it up as well as I can. Their talent has been called outrageous, flamboyant, audacious and scintillating, and that just about describes only the first song on this superb album.
Listening this album is what it must have been like hearing ‘Piece Of Time’ for the first spin, or ‘The Key’ – where the listener can only wonder, slack jawed, ‘how?’
‘Charging The Void’ couldn’t be better named, and it careers through all manner of tempos and riffs. What’s amazing this song, and about Vektor, is the insatiable energy.
Just when you think they’ve reached peak intensity in a song, the push the needle even harder into the red.
Where other bands relax into a breakdown, Vektor push it harder, faster, more more more, speeding into warp blastbeats that seem impossible after the speeds before them.
Just listen to that ferocious blast mid way through the opener: white hot intensity, before breaking into a Cynic / Nocturnus / Watchtower groove denouement that is just beautiful. Feel how it writhes and curls before that interstellar speed kicks in again!
And after that some Cynic-esque tribal lady choirs bringing it to the heavens.
Cables Hanging, Sparks Flying
Vocally it’s Nocturnus all the way, with David DiSanto putting in the performance of a career, screeching and hocking up all kinds of alienesque wretching.
It is revelatory stuff the whole way through, recalling the starry metallic majesty of Crimson Glory on so many occasions. In many ways too it’s the heir to Voivod’s ‘Killing Technology’ (look at their logo for goodness sakes) – a journey through frantic, twisted cybernetica with cables hanging and sparks flying.
The musicianship is just off the scale. ‘Cygnus Terminal’ manages to mix Cynic’s warmth (a result of those fat, roomy bass lines) and Destruction style thrash intensity.
Every song is an operetta – every song a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in scale and ambition.
Listen closely, if you can, to the double kick work in ‘Liquid Crystal Disease’. The technicality in it is breathtaking. For while laying down hammer blow after blow of heaviness, there is still space in Blake Anderson’s footwork for quirks and tricks that just leave you giddy.
Then there’s the guitar, which somehow manages to be fluid and staccato at the same time, journeying from one end of the fretboard to the other as rhythm fuses indistinguibly with lead to become one long string of galactic transmission.
There’s jazz in ‘Psychotropia’ with those flam beats, and of course Atheist make their presence felt unquestionably in that regard.
I saw recently that European Space Agency scientist Matt Taylor (working on the Rosetta mission) was enthusing over this album, banging along with it in the lab. Can you believe that!
Well YES is the answer, and what better endorsement could there possibly be from album that sounds like it’s powered by some advanced propulsion technology from a skunkworks project in the Mojave?
Yet the best thing about all of this is that it just kills in plain old songwriting terms as well. Pushing at thrash’s outer limits, it sounds absolutely old school while totally ahead of the curve at the same time, and amid all that they never once lose sight of the Song.
People have been remarking that ‘Terminal Redux’ has got to be an album of the year for 2016. Truly it is hard to see how anything will appear to beat it – and if you’ve any double about that, listen to the pure clamour of the blast in closer ‘Recharching The Void’, a beat so fast it creates its own wind in front of the speaker.
Chordally and melodically brilliant, technically advanced, full of great songs and an enormous joie de vivre, it’s just an essential album. There’s no two ways about it.
It’s a modern classic, and hence MI’s album of the month for May 2016.
5/5 – Earl Grey ::: 10/05/16