Vektor reach surpassingly creative heights

“Terminal Redux” secures the band in the future of thrash metal.

Josh Rosen, Writer

There are too many sub-genres of metal — so many one could assume people just make them up on the spot. While a better classification system will probably be necessary for whatever new genres Generation Z creates, for now only one metal subgenre needs your attention: technical thrash metal.

blackened technical thrash metal

Actually, let me rephrase that: blackened technical thrash metal.

As far as blackened technical thrash metal goes, Vektor is the only band anyone needs to know. Their new album, Terminal Redux, is their most textured, nuanced and rewarding release to date.

Technical thrash is not heavy. It is not brutal or violent. It is insanely fast and hyper-technical — maybe that is where it got its name — and constantly changes up riffs, time signatures and musical ideas. To say Vektor plays blackened technical thrash just means there is a fair bit of black metal influence in the mix. As such, Terminal Redux features a thinner production, less power chords and no downtuning.

It can be hard to talk about Vektor without also talking about the state of modern thrash metal. Thrash was the first extreme metal genre to surface in the ‘80s, but it quickly became irrelevant as it evolved into black and death metal mere years after its emergence. Thrash’s first wave came from a variety of ideas and influences, mainly from speed metal and punk rock.

Today, the bands of the movement known as the “new wave of thrash metal” are almost exclusively influenced by the bands of the previous waves of thrash. While this wholly ensures the modern wave produces genuine thrash metal, it has led to pathetic stagnation within the subgenre. When a band only draws influence from Megadeth, Slayer and Testament, it is no surprise they become clones of those bands.

unmistakable sound

Vektor could have easily been a part of that trend. They clearly love Voivod, exemplified by the sci-fi imagery coating their filthy riffs. Yet, Vektor has always transcended the old waves of thrash. The band is no clone. Vektor’s unmistakable sound is punctuated by Dave DiSanto’s piercing cries, and their guitarist’s dizzying technical licks thrown between tempo shifts and truly creative chords.

A single song features more musical ideas than a whole album of a lesser band, but their mastery of melody keeps the listener from getting lost. Vektor’s musical prowess shines on this album without feeling excessive. Longer song lengths give Vektor breathing room, letting their musicality flow in and out of virtuosic guitar solos.

One only needs to hear the opening track, “Charging the Void,” to decide on the appeal of this album. It starts with incredible speed, then changes riff after riff until finally arriving at a melodic section evoking a feeling similar to Deafheaven’sBrought to the Water.” It is a furious 10 minutes that does not feel its length — a comment which could be spread to the album as a whole. For a whopping 70 minutes, this album never becomes a chore to listen to.

Vektor’s constant attention to detail, tight production, and desire to progress as artists makes this their finest album to date. “Terminal Redux” is one of the most important metal releases of 2016 so far. Get on board.

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