“Terminal Redux”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Once mighty Earache Records is a pale specter of itself these days. The label that introduced such acts as Napalm Death, Entombed and Carcass barely registers a pulse now and seems to be more interested in hard rock than bone-breaking metal. Yet if the label is to retain one great metal band, it could do no better than Vektor. If one band can save a label, Vektor is that band.

I ran out of words to describe them when I reviewed “Outer Isolation” several years back. What kind of position does that put me in now? Because “Terminal Redux” is their most massive, space-spanning epic yet,an hour plus journey in incredibly dense and mind-warping thrash metal. Vektor remains true to the style they established previously, but they add new twists and turns…some quite shocking…that take them in new directions. It is true that this is the most melodic Vektor yet. But the velocity they play at is possibly even more extreme than before. Every song here is a whirlpool of tempos that change on a dime, shredding guitar solos and unorthodox riffing that nevertheless hangs together tightly. But the melody is present in way it has never been before, including the addition of soulful female vocals and pure proggery on “Collapse” and “Recharging the Void”. Yes, that’s right…a female chorus that sounds like they might have stepped right out of a Tina Turner album shows up now and then. And it works!

The story is so massive, it makes Rush’s “Cygnus X-1” tale seem blunt and crude. I can’t describe it and may not even understand it all, but it all tells the story of a trapped consciousness that frees itself from bondage, gains control of life and death and takes revenge on the culture that imprisoned it. Ultimately, it realizes the futility of vengeance and transcends. I will say no more about it. The music lives up to the concept. Opening tune “Charging the Void” is an incredible odyssey of super speed thrash, with David DiSanto’s ultra-raspy vocals coming at you a mile a minute. There’s some awesome spacy thrash like “Ultimate Artificer” and “Psychotropia” on display…the cohesion and tightness is like Atheist at 10 times the speed. “Pillars of Sand” has one hell of a catchy riff and the bass playing matches the guitar wizardry.
The last two tunes, “Collapse” and “Recharging the Void”, are the most unusual. The first starts as a gentle progressive ballad with soothing vocals and those amazing female voices. It gradually builds in intensity and heaviness. “Recharging the Void” is a mammoth song that sandwiches a lengthy prog section between speed metal bombardments. Some parts of this tune are just plain majestic.

The feeble descriptive abilities I possess are no match for what “Terminal Redux” actually contains. Vektor is one of America’s best metal bands, if not THE best, and they have created something here that will be very hard to surpass. I’m sure they will consider that a challenge!