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Vektor - Terminal Redux CD (album) cover

TERMINAL REDUX

Vektor

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.92 | 113 ratings

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Necrotica
Prog Reviewer
5 stars To many, Vektor are essentially carrying the torch of modern thrash metal. It's a completely understandable claim; the band have released three albums thus far, and each one of them has received a ridiculous amount of praise. The skeptics may deem the group a smidgen too reminiscent of Voivod, but I'd argue that the whole "progressive- thrash" concept is where that similarity begins and ends. Sure, there's the space theme as well, but both bands deal with that idea in different ways. Whereas Voivod's music is much more based around panic and confusion, Vektor take a more expansive and otherworldly approach to their atmosphere. That, and raspy black metal-esque vocals add a layer of extreme metal aesthetics to the prog-thrash core of their sound. Either way, whatever you may classify them as, Vektor is basically one of the most acclaimed thrash bands in years. So after Black Future and Outer Isolation, it seemed like they couldn't take their sound any further, as well as the quality of their music.

I was dead wrong.

Terminal Redux feels like the musical equivalent of being lost in space and feeling insignificant to every star and planet around you. There's not only an overarching darkness to the record, but such a strangely attractive beauty to it all. This is, of course, despite the amount of intense distortion and fast tempos you'd typically expect in Vektor's chosen genre. While the beginning of "Charging the Void" suggests a frantic atmosphere to the following album, it's soon realized that the band are especially keen on inserting moments that let the listener breathe and take in the majesty of the instrumental work. The highly melodic and catchy interlude "Mountains Above the Sun" is a perfect depiction of this, bringing a mellow respite (until the end of the track, at least) after three intense bangers. Speaking of those, I don't think I've heard such a strong three opening tracks in a long time. "Charging the Void" immediately strikes with countless inventive thrash riffs, and before you know it, by the end of the song you're hearing a goddamn choir singing along with David DiSanto's shrieks. It's all brought together by an overall song structure that's highly progressive while maintaining a headbang-worthy slew of riffs. "Cygnus Terminal" keeps up with the standard of quality with a beautiful clean-guitar introduction and a few moments that somewhat borrow from jazz fusion due to the guitar chords, while "LCD" has an exceptional finger-tapped guitar motif that's both technically impressive and appropriately spacey. One of the most remarkable things about Terminal Redux is that it never really dips in quality? and it's 73 minutes long! Quite an astounding feat.

A big part of the album's appeal is that, with every track, an interesting story is unfolding through David's dense and complex lyrics. I haven't been able to fully grasp the entirety of the tale, and the band haven't totally explained it as of yet, but this is what I get from it: an individual comes to rule the Cygnus regime after rising to power because he found a supposed method to attaining immortality. However, considering some of the lines DiSanto delivers, the character's views are likely controversial, most notably on "LCD" with lines like, "have them screened/we feed off their disease." Regardless, the way the story is combined with such compelling instrumentation and vocals makes for a record that's simply addicting to listen to. This is especially true of faster-paced songs like "Ultimate Artificer" and "Pillars of Sand," which generate a sound more akin to classic 80s technical thrash while retaining the rest of the album's songwriting complexity. Also, despite the tightness of the instrumental work, there's a hint of irreverence once in a while; the climactic solo in the middle of "Pteropticon" combines classical elements with a touch of seemingly random dissonance, tapping into something more chaotic. This is one album that's incredibly entertaining to listen to while reading the lyric booklet, if mostly to see how each stanza works in conjunction with the musical accompaniment. Of course, I can't forget the other musicians alongside David DiSanto who make all of this possible. Erik Nelson blends with DiSanto effortlessly, and brings some experimental and even jazzy guitar leads to many of the tunes; the rhythm section of Frank Chin and Blake Anderson is also to be admired, particularly on the faster tracks which require a ton of stamina and intricacy to nail.

Everything eventually wraps up with the mindblowing closer "Recharging the Void," a 13-minute epic that pulls together everything the album tried (and succeeded) to accomplish. The story started by "Charging the Void" comes full circle with many musical and lyrical nods to that very track. One of which is the melodic portion with the choir returning, but it's been expanded to a full ballad portion with DiSanto showing off a beautifully calm vocal performance; in it, he sings: "All we ask is our story told." Well the band's story has been told. It was told in a 73- minute-long masterpiece, a sci-fi tale that's gorgeous and compelling while being complex and brutal. I usually don't hand out a perfect score to such new releases, but it's the only score I can imagine lending to Terminal Redux. There's not a single dud here, the story is exceptionally well-delivered and well-paced, and every musician is on- point. This, my friends, is a modern metal classic.

Necrotica | 5/5 |

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