Album: Terminal Redux
Label: Earache Records
Vektor is ready with yet another massive affair on their third release, Terminal Redux. Clocking in at seventy-three minutes, it’s a long affair and listening to it enough times to give it a chance is daunting task. Still, considering the attention this album is getting it’s almost important to take a look at Vektor and what they’ve attempted on their newest release.
Vektor are well known for their take on thrash in a very progressive, sci-fi style that feels like a spaceship hurtling through the firmament. While they are unafraid to play at dizzying paces, they are also unafraid to take it slow and vary up their songs, straying from the more driving side of thrash.
On Terminal Redux, Vektor has offered to add even more diversity than usual–they are far more willing to increase their dynamic range and add some very quiet, clean vocal sections alongside choral parts and contemplative riffs that dominate for long periods within the track itself. The whole album has a much more ethereal feel than previously before, and a very spacey vibe.
Vektor are stalwarts of long form songwriting and thus Redux is packed to the brim with riffs to consume, very few of them staying for very long. Vektor’s wide range allows to have multitudes of riffs on top of each other.
Unfortunately, Redux suffers from the exact problems that previous Vektor releases do. Vektor knows how to write riffs and they sure like to do so, but their attitude towards progression and long form inevitably leads to problems. The transitions in-song can be incredibly jarring and thus become a chore to listen to. This is even within the thrash sections. “Charging the Void” starts off with an aggressive, breakneck opener that eventually finds itself in a much more atmospheric thrash section, and the transition is jarring.
It’s a problem I frequently have with Vektor–they can and have written incredible riffs, but due to their tendencies to put a frantic number of them into one song, I often find myself wishing they’d stick to their more memorable ones.
It’s a difficulty with Vektor’s long form songwriting as well–given that they don’t like to repeat their riffs, they are constantly moving and utilizing new riffs and when that goes for seventy-three minutes it’s hard to keep up the quality. Of course, it’s easy to say “write better riffs” but it is possible to work riffs together in a way where they can build off of each other despite their quality. Vektor doesn’t seem to pull that off too well, as I find I stumble into their good riffs rather than being led to them. Their isn’t a lot of natural tension and release, it feels more meandering and haphazard.
Their use of dynamic, softer sections is more of a hit and miss. When it’s good it is quite solid–the transition on “Charging the Void” is great. Sometimes though, it causes the whole track to fall incredibly short, like on “Collapse.”
In short, Vektor needs to sit down and cut the fat. They have proven regularly that they can write some great riffs and songs (“Pteropticon” is an absolute ripper) but listening to Terminal Redux isn’t worth the amount of time it takes to hear it in full.