The progressive thrash band from Pennsylvania is definitely very ambitious with their concept in their latest album, Terminal Redux. Their two previous full-lengths,Black Future and Outer Isolation, have already established this ambition, and the fact that their logo looks suspiciously similar to (both) Voivod used, fuels the fire. Their latest album is coming out through Earache, and will definitely make many more heads turn their way, and rightfully so, since their work in Terminal Redux is impressive to say the least.
You do not really know what to expect from a prog thrash record. Will this be just a thrash metal album with some added technicality? Will it move more towards a death metal tone similar to Death's later albums? There are just too many options. However, Vektor probably produce the most balanced interpretation of progressive/thrash. A hybrid state, encompassing the aggression, tone and attitude of the '80s thrash metal scene, but at the same time a progressive depth that goes further than mere technical ability.
Vektor are constructing complex structures, defined by an overall concept, since any self-respected prog rock/metal band needs to have a concept surrounding its music, which goes into sci-fi territories. The tone of the album follows this story very nicely, providing the necessary twists and turns to accompany the mood of each part. And, even though the different elements become impressive, with the guitar solos and lead passing through in the blink of an eye, and the rhythm patterns impossible to follow at times, none of these parts are presented just for the sake of them being there. This is a very well worked out record, where each slight lead, each dissonant part, every dual guitar melody, all have their place. And again, like any self-respected prog rock/metal band, they explore different sceneries, awakening different tones with their clean parts, wherever those might appear (standalone tracks, intros, outros, halfway in a track.)
And on equal part their allure to the first thrash metal wave is just insane. From the opening moments of the album, they reveal their true identity, as a relentless thrash fiend, modernizing the retro aesthetic of the genre, and not mindlessly rehashing its best moments. Sharp leads, lighting fast drumming and so much energy and conviction is drawn from this influence. The balance between the progressive and the thrash metal aspect compliment each other perfectly, one feeding off the other and producing a coherent hybrid state.
It is quite a difficult task, and especially consider that Terminal Redux is an album that spans for over seventy minutes, to keep the listener's attention through such an aggressive and complex work. But, the balance between the ferocity of the '80s thrash scene, the off-kilter touch of Voivod, and an ambitious scope not dissimilar to the great '70s prog acts, is astounding.
8.1 / 10
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