Review: Vektor – Terminal Redux

The hype ship has entered Earth’s atmosphere and is headed for impact… but will it survive the crash?

A Long, Long Time Ago (2010)

I vividly remember the first time I heard Vektor, on a cold January night some six years ago. I was surfing youtube for music and stumbled upon a review of an album called Black Future. It sounded promising (and the cover was really cool), so I checked out a song called “Forests of Legend”. Ten minutes later I sat there dumbfounded, the hairs on my arms raised with no intention of returning to their original state. Since then, Vektor have been in my regular rotation: Black Future was a part of the soundtrack to a young Moshito’s SAT studying sessions; its follow-up Outer Isolation was there for me during a particularly brutal first semester of college; I had the privilege of seeing Vektor’s first ever show in Europe and even meeting vocalist/mad scientist David DiSanto afterwards… I’ll try for this review to be as objective as I can make it, but the point I’m trying to put across here is: Vektor are one of my favorite bands in the Universe, so please excuse if my giddy excitement comes through too much.

Present Day

After five long years, Vektor are finally back with their third effort, Terminal Redux. The band has always been extremely unique, and it’s about time they’re getting more recognition from the metal world. But hype is like a sword with no hilt: with everyone praising this album into Oblivion (pun intended), I was a bit worried that I might be underwhelmed. With that in mind, I waited a few days until I was absolutely sure I’d have an hour and a half or so to spare so I could give the album the attention it deserved without interruptions. What follows is an unedited and unfiltered account of what went though my mind during said first listen. Proceed at your own risk…

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A few tracks in on my very first listen, Terminal Redux seems like it’s closer to resembling Black Future’s atmosphere than Outer Isolation was, which already has me pumped for more. The one thing that grabbed me about Vektor when I first heard them was their ability to make me stop whatever I was doing via spectrum-filling, grandiose blackened chord-driven passages… and then jump into straight up thrash riffs played at top speeds with jaw-dropping, startling precision; the transition from “Cygnus Terminal” to “LCD” is just that. Maybe it’s because I already heard it before, but opener “Charging the Void” starts out kind of slow and drags a bit towards the end… aaaand the riff over the double bass and blast beat parts five minutes into “LCD” break my neck without so much as asking for permission. Well done boys, amazing start.

“Mountains Above the Sun” is a bit… huh. But it leads into “Ultimate Artificer”, which I already know rules after months of jamming it in anticipation. At this point I remember why I love Blake Anderson’s drumming: tight and precise with juuuuuust a bit of groove and cool fills that stop the drums from sinking into the background and being buried under the relentless complexity and in-your-face nature of the guitars. “Pteropticon”’s abundance of tremolo-picking cements this notion: David DiSanto and Erik Nelson’s in-sync but slightly different way of playing certain riffs really makes for a cool, distinct sound that’s a welcome departure from the perfect, copy-pasted tracks that a lot of modern metal tends to employ. And… a breakdown?!!?!??? One that works? Wow, A+++. “Psychotropia” kicks in with more of a midpaced groove and an emphasis on, again, building on the melodies the guitars provide, with DiSanto’s trademark pterodactyl-like vocals soaring over it all. And off on an insane fast part again featuring A DIRTY BASS SOLO by one mister Frank Chin, trading off lead spots with the guitars, followed by more amazing riffs. Damn, this album is really relentless, I feel tired and I still have the last third to go.

Next up: “Pillars of Sand”. This one’s been out for a while, but I decided to hold out on listening to it to not spoil too much for myself. Blast beats over huge chords… Vektor nailing it, again. Switch into a ternary part with dual guitar harmonies and the bass complementing them with fills… hairs standing up again… yeah this is pretty great. I’m running out of words to describe greatness here, help. And just when I thought it wasn’t going to be surprised anymore… “Collapse” starts with clean vocals. As someone had already told me, it’s very reminiscent of Testament at their ballady-est. I don’t know if the vocals do it for me, honestly. The rest of the song seems fine; it’s a nice change of pace to something more subdued after so much intensity. Then there’s a dual guitar lead in the latter half of the song that does it even less for me than the vocals. It picks up during the last few minutes (of a total of nine). And there’s the guitar lead again… this track is a solid hmmm on first listen. And so we arrive at “Recharging the Void”, which is almost fourteen minutes long and smells of epicness in just the first few. Catchy riffs and leads to melt faces are followed by a quieter middle section complete with a (gospel?) choir and more clean vocals, that seem to work better here. And this all leads to yet another hair-raising open chord progression that shifts to the main F-power-chord motif that ties this track and “Charging the Void” together, and then straight into blast beats and blackened chord madness, then a thrash beat with a tremolo riff and the choir behind it… damn. I need a nap to process all this.

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After resting my (cosmic) cortex, I’m ready to type out my verdict. Terminal Redux is EXTREMELY dense; it is also nothing short of incredible. This is hands down Vektor’s most ambitious release to date, bar none. It’s got tons of the atmosphere that made me fall in love with Black Future AND some of the awesome, catchy riffs that Outer Isolation showcased in a more straightforward fashion, but at the same time it’s an entirely separate entity. Sure, in my mind Vektor will never make another album like Black Future, but when we get music like the one contained in Terminal Redux, why on Earth would I want that? I’m glad that one of my favorite bands keeps pushing their musical boundaries and making records that are different from each other but still sound unmistakably unique… even if some of the elements don’t quite fall into place. At this point, Vektor’s future is far from black.

TL;DR: Vektor are good and you should listen to them if you haven’t already (WHY HAVEN’T YOU?!???!??). Get Terminal Redux here. Mosh, out.

4 1/2 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

NEW_TOILETSCALE_4-5_of_5

  • Dubs

    I have been blown away by the album. Good review.

    On an unrelated note, for some reason, the art keeps reminding me of the space marlin ship from Contrarian’s album, even though they don’t really look similar.

    http://www.revolvermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/COVR-1024×1024.jpg

    • Mosh Hoff

      It’s a lot more similar to the ship on the one Nocturnus album. Thresholds, I think.

      • Dubs

        Yah, they don’t really look similar, but the association is there in my mind for some reason.

        Re: Nocturnus, u rite

        https://i.ytimg.com/vi/hVwtC8X7NC4/maxresdefault.jpg

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Obligatory: Nocturnus>>>>>

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Great band with a sad history.

          • Sucks that they had total shit sound when I saw them. They played tight, but goddamn was their sound terrible.

          • Dubs

            There’s a venue here that makes every band sound like butt.

          • Wow. That’s a damn shame. Sorry to hear.

          • Dubs

            I haven’t been to a concert there in years. It just got the reputation of always sounding like garbage.

          • sweetooth0

            I just get extra drunk and it makes it matter much less.

          • Dubs

            I can attest to the fact that being hammered makes unbearable concerts bearable.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            I saw Machine Head with Trivium on The Blackening tour. The sound in the venue was so crap after hearing the first Trivium song that I just went to the bar out the back and got hammered with my mates and didn’t even bother to watch Machine Head. Or maybe it was just Trivium.

          • sweetooth0

            with enough beer, simply loud becomes perfectly acceptable, even if it sounds like ass

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Can’t really think of any shows I’ve been to where the sound sucks, or at least to the point I noticed it. I always stuck to places like Park West, Bottom Lounge, Chicago Theater (saw Craig Ferguson and Sigur Ros there), places like that.
            Well, thinking back, the audio at the Pearl Room was pretty clunky when I saw Gamma Ray and Helloween. One of many reasons that place didn’t last long.

          • sweetooth0

            The metal venue in Saskatoon for a while was a basement dive bar that had some of the worst sound ever. Still, I have many fond memories and saw many good shows there regardless.

          • sweetooth0

            we’re talking can’t hear the PA at all if close to the stage, constant agressive hum from all electronics, feedback galore, PA constantly getting blown, etc

          • Joaquin Stick

            I went to school down in Normal, and the theater there blows so hard when it comes to sound. Never make the trip down there for a show.

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Lol, Illinois sucks outside of Chicago! Outside of Chicago, the Midwest sucks in general.

        • Sploopy Thunderplop
    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      I love that space marlin.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Great work Mosh. You pointed out some interesting things I missed on my first two listens, so I will have to gladly go back. This album will make my top 10 this year.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      *top 5

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Charging The Void, Ptero.. petro… con and Psychotropia are some of the best Vektro tracks ever, the ballad might be the worst (I liked Mountains…).
    Great album but also a serious information overload.

  • Here’s my comprehensive review of Terminal Redux:

    This album destroys.

    • RustyShackleford

      JAG 2016!!!

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        WAYNECRO’16

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Damn, i need to catch up.

  • I’ve seen a lot of praise for this album this week.

  • MoshOff, i love the style of this review. well done sir, you have re-invigorated my interest in the band. (was a casul fan years ago)

    • Dubs

      I liked the previous albums but thought the execution lagged behind the ideas. This album is way better than those and finally shows what this band is really capable of.

      • Mosh Hoff

        You are wrong, but you are also the president.

        • Dubs

          Keep up that lip and I’ll build a wall in the Atlantic to keep you out.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Good work MoshMan! Excellent review.

  • Waynecro

    Really excellent review, man. Thanks very much!

  • Sploopy Thunderplop

    Kickass review! I’ve only heard the one track that Dubs showed me a few days ago (I think it was him that sent it to me), and liked it. Gonna check out these tracks a little later tonight, after my power nap.

  • RustyShackleford

    Great review Mosh! I dig the intro and the way you go through the album. I’ve only been able to jam this album in passing and haven’t been able to really sit down with it, but it is obviously bangin’. Yep!

  • Vektor does some cool stuff and theres good riffs in there (as usual). Ive never dug into them a lot but it def aint bad.

    • they are a riffman’s band. this comes with good and bad attributes. i think you’re like me: you need more than meaty riffs to chew on. most thrash bands have the riffs in spades, but each song structure is p damn similar. Vektor finds a good middle-ground.
      so….. if you wanna make out or whatever, i’m game

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Still good enough to pull you in however…

        • for sure. their longer songs and extended jam sessions (h/t Wesley Willis) make them more palatable to the thrash casual like myself

      • i think this is fairly accurate. im more about feels than riffs, tbh.

      • also, we can make out.

  • sweetooth0

    Just finished listening to this an hour or so ago (with that Live Altar of Plagues in between). Good shit, like I said on the book of face, shouldn’t have slept on these guys!

    • Dubs

      What’d you think of the Altar of Plagues live album?

      • sweetooth0

        KILLER

  • Ayreonaut

    Cool, vektor rocks, I’m pumped to give this a listen!

  • Sploopy Thunderplop

    Yowza, this is good! Tricky, complex, but not wankery at the same time. Very well done!

  • TomWarriorsBeanie

    Great review, I’ve loved Vektor for a long time as well, I’m looking forward to giving this a complete listen.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Your name is phenomenal! One fo my favorites.

      Listend to To Mega Therion earlier today.

      • (you know you’re talking to a beanie right?)

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Yes, i realise that now.

      • TomWarriorsBeanie

        Hahaha thanks! I’ve been digging through the “Parched with Thirst…” comp lately. I think we all owe the material from Vanity/Nemesis a fresh listen.

    • Dubs

      Hey man, long no time no see.

      • TomWarriorsBeanie

        I was dealing with the double whammy of not having my own computer plus not remembering my disqus login. That mystery was never solved, this is a new account lol.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    Great album, great review. Well done all round.

  • Spear

    This album is amazing, very likely to be my AotY.

  • Eliza

    I love this album more than any other modern thrash album. I guess that says something. It’s really great.

  • Count_Breznak
  • Holy fuck, Moshitoff, this albums RIPS ALL THE FUCKING MALANDROS EVER.

    Great review, man!!!