• Masterpiece in extremis - A review of Vektor's ''Terminal Redux''

    Vektor - Terminal Redux (2016)

    Vektor's third output ''Terminal Redux'' is quite a mixed bag. Overall, it's the band's worst release so far and yet it includes three of the very best songs they have ever written that really save the album at the end.

    The first six songs minus the short instrumental interlude all sound quite alike. The band offers blackened thrash metal with speedy riffs, distorted and dystopian guitar sounds, thunderous rhythm sections and hoarse vocals. This furious mixture works well for a song or two but not for six in a row. The tracks get repetitive, predictable and exhausting. Another issue is the length of several tunes. In certain cases, the band had used all its ideas in the first four or five minutes but stretches the tracks to the double. These tracks are losing momentum and end up being below average songs that waste a lot of potential. The genre and sound are coherent yet the usual creativity and emotionalism are missing.

    Just when I thought that the band was running out of ideas, they come around with an absolutely brilliant closing trio that saves this album. ''Pillars of Sand'' seems to start like a slow and mysterious tune but soon turns into a destructive space metal track that gets progressively faster and heavier. This track has a clearer structure and more coherent development than the songs before and that's why it sounds so efficient. This song feels like the most brutal tune on the album and should please any progressive extreme metal fan.

    ''Collapse'' on the other side is by far the calmest tune on the album. The guitar melodies are appeasing, harmonious and hypnotizing while the floating vocals sound very different from the other tracks and develop a mysterious atmosphere. This song feels like a psychedelic trip through space and never ends up feeling plodding despite a running time far beyond nine minutes. Vektor were always great when they decided to slow down to contrast the madness of their more generic tunes and this is especially true for this emotional highlight that is worth to be discovered over and over again. 

    Still, the closing epic ''Recharging the Void'' beats everything on this album in more than thirteen minutes of atmosphere, creativity and intensity. This is what a dystopian space opera should sound like. This track has more of a mid-tempo pace which makes it sound more balanced and less rushed. The heavy riffs and raw vocals feel even more intense at a smoother pace than at the speed of light. The middle section features female operatic voices and male clean vocals accompanied by a minimal use of rhythm instruments and enchanting guitar melodies. Here the band reaches the brilliance of bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen. This intense middle part leads into a stunning finish where beautiful melodies and epic soundscapes meet poignant extreme metal parts with ferocious riffs and unchained vocals. This fusion of two extremes is absolutely perfect. ''Recharging the Void'' is Vektor's opus magnum so far and establishes the band as the greatest song writers in the progressive extreme metal genre.

    In the end, Vektor save an otherwise extremely underwhelming record in extremis with three unequaled masterpieces that might as well be the best songs this band has written so far. This epic trio is worth purchasing this record alone. If you are looking for a constantly intriguing and technically appealing record with some science-fiction flair, do yourself a favor and listen to Unbeing's outstanding Ceres that might as well be the album of the year.

    Final verdict: 75%

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