To say I went into this particular album with high expectations would be somewhat of an understatement. Here we have Vektor, labeled as a progressive thrash metal band releasing their third studio album, Terminal Redux. Not only that, they have been releasing demos since 2003. What I’m saying is, the music should be shredding and smart, and these guys should be able to capitalize on over a decade of experience creating music. Unfortunately, Terminal Redux under delivered on its potential.
To be fair, the most glaring issue I have with this album isn’t with the music, per se, but with the sound mixing. If there has ever been an album fall victim to the “loudness war,” Terminal Redux certainly has. I made it through two tracks on my first listen through, a near twenty minute time span, trying to figure out why everything felt so gutless. Yes, the guitars were shredding and the vocals were coming through, but the bass and kicks had no punch. In fact, I spent two minutes of the second track, Cygnus Terminal, trying to decide if there even was a bass guitar in the mix. Finally it occurred to me what was happening, and I dialed the volume up. Way up, in fact, before there was really anything from the low range coming through. Things picked up from there, but only a little. Beyond the sound, the entire album felt over produced. It just didn’t have any kind of resonance with me. No connection. Technically these musicians appear to be incredibly talented, but if there was any heart in the creation of this album, I never felt it.
What I ended up experiencing was essentially a shredding guitar wall of sound. The album hits it’s stride for a few tracks through the middle, beginning with LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease) and going through Pteropticon, but then goes off the rails again, especially once the vocalist decides to try and sing instead of his usual screeching. There was too much going on, but too much of it felt exactly the same, so you end up getting lost in the sound. But not in the good way.
Much to my surprise, this ended up being the first album I’ve selected for this process that I regretted. It was a struggle to listen to multiple times, and the required loudness was no small part of that. I also never got a sense of what has earned Vektor the tag of being a progressive metal band. If anything, they are retro. From their musical style to their very 80’s inspired hairdos. The only trapping of a progressive act that Vektor possesses is having unusually long songs, which in this case just feel meandering and bloated. Well, that and the try hard track names.
Overall Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Favorite Track: LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease)