Viking's Choice: Vektor, 'Charging The Void'
Flashing a giddy smile under a curly mop of hair, Vektor's David DiSanto took a moment to praise his heroes and tourmates at a recent show at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.: "This is our dream to play with Voivod." It was fun to witness the guitarist and vocalist geek out on one of Vektor's main inspirations to make catchy-yet-technical, sci-fi-influenced thrash metal. But after 12 years and a move from Tempe to Philly, Vektor is poised to reshape thrash with its third album, Terminal Redux. Here's the thrilling opening track, "Charging The Void."
Vektor was already making moves into highly composed metal with 2011's Outer Isolation, taking notes from Atheist and latter-day Death. But the galactic concept behind Terminal Redux has renewed the protagonist's (and the band's) purpose, DiSanto writes in an email to NPR:
"Charging The Void" is the first track of the album and sets the scene for the story that follows. It begins with the lone astronaut from Outer Isolation, who is actually an Isolation test subject. He overrides the autopilot and is compelled to go forth on his own and search for his purpose. Years in isolation have twisted his mind, and he teeters between insanity and vengeance. His travels bring him to the now-exploded star, Alshain. Within the stellar nebula, he finds a life-giving molecule that revitalizes him and extends his life. With an entire haul of the newfound molecule, he believes he's found his purpose. He has an epiphany about life and death and decides to bring his life-giving molecule and his new way of understanding to the Cygnus Regime.
There are many hidden meanings in the song that relate to balance, power, and life and death, so keep an ear out!
If you didn't follow all of that, that's okay, because "Charging The Void" is just as complex. Classic thrash riffs at breakneck speed alternate with frenetic but celestial Rush-ian passages, while DiSanto and Erik Nelson don't trade guitar solos so much as transmit ecstatic and melodic waves in six strings. And there's the WTF introduction of Philly-based soul singers Naeemah Z. Maddox and RoseMary Fiki at the lyrical climax — "Relic Alshain / Oh, Shahin-i-tarazu, now my flesh is born new" — leading us in some kind of deep-space choral hymn. This music actually sounds like it's from the future.
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