Vexovoid hails from Italy, where bands tend to either be of the brutal/technical death metal variety, or the neoclassical power metal types. Yet the band is, and has been intent on playing sci-fi-themed progressive thrash metal since the start of their career. After 4 years of grinding, the band finally drops their debut full length album, Call of the Starforger. But the question remains – would they be able to come close to the high bar set by legends like Coroner or, more recently, Vektor?
The opening moments of Omega Virus quickly sets the mood and atmosphere of the record, but it is the first riffs that the band unleashes that brings one back to familiar territory. Right from the get-go, I am quickly reminded of the feelings that I had the first time chancing upon Vektor‘s Black Future – still my favourite Vektor record of all time. The entire build up on Omega Virus, which slowly reaches a climax, the riffing style, the guitar tone, are all so reminiscent of the style of Vektor.
Each of the members in the band easily prove their worth, dishing out riff after riff and showing off their songwriting and technical skills with flair. For the most part, Call of the Starforger is a high-octane experience, yet the band never once loses their precision, executing their portions effortlessly. Danny’s shouty/screamy vocals is also rather reminiscent of those on Havok and the likes, giving that aggressive, angry edge to Vexovoid‘s music.
The Vektor comparisons will not end with Vexovoid, and the influences are very clear throughout the record – something that I’m not, and will not complain about. Songs like Galaxy’s Echoes where the band goes into a quiet, reflective mood before letting all hell break loose all point towards Vektor. Heck, even the production quality on the album is rather similar to those of Vektor.
That said, the band does put their own unique touch in the music though with the inclusion of sound effects to emphasise that recurring sci-fi theme in their music, as well as the influence it has had on their songwriting and playing. There are moments like on Quantic Rapture or Galaxy’s Echoes where there are haunting, erm, cosmic (?), sound effects that do provide an added atmospheric element.
Vektor‘s last release Terminal Redux may have shown the growth of the band, but nothing would have beaten the material on Black Future. It is with great joy then to discover Vexovoid, and Call of the Starforger acts as a good throwback to my early discover of progressive thrash. Certainly an early favourite of the year.