Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Despite being formed all the way back in 1998, Vex‘s releases have been rather sporadic, with their debut album coming in only 12 years after their formation with 2010′s Thanatopsis, which gained pretty good response. This year sees the band coming back once more 3 years after their debut with the follow up, Memorious.
The simple album artwork easily leaves one mistaking this for another atmospheric or ambient black metal album, and the opening notes of Terra Soar certainly seems to suggest so as well with the clean guitars and the subsequent viking/folk inspired riffing. But what Vex has put in place for listeners on Memorious is far more brutal and intense than one might expect on first impressions. The drum tone, especially the snare, is what probably catches one’s attention first, and that, along with the drumming style of Owen certainly helps to give Vex a unique appeal with a slight pagan metal touch with the epic feel that the drumming sometimes emanates. The riffs of Mike and Ciaran also help to reinforce this majestic element, with the trem picked segments and the lead guitars on the album often giving off such a pagan metal melody as well, at times even resembling bands like Amon Amarth with their viking theme and melodies like on the starting moments of Carve My Eyes, though much rawer in production and darker in songwriting here. And this definitely suits well with the brand of death metal that the band plays, giving them a special characteristic that many other bands nowadays lack to stand out from the sea of extreme metal bands.
Apart from the obvious versatility in the band’s playing of their instruments on the album, the material on Memorious also display their songwriting abilities. Elements from different genres come together and the band makes sure that these moments do not sound awkward when transiting from one style to another, and the ability for these to all mash together in Vex‘s musical style definitely says something about their musical sense as well, all the while ensuring that the music remains catchy yet heavy as hell. Astride a Grave also display a slightly different side of the band, with that 1 minute long instrumental interlude showing the band’s melodic side, and the clean singing on songs like Spectral Nation, though having a rather “alternative metal” feel, helps to reinforce the atmosphere in the music.
Certainly, Vex has lived up to expectations in naming their album as such, with the fusion of melody, darkness and brutality on Memorious certainly leaving a lasting, and memorably impression.