Vektor @ The Star & Garter
The audience is taken through a labyrinthine network of brutal riffage that’s akin to a roller coaster ride down Satan’s poo-hole
Wednesday. Who the fuck goes to a gig on a Wednesday night and gets beer’d up after 3 days spent getting ruined at Bloodstock festival? My mate Dave does. But not just Dave. On this hot August evening the legendary Star & Garter is rammed with young (and old) Manc thrashers, whose dedication to music and alcohol poisoning is to be applauded.
By the time I arrive, Aggressive Perfector are rounding off their set of nasty thrash battery to the approval of a gathering throng. This three-piece have an irresistible modern take on early Slayer madness and their manic power riffing is tightly executed and blasted out with pure venomous intent. Shite-hot.
I love Exxxekutioner. I’ve seen them a few times before, but tonight I wasn’t prepared for the confidence and maturity of their performance this evening. Maybe securing a prestigious support slot with Exodus last year has given them a boost or maybe they are just naturally getting better at their craft but either way they took the stage with a force that belies their obvious youth. Bassist Ryan Coucill is in the crowd’s face from the start, urging chaos as dirty, thrash mayhem spews from the PA and it’s easy to see why this Salford foursome have become a great addition to any Manchester gig line-up. Great stuff!
Taking the stage next are self-proclaimed sci-fi death metal assault squad, Cryptic Shift. These are another band I saw last year and was impressed with. They utilise a Voivod style progressiveness whilst remaining, ultimately, as heavy as a bastard. It’s awesome to see that these young lads are carrying the legacy of death metal giants like Death and Obituary onwards into the 21st century and beyond. Cryptic Shift have developed a brand of death/thrash metal that comes with a solid guarantee of technical proficiency that is both exciting to listen to and thoroughly moshable.
It takes a great deal of faith in a record to perform it in it’s entirety and even bands as established as Iron Maiden have fell under criticism for doing just that in recent years, but when when you’re new LP is as strong as Terminal Redux then that faith is fully justified. Philadelphians Vektor are rightly proud of this release and indeed there is a buzz of excitement in the crowd who are hungry to hear the live rendition of this technical metal masterpiece. The Star & Garter is indeed rammed with hungry thrash addicts and, with the temperature rising, Vektor take the stage to a rapturous Northern welcome.
From opening blast of Charging the Void through to final album track Recharging the Void, the audience is taken through a labyrinthine network of brutal riffage that’s akin to a roller coaster ride down Satan’s poo-hole, through his small intestine before being shat out into a toilet bowl of napalm. Bodies flail, hair windmills and piss-cans wobble before the intense noise emanating from an overworked PA. The performance is slick and polished and, although there must be a high level of concentration required to plough through a set of technically demanding thrash, it is still an enthralling vision. The band grin at the audience, appreciating how welcome they are being made to feel. Two encores of songs from earlier releases are unleashed and the die-hards up front lose their shit for the last time. It’s been a hot, sweaty night in Manchester. Vector kicked our arses and once again a great selection of local bands and manic fans stepped up to prove how rabid our city is for all things heavy. And Wednesday? Fuck Wednesday.
Words: Paul Cooke