There seems to be a trend of nostalgic sounding metal as of late, with the likes of GOOD TIGER and their new proggy post-hardcore – and now VEXES and their spectacular DEFTONES-tinged metal. From the ashes of several established bands, a phoenix formed with the name VEXES and they have just released their beautiful debut album Ancient Geometry.
Smashing in with Helion, you’d probably think you were hearing the warblings of Chino Moreno, but you’d be mistaken. They are in the fact the luscious vocals of Charlie Berezansky, former member of VESSL. Helion boasts a wealth of influences. After the initial comparison to DEFTONES, elements of late FINCH and THRICE can also be recognised through the emotive attitude and subtle technicality wrapped under huge dollops of melodies. The ending takes an interesting turn with the heavy riffs sounding not too dissimilar to A LIFE ONCE LOST, the former band of drummer Justin Graves. A subtle hint to past lives?
Second track Lift is sugar-soaked with Mesmer-era NORTHLANE vibes and the spacey chorus has CIRCA SURVIVE stamped all over it. The glorious and deep feelings VEXES have already stirred with the fist two songs is impressive stuff. It’s beginning to give the impression this is an album to fully immerse yourself in. This is a great feat by frontman Berezansky who engineered and mixed the album, the tones are spot on and it’s all helped along by the mastering of Mike Kalajian (THE DEER HUNTER, SAOSIN, EMMURE).
Decisions Are Death Here is a brooding track that erupts into a heart wrenching chorus. Drenched in dark emotion, it would sit quite happily an album such as Saturday Night wrist. A similar formula is used for Plasticine, a song which has some hints of grunge, but is very unashamedly DEFTONES in its melodies.
The impressive and ambitious No Color features guest vocalist Mikey Carvajal, from ISLANDER. Carvajal gives this punchy song a hard, nu-metal edge. Having said that, this track still sounds as fresh as ever, giving dated styles a modern crunch. The riffs are reminiscent of MATCHBOOK ROMANCE in places which drives the song home. Sometimes VEXES also remind me of CAVE IN, most likely because of the clean, slick sound and the old school riffs and melodies. VEXES chuck it all into their melting pot and serve their own hybrid. A nod to CIRCA SURVIVE is once again heard in Terra; another impressive slab of metal.
While listening to Ancient Geometry, one word keeps springing to mind. Coincidentally this word is also the title of the next song – Lush. The instrumentation shifts and shines and makes this song a very enjoyable listen. With a heavy crunch from the middle onwards, it has a hint of TESSERACT with its melodic twinklings and heavy accompaniment.
A short interlude titled Meridian Response clears the mind and cleans the palette before the storming Photochrom smashes your senses. Screaming through the first chorus, the song continues with FINCH-esque melodies and catchy choruses. You can’t help but hope the song will take another heavy turn again, but VEXES remain melodic with irresistible riffs.
The title track is also the finale of Ancient Geometry. A chilled out affair, the blissful melodies provide the perfect setting to close this spellbinding album. The track is chock-full of delights, ensuring you finish Ancient Geometry with goosebumps. I don’t know how VEXES have done it, but they have achieved something special with their debut album. Not every band could accomplish wearing their influences on their sleeves so openly, yet still produce an album that sounds fresh and innovative. It will be interesting to see what direction VEXES will progress with album number two, but for the moment let’s enjoy the triumph that is Ancient Geometry.