Vexes – Imagine What We Could Destroy /// If Only Given Time (Double Album)

Imagine What... Album Cover Art

Vexes – Imagine What We Could Destroy /// If Only Given Time (Double Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 108:02
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Hello my dear readers! My, it’s been a while since I actually got time to review an album! But, thanks to Her Majesty QE II being on the throne for rather a long time, we’ve had a couple of extra Bank Holidays here in the UK, and for me that meant the gift of free time! 

So, without further ado, let’s see what we have in store from American Alternative Metal band, Vexes. I’ve never come across these guys before, but I do like to explore something a little different. Vexes first appeared on the scene in 2018 with their debut album “Ancient Geometry”, which got the chatter about them started, due to its experimental nature. And, on first listen, it has to be said that this album is deliciously Progressive and experimental. It’s filled with cross rhythms, close harmonies, and dynamic changes, which create an interesting listen. 

This behemoth of an album is, according to the press release, not a concept album, but a view of the world in the last 4 years, and how our lives are driven by our obsession with presenting the ‘perfect image’ in the public eye. This bleak, stark, but unfortunately accurate vision is presented here with a feel of being in two halves, emotionally. The first half of the album certainly has an air of confused, anxious calamity about it, which does indeed reflect the ever-more unbalanced world in which we now live. 

Musically, I really like the experimentation that is thrown into things. Unusual chord progressions, and the aforementioned rhythmic and dynamic changes litter the album, in a very pleasing way. It’s got a Post-Rock feel to it, which merges beautifully with the almost Grungy guitar riffs. But it is very definitely Metal, I feel, with the crunchiness and chunkiness of the downtuned guitar work throughout making it so. 

They use samples effectively to fill out the sound, which ends up being really massive. I now have the privilege of having some spectacular speakers to listen to this on, which is helpful, as this is an album that needs to be listened to loud for full effect! 

However, they also dabble delicately with classical instrumentation; atmospheric piano, and I think Double Bass or Cello and violins being used to great effect, particularly in ‘Imagine What We Could Destroy’. This haunting instrumental piece marks the symbolic ‘halfway point’ of the album, centering things after the rollercoaster ride of the first section. This is also the first of a few instrumental pieces. 

The second half of the album is not as fractious – it’s almost like a concession and acceptance of the madness that’s all around – a flowing with it, rather than fighting a losing battle against it. 

I want to mention the vocals at this point. They are a bit good!! Vocalist, Charlie, has a wonderful lilting, floating voice, which cuts through the engulfing calamitous heaviness of the music beneath it. It makes a really interesting metaphor for life in my opinion. The pace and movement of the daily bedlam, that somehow delivers us moments of clarity, between meetings, or while hiding in the bathroom to escape the madness, even if only briefly.

This is a band who know what their sound is, and considering this is only their sophomore album, that sound is an extremely mature one. They have also self-recorded and produced this album, which is commendable, as the quality of it shows what can be done if you try – other bands, take note! 

“What We Could Destroy/// If Only Given Time” is a very pleasing listen, and although it’s long, I implore you to listen to it as a whole entity, because this is how it works best. It’s dark and melancholy, but conversely soothing and relaxing. Maybe that’s because I’m still a Goth at heart and find solace in the depressing! I don’t know, and quite frankly, don’t care! I am a happy Beth – this was a great choice to start me off back into the realms of album reviews. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Digital Trust
02. Beyond The Sinking
03. End With Me
04. We Are If We Dare
05. E.O.T.W
06. A Darker Motion
07. Gather Your Bones
08. Dryspit
09. Twisting Of The Points
10. Inexerol
11. Imagine What We Could Destroy
12. Low Choices
13. Phantom Pain
14. The Symptoms Of Dying
15. Collapse At Limit
16. Energy Vampire(s)
17. In This Destruction
18. The Dream Disease
19. Bleak Machine
20. At Nothing
21. Invisible Shine
22. Tangents
23. Away Stars
24. If Only Given Time

LINE-UP:
Charlie – Guitar and Vocals
John – Guitar
Justin – Drums
Bobby – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1 – Zebedy

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1 – Absolence

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Semi Final 1
McLean’s Pub, Pentre, Deeside
27/05/22

Review and Photography by Beth Jones

It seems like ages since the last of this year’s M2TM North Wales heats. So, it was nice to have the first semi final come round. Following a venue change due to unforeseen circumstances, we winged our way over to our second home, and the Birthplace of Pentre Fest, McLean’s Pub in Pentre, Deeside. We had five competing bands – Omega Throne, Absolence, Zebedy, Thrashatouille, and Grief. And because it’s getting to the business end of proceedings, we had a guest headliner too – Djinova.

Omega Throne

First up were Omega Throne. They’re a Blackened Death Metal band from Liverpool, and boy do they love a good bit of shouting and heaviness! But it’s got a groove to it, and they’re tight as hell. The lead singer is a giant (to be honest, most people are giants to me), and has a super expressive face, which really lit up their performance here. Musically, Omega Throne are a very pleasing listen. My only criticism is the gaps between songs were too long and too empty. When it goes from a wall of noise to nothing it does seem a little awkward. 

https://www.facebook.com/OmegaThrone-1986460878039288

Absolence

Next, we were in for some Merseyside Progressive Metalcore, in the shape of Absolence. These guys were one of Fozzy’s wildcards, and in fairness they stepped it up a notch for this performance. It’s solid modern Metalcore, that’s incredibly Djenty in places, and that’s fine by me, because I do like a bit of tech metal. They used samples pretty well, and they kept the audience more entertained between songs. But there was still too much time without music. The front man did like to have a bit of banter with the audience though, which was good. But it covered up for the fact that their set, music wise, was short again, and sadly, it went into banter overdrive at one point, which made them overrun.

https://www.facebook.com/Absolence

Zebedy

North Wales based Progressive Rock/Metal band Zebedy were our 3rd competing band. I’m kind of unsure what to say about them to be honest. They’re good. But this performance was a little flat. Something sounded a little out of tune, the balance of sound wasn’t right, and while they do have a heavier edge occasionally, it just felt a little too commercial for Bloodstock, in my humble opinion. It was more of a Reading Festival vibe. I know that it shouldn’t be about ‘are they a Bloodstock band?’, but I’m just not sure it would work on the Newblood stage, sandwiched between the screams and growls of other bands. They do certainly have their place in the genre though, I just don’t think it quite happened for them in this performance. 

https://www.facebook.com/zebedymusic

Thrashatouille

These guys are somewhat old-timers to this competition now, getting to the semi’s a couple of times before. And this experience showed. For performance value and stagecraft, they walked the evening. Self genred “Chef Metal”, they play a blend of Thrash, Death, and Modern Metal, that’s food themed. Every song has an element of comedy thrown into the lyrics, but the ferocity with which the music is delivered shows how seriously they take their sound. The one thing I will say that the intro sample that they use is too long. It runs the risk of losing people before their set has even begun, and they should either ditch it, shorten it, or think of something more engaging to do during it, to make sure the attention is firmly held on them. That is my only criticism. 

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

Grief

These guys for me were, musically, the tightest on the night, and my favourites. They’re a new Progressive Metal/ Djent band, who have the makings of a really brilliant one. They’re beefy and heavy, and the sound, and songs, are complex but assured. They also have a lot of stage presence, and professionalism for such a new band. However, (and this is a really big HOWEVER, which really, really annoys me because they’re so fecking good) … they need vocals. Their current arrangement is instrumental, which is great, but it is absolutely and sorely missing some shouting. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount, just something to sit on top of the already brilliant music. Add in a bit of growl and the occasional scream, and they would be absolutely first class, and a force to be reckoned with. 

https://www.facebook.com/GRIEFBAND

Djinova

Djinova won M2TM in 2019, so knew exactly how the competing bands felt. They used it as a bit of banter with the crowd who were still left! They play Technical Death Metal / Deathcore that really packs a punch, and it was really bloody good! The frontman used the whole space, on and off the stage, in order to command the audience. And there was some serious bopping an nodding of heads going on throughout the set. 

Now, if there’s one thing that modern bands need to make sure they polish up on to make it to the next level, it’s business acumen! And Djinova have certainly got a sense of that, never wanting to miss an opportunity for a quick sale, even while on stage – the frontman actually sold merch whilst singing! Touché! Never seen that done before! A great show, and a great end to the night.

https://www.facebook.com/djinovaband

So, with that, it was time for the results. Two bands would progress to the final, one on judges votes and one on crowd votes. This was going to be a tough call, especially for us judges. We had a very long conversation, weighing up the pros and cons of each band, but again, for the 5th time this competition, came to a unanimous verdict… The crowd vote went to a very deserving Thrashatouille! Huzzah! And the judges vote went to Omega Throne! Again, deserved! Semi Final 1 was another great night all in all. Bring on the second semi final! 

LINKS:

M2TM North Wales:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

Mclean’s Pentre:

Bloodstock Festival:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Heat 4 – Thrashatouille

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Heat 4 – Bad Earth

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Heat 4 – Absolence

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022 – Heat 4 – Bourbon Hitcher

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022, Heat 4

M2TM North Wales 2022, Heat 4
Central Live Music Venue, Wrexham
22/04/2022
Live review and photos by Beth Jones

And just like that, the final heat of the 2022 North Wales Metal 2 The Masses was upon us. This was a bumper weekend for me, too. M2TM Friday, Devin Townsend on Saturday, and a family meal followed by Jazz on Sunday. Niiice! As usual, we rocked up to Central ready for some great music. Two of the bands were old names to me; Bad Earth and Thrashatouille. But the other two, Absolence and Bourbon Hitcher, were not ones that I’ve come across until now.

Absolence kicked the night off. And before their set they went round dishing out free wristbands to everyone who wanted one – a nice touch, and something to make them memorable. They play a very tight and pleasing Metalcore, which was performed very well. The frontman has a decent amount of stage presence, and the band as a whole gelled comfortably together. They looked like they were having a great time, and were musically solid. To take it to the next level, I think a bit more exploring the full extent of their talents would be a good move, because there’s no question that these guys are a talented bunch, but it did start to get a little samey. They also finished their set 9 minutes early. Whether this was because they played everything at double time through nerves or not, I don’t know. But guys, honestly just relax and have fun with it – you don’t need to feel nervous, because what you do is high quality and solid.

https://www.facebook.com/Absolence

Bourbon Hitcher looked very promising. The frontman/guitarist cut a prominent figure, and instantly had a lot of stage presence. They confidently played a set of dirty, hard-hitting, heavy rock. But, and without wanting to sound like my mother here, it was waaaaaay too loud! Talk about turning things up to eleven! It was actually physically painful to listen to, and after the first couple of songs we had to duck outside. It was that loud that we could actually hear it better standing outside than we could when we’d been facing the stage. The volume of the guitar meant that the vocals, and most of the bass were almost inaudible, and it was only for the fact that the drummer was beating the living shit out of his kit that the rhythms could be heard. So, all in all, a good solid sound with some extremely skillful playing, especially for guitar solos, that was wasted by too much amp crankage. 

https://www.facebook.com/BourbonHitcher

The penultimate band of the evening were Bad Earth. Having seen these guys many times in the past, they certainly weren’t strangers. But the new line-up of Jordie, Karl on Bass, and Ben on Drums, has brought a completely new dimension to them. The second they hit the stage, the presence, professionalism, and calibre took a giant step up. They are hard rocking, with a dash of Thrash and Core too. Rock Thrashcore. There we go. New genre time. This performance was electric, and the pure joy in all of their faces was actually really lovely to see. They have an endearing quality which just makes you feel all warm and cosy. It’s like a hug, but metal as fuck! Superb performance, and my judges’ vote.

https://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH

Closing the night, and putting me in the mood for a kebab, where Cheshire’s finest Chef Metallers, Thrashatouille. Again, I’ve seen these guys numerous times, and they never fail to disappoint. This performance was another step up from them, though. They all looked really into it, and frontman Rob had total command of the crowd at all times. Professionalism, presence and showmanship where at the front of this performance, as they had been with Bad Earth earlier, and it was easy to watch. Their set was also perfectly timed, to within 25 seconds of their allotted half hour! They made me smile, they made me get my groove on, and they made me very happy to be part of our little local scene. Top performance.

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

As the chefs packed up their wares, it was time for us judges to go and deliberate. For me, in terms of the complete packages that we were looking for, it was obvious which bands should progress, and again the judges’ verdict was unanimous. Thrashatouille took the audience vote, and Bad Earth took the judges’. But, as it was the last heat, Fozzy also got to announce his two wildcard acts. These were acts that didn’t quite make it in the heats, but had enough about them to impress Fozzy into giving them a spot in the semis. That accolade went to one of my favourites, IN DEPTHS, who just missed out in heat 2 and Absolence – our first band from this heat. Again, choices that I think all the judges would have called, too. These semis are going to be the toughest we have had since M2TM started up again round here, and I can’t wait!

LINKS:

N.E.W Metal Productions:

M2TM North Wales:

Bloostock Festival:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

M2TM North Wales 2022, Heat 3 – Wrath Of Man

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.