Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vectom - Speed Revolution (1985)

When the cover of your debut album consists of three inverse-KKK looking evil dudes with pointy black hoods, I feel a justification in expecting a lot, but a lot is not what Vectom deliver with their Speed Revolution, which might be more appropriately titled Speedbump Satan Revolution. By 1985 standards, surely the trails they blaze here would have felt more novel than today, but the sad fact is that this record doesn't hold up whatsoever. The riffs are extremely blase even by 80s standards, with fast rushing chords that do little else than drive the scruffy vocals of Christian Bucher, which are strangely enough the best thing going for this.

One thing I found pretty strange about Speed Revolution is the band's fascination with 'Satan' in just about the most generic means ever. They use his name in as many lyrics they can muster, so the album feels like some sort implausible Paradise Lost of thrash and speed metal. I suppose the three occultists with glowing eyes on the cover should have tipped me off, and I realize that the topic is quite common in extreme metal, but with Vectom, it feels a little forced. These guys have little to do with the devil, clearly, so when they're spouting out songs like "In Nomine Satanas" or "Satan's Colours", I just wasn't convinced. This isn't Slayer, closer to early Sodom in tone, but while the theme sufficed for Angelripper and his team, it feels artificial here. Fabricated. Nonetheless, the lyrics actually provide for some rather unintentional moments of humor on the album, and yeah, fight for Satan and all that.

When it comes to the actual riffing, I am most reminded of Tankard's Zombie Attack, though Vectom had the drop on that album. The two bands have the same fast, frolicking sense of fun in the compositions. I could very easily imagine Gerre singing over "Damned Love", "Open the Coffin", or "Too Fast for Hell", only Bucher does fine with it, his choppy accent and aggressive throat almost always the focus, as sloppy as they oft become. A few tunes like "Black Viper" and "Day of Execution" are more reminiscent of Destruction, but it's pretty much endlessly fast, with even the few slower riffs picking up to the same traipsing pace. The individual quality of the guitars is consistent, with Horst Gotz and Stefan Kroll occasionally pelting out brief flurries of leads ("Satan's Colours" has a decent, extended solo), but ultimately the construction just isn't there. No epic breakdowns or effective escalations into the chorus segment are found anywhere; it all just rambles along, with no surprises and no inspiring structures to speak of.

Certainly, Speed Revolution gives you that 'authentic' feeling found only through Germany in the 80s, but nostalgia is just not enough here to push it over the edge. No impetus whatsoever to ever listen to this over an Endless Pain, Zombie Attack or Obsessed by Cruelty, and totally no reason to pay attention when you had classics like Hell Awaits or Ride the Lightning coming out overseas. The cover image is pretty cool, the vocals sound good and abusive, but it all feels incredibly similar to an aircraft, all fueled up, which never leaves the runway. Nothing offensive or awful about it, but you're not going to pay to fly this baby off to thrash utopia when there were far better rides available.

Verdict: Indifference [5.5/10] (you never see the light)


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