Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Album Review: VEXED Culling Culture

7.5/10 Reviewer

Vexed are the latest addition to the deathcore revival that has been taking place over the last few years. The UK produced some great deathcore acts since the genre’s heyday, including Ingested, Acrania (the “send them to the slaughterhouse” guys) and the dearly departed Martyr Defiled. After featuring Thy Art Is Murder frontman CJ Macmahon on their very first single “Elite,” Vexed are set to explode. Culling Culture is a surprisingly smart slice of brutality from a band that sounds practiced beyond their years. If this is the debut, there’s no telling how far Vexed could go.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Vocalist Megan Targett takes centre stage on Culling Culture. Her ability to switch from a soulful belter to a screaming banshee is one of the band’s biggest strengths. Experienced listeners will be reminded of Spiritbox frontwoman Courntey LaPlante. That isn’t where the similarities end, but Vexed are confident enough to carve out a niche without sounding too much like anyone else. Guitarist Jay Bacon has downtuned his instrument to an inhuman level, resulting in riffs that will blow out cheap speakers. But it isn’t all breakdowns and grimacing. Vexed know how to switch things up with djenty sections, nu-metal rhythms, and even a few tasty electronic beats. The band also gets rid of the more overdone tricks of the genre. There is no endless blasting or simple “clean chorus/harsh verse” writing to be found.

Album Review: VEXED Culling Culture

It sounds like Vexed have listened to enough deathcore to really get what makes the genre tick. The middle section of the first single “Hideous” is among the tastiest riffs you are likely to hear this month. Throw in a few choice pick-slides and Megan’s vocal performance, then Vexed start to show off their full potential. Other highlights are the frantic alt-metal anthem “Narcissist”, guitar-centric “Purity”, the classic deathcore of “Misery” and unpredictable album closer “Lazarus”, which even comes with a nice “OUGH!” before the breakdown. Clearly Vexed are out to have fun.

The biggest surprise on Culling Culture comes near the end. “Aurora” is an odyssey that showcases all the band’s best qualities. Megan’s vocals soar, the interplay between Jay and bassist Al Harper is something to behold and Willem’s drums sound more melodic than any deathcore drummer has a right to. If Vexed can pull this off in a live setting, it will be the high point of any show. Fans of more progressive metalcore will be wiping tears from their eyes during Jay Bacon’s final guitar solo. You won’t hear this advice often from Metal Injection, but if Vexed want to tone down the heaviness and go this route, they would undoubtedly find success.

Album Review: VEXED Culling Culture

The 50-second intro to “Weaponise” is something Vexed could leave out on future releases. It kills some of the momentum for what is a highly energetic album. The song puts drummer Willem Mason-Geraghty in the spotlight. He rises to the moment with an all-over-the-place performance that many blast-beaters could learn from. The interlude “Drift” doesn’t really add anything either. But it is quickly forgotten when “Aurora” comes on.

It’s hard to believe that this is Vexed’s first album. They sound like a band that has been around for years. That said, they wear their influences on their sleeves, and are at their best when they break free and do their own thing. Classic deathcore is going through a resurgence this year. Vexed are a part of it, but if they wanted to, they could be something more.

Show Comments / Reactions

You May Also Like

Weekly Injection

Plus releases from Vexed, Vulture, Amorphis, An Autumn for Crippled Children, Mothman and The Thunderbirds, Dr. Colossus, Yautja, and The Devil Wears Prada.

Music Videos

"We see you. You have been warned."