If we were creating year end playlists in 2021 like we started doing last year then “Hideous”, the debut single from Vexed off Culling Culture, would’ve for sure been included. What a jarring, jagged introduction to the UK outfit that was being equal parts earworm and extreme Metal mastery which all in all was simply brilliant. That said, expectations would rightly be high for what’s to follow and lucky for us, the fans, and the Metal masses that Vexed more than deliver with Negative Energy.
“PTSD” sounds huge and that’s just as an instrumental banger which is a not so subtle prelude to the shitstorm to come. Said shitstorm really begins with opener and lead single “Anti-Fetish” which is devilishly diabolical in its’ intensity and overall evolution of the Vexed sound. As a successor to “Hideous”, “Anti-Fetish” does the job and then some.
“We don’t talk about it” is similarly vicious but a little more relaxed in tempo relying on a steady stomp from Willem Mason-Geraghty’s drumming as Jay Bacon’s wall of shredding is just unstoppable. “X my <3 (Hope to die)” is more vicious and… do you see a pattern forming??? Anyway! This one is bolstered up by a gnarly atmosphere that doesn’t so much forewarn of impending dread as much as it just fills the room with an overall sense of unease.
“Panic attack” is akin to experiencing one with alarm-like sounds constantly going off as Targett barks out verses reciting non-helpful solutions often offered to folks going through one with “Lay down your flowers” bringing perhaps Targett’s most powerful performance yet if not her most monstrous one that still manages to stand out in a song that becomes a scream fest.
“There’s no place like home” is all swirling guitars from Bacon and Targett’s crushing cadence matching Mason-Geraghty’s dynamic drumming perfectly, “Extremist” is a three minute exercise in breath control and precision vitriol spit forth from Targett, and “Default” sees a softer side from Targett albeit only momentarily with the sweet quickly devolving into sour.
Lurching towards the finale, “Trauma Euphoria” kicks off the final movement with a gargantuan track featuring a stunning chorus from Targett as “It’s not the end” follows suit with a serene feel all around and clean vocals to start before the vocal battle begins. “DMT” spills out of “It’s not the end” like a thematic epilogue and leads into “Nepotism” which brings a big, bold badass chunk of Metal mayhem to the table to end album number two properly.
Negative Energy drops on June 23rd through Napalm Records. Pre-order yours now in a variety of formats by heading here. For the latest from Vexed, follow them across their socials when you click here, here, or here.