Vexes – Ancient Geometry
Release Date: February 23, 2018
At the risk of being that guy… Merriam Webster explains Pathos as meaning “suffering” “experience” “emotion.” By that definition, it may be safe to say that the term pathetic (in the archaic sense) can be explained as an emotive experience of suffering. So, when I say that Ancient Geometry, the first album from Jersey based Vexes, is sonically pathetic, its not a bad thing. In fact, to be able to take something as intangible as emotions and emotional experiences and convey them in such a pleasing auditory format is an art.
Rising from the dissolution of a few other Jersey based bands, Vexes dropped their debut full length album today, Ancient Geometry, with Charlie Berezansky on vocals, John Klagholz taking guitar duties, Bobby Carpenter on the low end, and beat-master Justin Graves delivering on the drums. Wrought with the hard/soft approach reminiscent of 90’s grunge, loud and chunky guitar work that pays more attention to the crushing and melancholy melodies than it does overemphasizing the riff, and vocals that scream tribute to Chino Moreno (Deftones). I don’t mean to insinuate that there are no riffs on the album; there are plenty and they’re great. Its just more of a melody based album than it is riffs. Also, I think this vocal reference comes from a combination of Berezansky’s performance and the processing added to the vocal tracks. Regardless, I found myself embraced by the haunting tones and clenching my fist during the harsher moments.
“Helion”, which was the first song written, kicks off the album poignantly as a good indication of what the rest of the album holds. The song conveys the torment of an unwell mind and the need for detachment and escape. “Terra” is another highlight on this album, thundering guitars, the emotive vocals of Berezansky, both singing and screaming, topped off with a smooth instrumental section.
Upon my first listen I enjoyed the atmosphere of this album which is a combination of writing and performance along with production quality. This means I have to give props to Berezansky who engineered and mixed this album, and to Mike Kalajian (The Deer Hunter, Saosin, Emmure) at Rogue Planet Mastering. Crisp highs, rumbling lows and just the right amount of post-processing to give the songs depth beyond just the compositions themselves, all contribute to bring the overall sound of this album.
Ancient Geometry is a solid first album from some scene veterans. If you enjoy atmospheric hard rock that conveys the complexity of human emotion is a nice sonic package, this release is for you.