Monday, July 27, 2020

Quarantine Bonus Post 2: Electric Bugaloo

Oh, look. COVID is still around. I mean…we’ve done almost nothing to stop it. I’m surprised that didn’t work. Anyway, while we do go out a little more than we used to, we are still very much at home. The school year is delayed and my oldest is going to be doing the online option versus the in class option. However, this leaves a lot of time for music and games and what not, so here’s what I’ve been into lately.


Hayley Williams, Petals for Armor – I do agree with Crash Thompson that staggering the release of this album kind of hurt the buzz. However, it’s great. Melancholy yet hopeful. Kind of minimalist instrumentation. Honest lyrics. I’m glad she didn’t go total pop or country or whatever the flavor of the day is. It really is unique and well worth your time.

Rose, Crazy Little World – I hated this album originally. It is just so far removed from the band’s stoner metal/Danzig-esque output that I just couldn’t bring myself to like it. Now, however, I can dig it. It’s still not my favorite Rose disc, but I can appreciate what they were doing and enjoy it for what it is.

My Silent Wake, Shadow of Sorrow – Still on my doom/death metal kick. My Silent Wake features Ian Arkley, formerly of Seventh Angel. This was the band’s debut and you can still kind of hear that old Seventh Angel sound, especially in the leads and stuff. Really like this one. Definitely meant to be listened to in the winter with the snow falling outside.

Lament, Tears of a Leper – More death meal. From Mexico this time. Though this is less pure death metal pounding and more like classic metal with death metal elements. Or death metal with classic metal elements. I don’t know. I do know it’s good and I like it.

Magdallan, Big Bang – This is another one I didn’t love originally. I don’t know why. The hooks are huge. The production is bright, clean, and shiny. Also – great bass. Lots of good bass here. I guess at the time I just couldn’t get into it but age has enlightened me and now I like it better.

Ken Tamplin and Friends, An Axe to Grind – I mostly got this because of the lead single, “Livin’ for My Lord” which was on the old Hot Metal 4 VHS tape I used to have. My cousin and I watched that to death one summer. Fortunately, the rest of Axe is good too. Ken Tamplin’s voice is smooth as butter sometimes. He also assembles a crack team of studio musicians so there’s always major chops on his records.

Liason, Hard Hitter – Liason started life as an AOR/rock band whose earlier material gives me some serious Richard Marx vibes. That’s not bad mind you, just an observation. Hard Hitter is a straight up hard rock album with cool riffs and hooks. I would have loved this when it originally came out but never picked it up for whatever reason. Kind of a shame. I could have been loving it this whole time.

Beyond Creation, Algorythm – More death metal. But this is progressive death metal. And it is amazing. The bass player in this band is truly astounding. Who plays a fretless bass in a death metal band? The bass is pretty out front too, working with the guitars to create these chaotic soundscapes. There’s also a lot of melody to go along with the brutality. Special thanks to Scott Waters for introducing me to this band via one of his You Tube videos. I’m probably going to end up buying all this band’s albums.

I’ve got Trytan, Sylentiger and Haken, Virus loaded up on the Ipod (because I am old and still use one) but I haven’t listened to them enough to have an opinion yet.

Video Games

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – The first Wolfenstein reboot game was a lot of fun. This one is just as much fun. It’s also got a lot of drama and cool characters and an interesting story. Basically, it’s great and if you liked the first one you should definitely play this one.

Control – If you’re at all familiar with the SCP Foundation (and you should be – go look it up) then you’ll get the vibe that Control is going for. Though maybe a little less on the horror side. This was another game I really didn’t know anything about but ended up having a great time with. Oh, also kind of a spiritual successor to Alan Wake (which was also great and needs a remaster).

Death Stranding – Ugh. Just…ugh. Listen, I love the Metal Gear Solid series. But this…*sigh*. It’s a game about delivering packages. No really. That’s the game. Deliver packages and hook people up to the internet. And honestly – that’s not terrible. I like the world and the story. Heck, I don’t even mind the hiking/pathfinding aspect. Especially since you can build structures with other players, which I think is totally cool. The problem is that doing anything in this game is a major pain in the ass. Anything. Menu navigation, rearranging cargo, combat, vehicles, friggin’ fast traveling is a headache. Fast travelling, ya’ll. Then you have to contend with time-rain wrecking your boxes and invisible spooky things trying to kill you. There’s a sensor that’s supposed to help but ol’ Clip-Clop (my name for it) didn’t seem to do much for me. I got so tired of it all. It just wasn’t fun.

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard – Boy, did I need something good after Death Stranding. REVII was fantastic. It was stressful and scary in all the best ways. Also, no zombies. I’m not a big fan of zombies as a rule. This was truly a thrill-ride and I would totally play this again at some point.

Timespinner Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of my favorite games of all time. Timespinner is cut from that same cloth. It feels very familiar. In a good way though. Like… it definitely wears its SotN pedigree on its sleeve. The game doesn’t really innovate and there aren’t many surprises to be had power-ups wise. You have a time-stopping power but not much is done with it beyond using enemies as stepping stones. However, it was still a blast to play. I liked that it felt so familiar. I also thought the world and story was unique. This is another one I plan on playing through again at some point.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider – I was never a huge fan of the original Playstation games, but these reboots are pretty awesome. Though Shadow is the weakest of the bunch. It’s not a bad game, it’s just the third game. It does everything the previous two did with the same quality and doesn’t add a whole lot to the mix. So while I was motivated to push on to see the end of Lara’s story, these caves and tombs all kind of looked the same after a while. I didn’t even bother finding all the challenge tombs because I just got sick of doing them. There’s also a million doohickeys to find that have little bearing on the actual game. I wasn’t sorry that I played through this, but I was glad to be done and not motivated to find any of the extras.

Bioshock 2 – I realized I hadn’t played through this one when I originally bought the collection. Bioshock 2 is by far the weakest of the series. Mostly because of the meandering middle section where the creators didn’t seem to have anything interesting for Subject Delta to do so they force him to gather ADAM. I’m also not a fan of the defending Little Sisters parts. It’s another aspect that, while true to the character, kind of just pads out the playtime. I really wish they would have remastered the original with this game’s combat because it’s a lot more fun using plasmids and weapons together.

GreedFall – Wow. Just…wow. Bad wow. I took a risk on this one because it was on sale and it was a waste of money. I have not had a game test my patience like this in a very long time. Not even Death Stranding tested my patience like this game. So you’re supposed to be this aristocrat embarking on a journey to a new island with fantastic creatures and magic, etc. The game stresses again and again how the character is just about to board the boat for this wonderous island. So what does the game make you do? Friggin’ errands for like three-plus hours. Seriously. You go to a person and tell them you’re leaving. They ask you to run this errand for them. This errand usually involves running back and forth all over the map talking to people and/or picking stuff up. I did several of these and it almost became comical. So…I guess we’re not leaving for this island then? Also, did I mention that the first town is basically several lovely shades of brown? Yes. Brown. No, I don’t want to go to the fun island. I want to run around Brown Town and look for your cousin or some bullshit. I never even made it out of the first area before I put the controller down in disgust.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered – I’ve played through this one several times. I needed some comfort after GreedFail and double dipped this one for PS4. My goal was to get Squall’s ultimate weapon on the first disc…which I did. That was pretty cool. I’m also keeping my levels low. There are so many different ways to tackle this game I’m surprised more people don’t like it.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Quarantine Bonus Post - What I've Been Into Lately

Hey everyone! How is everyone enjoying quarantine? Truth be told, I don't hate it but I've always been pretty introverted. Don't go anywhere? Can do! I thought it might be fun to write a post about some of the stuff I've been into this year so far - albums, books, games, etc. I have even been able to play guitar a lot more. Learned several Tom Petty and Choir songs. Anyway... here we go...


Soccer Mommy, Color Theory - I loved Clean and made it one of my picks for 2018. Color Theory is equally as great. The lyrics are a bit darker here. A lot less "this boy doesn't like me" and more "wow... life sure does suck."

Paramaecium, Exhumed of the Earth and Within the Ancient Forest - I remembered buying Exhumed when it first came out in '93. I did not like it at all because it was way too slow. I guess my old age has allowed me to enjoy doom/death metal because I love it now. Along with the second album Paramaecium has been a fixture of the year. Forest is the more "progressive" of the two with more clean vocals, female vocals, violins, etc. Love them both equally.

Crimson Thorn, Anthology of Brutality - So... yeah... big death metal fan now. I snagged this because I loved Unearthed so much. This collection has all three of their albums including Dissection and Purification. Something about the downtuned guitars, blast beats, and brutal vocals just amps me up. Usually people get mellower in their old age and here I am grooving on death metal. Dissection has the worst production out of the three but given their style it doesn't hurt that much.

Saint, Time's End and Too Late For Living - Missed these guys when I was young. They were kind of billed as the "Christian Judas Priest." Well if that's the case I'm going to friggin' love Judas Priest because these two albums are awesome. Prefer Too Late over Time's End a bit but enjoy both.

Leviticus, In His Service (Box Set) - So let's just get into all the old Christian metal this year, shall we? I bought The Strongest Power on cassette way back in the day. I didn't like it much then because of the vocals. Fast forward to today and that's one of my favorites out of the four. I also really dig Setting Fire to the Earth because Ez Gomer and Terry Haw from Jet Circus are members. As a result the album has sort of a proto-Jet Circus sound. Oddly enough I like Knights of Heaven the least. Produced by John and Dina Elephante it's got great production but is kind of generic sounding. Not bad - just not distinctive.

XL & Death Before Dishonor, The Beginning of Closure - Listening to this now. Loving it. It's far more melodic than XL's previous work - which is fine. Not as much rap as the older ones. Hooks are huge though and the instrumentation is on point. Looking forward to listening to this more.

Video Games

Final Fantasy VII Remake - When this was announced, I was one of the first naysayers. This would never work. How could it? And with an action-oriented battle system? No. I didn't even like the demo when it came out. Then people were raving about it and I tried it. Everything clicked. The battle system is a refined version of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XV. I took to it pretty quickly. When I lost I could always step away, come up with another plan and load out and find victory. I enjoyed the story embellishments. If there's one thing that surprised me it's that this game was able to make me care about Midgar as a location and the world in general. The original was never my favorite but the remake has engaged me in ways the original never did. So glad I gave this a chance. Can't wait to see how in the world they pull off the rest of the saga.

Call of Cthulhu - I needed something different after FFVIIR so a slow-paced cosmic horror investigation game seemed like a good palette cleanser. Though it's hard to get into the atmosphere with a little 3-year old jibber-jabbering about Paw Patrol in the next room.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - I liked this for a little bit but got bored after 25 or so hours. I guess I just need more of a story to push me along. My wife adores it though. She's logged over one hundred hours. She's never been a console gamer ever so this tickles me to no end.

Tabletop Simulator - Not really a "game" so much as a means to play board games with people online. I've played a few times and it's fun enough though my wife gets more use out of it because everyone wants to play at like nine at night when I'm already exhausted.

Collection of Mana - I've been playing through Trials of Mana when I can but my playthrough has kind of ground to a halt because someone has pretty much locked down the Switch with Animal Crossing.


The Myth of the American Dream, D.L. Mayfield - Conventional wisdom says that most people get more conservative as they get older. The opposite is true for "Mr. Death Metal at 40" over here. I've gotten more liberal. Mayfield's journey from conservative Evangelical to liberal post-Evangelical is a lot different from mine but we've reached a lot of the same conclusions. Conclusions regarding the place of power, safety, wealth and the like in Christian life. And just what our responsibilities are to the people around us who are different. It's kind of nice to know others are thinking similar things because my Facebook can get a little tiresome.

Demon Camp, Jennifer Percy - I read this book out of morbid curiosity. For you see... my wife and I were part of the titular "Demon Camp" for many, many years. We left (sorta...long story) in 2014, which was about the time this book came out. (The book didn't have anything to do with it.) Initially our Demon Camp friends told us that the book portrayed them unfairly. I didn't read it then (except for excerpts here and there) because I wanted to support my friends. However, both myself and my views have changed a lot since then so I was interested to see if that would affect my opinion. It didn't. This is not a good book. It fails to offer anything insightful about soldiers, PTSD, religion, or anything. It's like some weird fever dream. A trip down a religious rabbit hole. Every conversation the author has with people is crazy goofballs. Normal people don't talk like this. I was around these people, ya'll. And yeah - some of them were weird. Sometimes we talked about demons but we were able to carry on a normal conversation without sounding like pod people. It's like the author had an interesting idea but absolutely no guidance - and very little editing. Of note, the book totally ends with the author probably sleeping with her subject. No conclusions drawn, no insight gleaned. At the end you're just like, "whoa, that was weird." Not exactly the reaction you want when writing about religion and PTSD.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Favorite Albums of 2019

Well, well, well…2019 certainly was… a year. Wasn’t it? Full of…things…that happened. Truth be told, 2019 was kind of crap for me. I turned 40 and felt every year of it. I didn’t really keep track of new releases at all because I just didn’t care that much. It didn’t seem like there were many new albums that really grabbed me. So instead of new albums I did some deep dives into different bands’ discographies that I hadn’t been that familiar with. I did end up with quite a few favorites this year despite my mood, so let’s get started!


Leslie Phillips, “The Turning” – I never listened to anything of her’s before so I bought this on a lark. It’s her final album in the Christian scene before going off to the secular realm and writing music for the Gilmore Girls. She’d teamed up with T-Bone Burnett for this one. It pretty much dominated the first part of the year. While it does sound a bit dated I found it had some great hooks and a lot of integrity.

The 77’s, “Pray Naked” – While I’ve always been a big fan of The Choir, Daniel Amos, and Adam Again, I’d never taken much of a shine to the 77’s. I have no idea why. My first exposure was Drowning With Land in Sight and that was alright. After listening to almost every album they made I ended up loving them. Pray Naked, the re-issue of their 1992 album is my pick because this is the one I returned to again and again. Though I guess I did that with most of their stuff.

Starflyer 59, “Leave Here a Stranger” – Of all SF59’s output, I only ever really liked their debut. I never gave their later, softer material a chance. After the 77’s I started checking out all the band’s material and…man… what the heck was wrong with me. Leave Here a Stranger is my top pick but their latest, Young in My Head is awesome too.

 The Walk, “Indianland” – At some point in the year I got a huge hankering for alt-rock with jangly guitars. Someone on Facebook recommended this album and it scratched that itch quite nicely. It’s pretty obscure as well. Fun Fact: It was released on Talkingtown Records. Whose only other release that I know of is Armageddon’s The Money Mask

Polaris, “Music From the Adventures of Pete and Pete” – So yeah… jangly alt-rock. Sure, “Hey Sandy” is great, but the rest of this album is awesome too. Also – all the nostalgia feels.

Alvvays, “Antisocialites” – We’re still on the jangly alt-rock kick here though this one is a little bit more shoe-gazery. Wonderful dreamy female vocals. Great hooks.

Petra, “More Power To Ya” and “Not of this World” – A friend gave me a “best of” CD with a bunch of older Petra material on it. Since I started with On Fire! I’d never heard any of the band’s Greg X. Volz output. Turns out it’s friggin’ phenomenal. Pretty much everything from Never Say Die to Beat the System is pretty great. Though I picked the above two albums because I really think they’re the cream of the crop.

Resurrection Band, “Hostage” – After Petra I immersed myself in the Resurrection Band. Again, I’d only heard an album or two. Imagine my surprise when I loved every single album. Seriously, I did not hear even one clunker. I listened to a Rez Band album almost every morning for a month. So I guess I picked Hostage because it’s the one that fans tend to hate because it’s all New Wave. Didn’t bother me at all. I loved it. Lament, Civil Rites, and Colors were other favorites. But…ya’ll… they were all good.

Aunt Bettys, “Aunt Bettys” – I’d always heard about how great this record was but had never been able to listen to it. I’m kind of a casual fan of Michael Knott’s output as it is. However, this record lived up to the expectations. I think it might be the hardest thing he’s done ever. It’s also super catchy.

Angelica, “Without Words – I’m not usually into instrumental albums, but this is an exception. The guitar work is absolutely incredible. Stellar. But the one thing I really liked about this album was that there are hooks. Even though there’s no vocals it felt like each song had a “chorus” or something to hang your brain on.

Crimson Thorn, “Unearthed” – So at the tail end of the year I had a sudden desire to listen to death metal. That desire is ongoing as of this moment. I remember I bought this when it came out originally in 1995 and didn’t love it that much. I bought 2019’s reissue and found myself loving it. The down-tuned brutal guitars, the cookie monster vocals, the blast beats. Man… couldn’t get enough. Which leads me to…

Revulsed, “Infernal Atrocity” – Dude. This is…. BROOTAL. I’d say this is probably the heaviest thing I’ve ever listened to and loved. The band features the virtuoso drumming of Jayson Sherlock of Mortification fame. Everything about this album is massively heavy and pummels you from start to finish. I started many morning in December with a dose of Revulsed to get my day going.


Dream Theater, “Distance Over Time” – Yeah. I’m done with ya’ll. How can a band that’s so insanely talented make such forgettable music? Seriously. I’d forgotten I’d bought this. Just like the last one. I was never one to board the “Mike Portnoy was the talent” wagon but…man…I think I’m on that wagon now.

Devin Townsend, “Empath” – Yeah….no. I was a huge fan of Devy for awhile. But Empath is just… *sigh*. Just play the song, man. Play a song. I feel like he was so into cramming his ideas into this album that he forgot to write actual songs. I couldn’t even make it through the album because it just made me tired. All of the transitions and what not that don’t really make that much sense. Little in the way of hooks. I’m just too old for this crap.

Queensryche, "The Verdict" - This album is not here because it's bad. It's not. It's a pretty good album. Probably the best of the Todd LaTorre era. It's here because it's good... not great. I was hoping that this iteration of the band would finally put out their Rage for Order or Operation: Mindcrime. No such luck. They do keep getting better with each album so I have hope that they'll get their opus magnum yet.

Well…that’s it for me! I hope everyone has a great 2020!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Favorite Albums of 2018

Well, well, well…this year has just sucked out loud hasn’t it? Oh my word. Despite the general awfulness and horror that was 2018, the music was pretty good. If you liked old Christian rock music it was a banner year – with releases from a lot of major bands from back in the day. Anyway, without further ado, I present my favorite albums of 2018!


Jimmy P. Brown , Eraserhead – I’m a bit fuzzy as to whether the band is Eraserhead or is it just the album? Eraserhead is made up of the team that made some of the best Deliverance albums – Jimmy, Manny Morales, and Jon Knox. It’s a little more varied than the old Deliverance records but this is a good thing. I really hope this wasn’t a one-off.

The Choir, Bloodshot – My friend Uvulapie and I might disagree a bit on this one. I found myself going back to this again and again. Steve Hindalong’s unfortunate divorce providing a lot of angst for songs, which are overall better. While the bass desperately needs to be turned up and it’s not quite “instant classic” status, I can say I’ve enjoyed this album the most of any since Midnight Sun.

Coheed and Cambria, Vaxis Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures – Coheed returns to their dark, progressive roots… kinda. Given the fact that the story takes place on a prison planet it doesn’t seem as dark as you would think. The songs here are big and epic, with plenty of hooks. It’s pretty much been a staple at my house since it came out.

Gama Bomb, Speed Between the Lines – I love this band. I thought it was going to be pretty hard to top Untouchable Glory. I don’t know if they topped it, but they definitely matched it. It’s been my go-to when I want some full throttle, in-your-face thrash.

Amaranthe, Helix – Talk about getting a lot of mileage out of a style. The pop/metal fusion they perfected two albums ago on Massive Addictive still works. To the point that I think this is their best album yet. For reals. I’m genuinely surprised at how good this turned out considering I didn’t like the singles that much at first.

Honorable Mentions
Soccer Mommy, Clean
Haken, Vector
Judas Priest, Firepower

Disappointments of 2018

Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now – I was anxiously awaiting this one for years after having adored their debut, Weird and Wonderful. And honestly, this isn’t a bad album. The problem is that I think they’ve sanded down some of their rough edges. I liked the rough edges. It gave them character. This album is a little more commercial (which isn’t always a bad thing) but I miss the raw, frantic energy of the debut.

Panic! At the Disco, Pray for the Wicked – I knew it would be a daunting task to top Death of a Bachelor. But Pray for the Wicked is just….boring and bland for the most part. It starts off strong with the first few tracks. Then it sort of…blaaaaaah – radio music. My family latched on to this one for some reason and we listened to it over and over and over. Maybe that explains some of my apathy.

Best Reissue of 2018

Undercover, Devotion – I was seriously thinking about putting the two Crystavox reissues here. But the thing about the Undercover reissue is the attention to detail. I appreciate that the liner notes look pretty much like the ones in the original album. The packaging is a little better as is the art design. The album rocks as well. I helped Kickstart this one so I may be a little biased but I do think it’s a great package.

And Finally…

There’s going to be some changes here at the vault as of this posting. The biggest change is that, as much as I hate to say it, I’m going on hiatus for awhile. I don’t know if I’ll stop reviews all together or whether some will pop up from time to time. The fact is that I’m just tired of keeping up with it. Honestly, I’m tired of keeping up with music in general. Some big bands are releasing albums next year and I just…don’t care as much. There’s also the simple fact that this blog doesn’t get any views. I usually top out at, like, 11 views. And most of those are Russian bots. I’ve been doing it for myself all these years and I guess I kind of feel like my work is complete. Again, I can’t say that I won’t pop up with something from time to time – but weekly reviews are going away. Thank you to everyone who has ever read, enjoyed, or kept up with the blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tourniquet - "Gazing At Medusa"

Tourniquet - Gazing At Medusa
2018, Pathogenic

1. Sinister Scherzo
2. Longing For Gondwanaland
3. Memento Mori
4. All Good Things Died Here
5. The Crushing Weight of Eternity
6. The Peaceful Beauty of Brutal Justice
7. Can't Make Me Hate You
8. One Foot In Forever
9. Gazing At Medusa

Gazing At Medusa hearkens back to the early days of Tourniquet. Not so much in the sound (though we will get to that in a minute) but more in concept I guess. Someone on a Facebook group described it as "nine metal tunes." He wasn't being disparaging. This was evidenced after the title track released and it's simple structure and melodic vocals gave me major Stop the Bleeding vibes (especially the album having snake-themed cover art). After years of Tourniquet playing up the whole progressive thing, it's nice to go back to just having nine metal tunes. The progressiveness is scaled back a bit as is the overall run time. This is another case where brevity helps the album. With the departure of Luke Easter, Tim "Ripper" Owens (of Judas Priest and Iced Earth fame) steps in for vocals. Owens has a bit more range and can do those high registers that Guy Ritter used to do on the older albums. This is no offense to Luke, of course - I really like Luke! But Owen's increased range is another factor that makes this album feel a little old school. Also - no medical terms. The over-arching theme seems to be mortality, eternity, and making the most of one's time on earth. I'm not sure Gazing At Medusa will be remembered as a landmark album or anything, but it doesn't need to be. It's nine solid metal tunes and it's well worth your time.

Useless Fact: Owens does not sing the title track. Those vocal duties are handled by Dean Castronovo. Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) handles guitar leads. Aaron Guerra is still on rhythm guitar.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Cash, Johnny - "The Classic Christmas Album"

Cash, Johnny - The Classic Christmas Album
2013, Sony

1. Christmas As I Knew It
2. Christmas Time's a Comin'
3. That Christmasy Feeling
4. Christmas With You
5. Blue Christmas
6. The Little Drummer Boy
7. The Gifts They Gave
8. The King of Love
9. Merry Christmas Mary
10. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
11. Joy to the World
12. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
13. Ringing the Bells for Jim
14. The Christmas Guest
15. The Christmas Spirit
16. Silent Night

I've had my eye on this album for awhile and I finally pulled the trigger. It really, really pains me to say this about a Johnny Cash album but... I don't like it much. I really wanted to hear Johnny Cash sing. Not Johnny Cash and the Cash Family. Or Johnny Cash and Tommy Cash. I also want to hear him sing, not talk. He talks way too much. Now I know this is kind of his style in a way but I kind of like his singing voice. There's a few tunes on here I like but the bulk of it just kind of annoys me. Oh well, not everything can be awesome.

Useless Fact: Johnny Cash was on a One Bad Pig album! If you follow this blog you probably already knew that!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Haken - "Vector"

Haken - Vector 
2018, Inside Out

1. Clean
2. The Good Doctor
3. Puzzle Box
4. Veil
5. Nil By Mouth
6. Host
7. A Cell Divides

Where to go after the Eighties love-fest that was Affinity? Apparently, you go back to being heavy. Vector is the heaviest and most aggressive album since Visions. I am okay with this, by the way. The songs are dense, knotted compositions, full of heavy riffs, poly-rhythms, and everything you've come to expect from Haken. I also think there's a bit more in the way of hooks here than there was on Affinity. Also noteworthy, this album is pretty short for Haken. At seven songs (with one being an ambient intro track) and a scant 48 minutes, I think this is the band's shortest full-length album. However, I think the brevity works in the album's favor. The cram a lot in those 48 minutes so you're still getting a full meal. I'm just glad I can listen to the whole thing on the way to and back from work. Vector hasn't overtaken The Mountain but it's immensely enjoyable.

Useless Fact: There's a story here somewhere about a doctor in an asylum performing dubious experiments. Though there's a lot of room for interpretation as to what it's actually about and what is happening.