One of the most exciting talents on the British metal scene has now graced our New Band of the Week feature not once but twice. Hertfordshire-based VEXED fuse seriously heavy metal groove and attitude with, in their words, “atmospheric solos and schizophrenic vocals.”
The quartet of Megan Targett (vocals), Jay Bacon and Callan Hughes (guitars) and Willem Mason-Geraghty (drums) have been playing music together for a few years now but the forming of VEXED sees them really find their place. But this isn’t our first time chatting to them, following an article around a year ago in the guise of their former band.
And the fact that we’ve named them as our New Band of the Week twice tells you a lot about how awesome this band is. They made their mark in some style with the launch of superb debut single Elite, which features the vocals of CJ McMahon from Thy Art Is Murder.
It dives straight into a huge opening riff supported by incessant bass drum and rolling drums, with distant synth sounds in the background. Intense screamed vocals jump in with more huge drums in support then drops into a big singalong chorus “Bow down to me and kiss the dirt between my feet, Blood brothers ’til we die, This is our kingdom and our pride,” which ends on another blast of big guitars and bass drum.
CJ’s screams kick in once more, then a terrifyingly heavy combination of spitting vocals with pounding guitars and drums. That gradually builds towards another chorus, which this time ends on a meandering guitar solo over diving low-tuned guitars. More melodic, light guitars come in, are joined by guttural screams then a mass of booming guitar chords are joined by synth to bring the track to an end. It’s seriously impressive stuff.
On the single’s reception, Megan told us: “It’s been incredible. We weren’t expecting to have received this much of a positive response it’s quite overwhelming. We’ve had some hate. There’s always gonna be someone mad at you, we just laugh it off. For anyone who hasn’t listened, I would suggest not expecting anything specific. It’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s aggressive, it’s a bit of everything.
“Managing to work with CJ was absolutely incredible and we still don’t really know how we managed it. But he’s a true gentleman and professional. He really liked our sound and when we asked him to work closely with us he said he was really down for being a part of it.” Check it out below:
And they backed that up with the release of Dominate last Thursday. A seriously awesome big bouncy riff opens up then drops into Megan’s screamed vocals, which give way to the opening riff. The screamed vocals return briefly and feed into a really cool chorus of “You think you have power over me, But that’s only what you want to believe, This narrow-minded kingdom you create, I will not hesitate, This motherfucker shall burn as I dominate.” That drops into the bouncy riff with eerie instrumental support in the background, before clean vocals come in for the next verse, then a delicious low-tuned lick winds its way towards another chorus.
It’s dark and intense, and seriously engaging, and promises plenty from this very exciting new band. The intoxicatingly dirty main riff alone is worth giving this a listen below:
Unsurprisingly, given CJ’s involvement on Elite, the band take huge inspiration from Thy Art Is Murder, as well as Emmure, while they’re also big fans of Periphery and Monuments on the more melodic side of things.
While the band’s music is influenced by some intriguing issues. As Megan explains: “A huge topic of inspiration for these songs has been wrongful imprisonment and the pain caused by defamation of character. People have always read me the wrong way and so I find real comfort in books such as The Count of Monte Cristo and the Netflix series Making A Murderer. Watching or reading about how people who have had their whole lives ruined by the lies of others, cope and seek revenge on their perpetrators is really cathartic.”
We’re expecting another single before the end of the year, and you can see VEXED for yourself at their debut headline show at The Black Heart, in Camden, on 28 June. More info is here.