Album review: Vexed – Negative Energy

Vexed continue to prove why they’ve earned their moniker on their second studio album, Negative Energy.

Album review: Vexed – Negative Energy
Rachel Roberts

Recovery is a long and difficult process,’ a distorted voice announces on Negative Energy opener PTSD. There’s something foreboding about the whole intro, which edges us with pulsing drums and thick chords as a siren-like shrill lies below. It’s an eerie warning that Vexed don’t want to hide from the darkness on this sophomore album, they’d much rather grab it by the wrists and confront it head-on.

The British metal trio explore a plethora of tricky taboos on Negative Energy, from childhood trauma and shame, to loss and betrayal. We Don’t Talk About It being the most prominent open wound explored on the record, it pairs boisterous riffing from Jay Bacon with Megan Targett’s monstrous and guttural vocals. ‘This is all I have to vent out the abuse / ’Cause we don’t talk about it,’ she growls.

Elsewhere on the record, Wizard Of Oz-inspired track There’s No Place Like Home experiments with a trippy pre-chorus as the instrumentation lifts and contorts before bombing into the chorus. Trauma Euphoria sees Megan’s clean vocals cut through the filth, and an ’80s classic rock guitar hero solo gives the whole track an entirely different zest from others on the album.

Towards the end, a stronger narrative grows, with the whopping, near-six-minute It’s Not The End telling a raw tale of grief, bereavement and legacy. Its many complex layers showcase the band’s growth since 2021’s Culling Culture, as reverb-y guitar notes flit around like sprites. DMT acts as an interlude before they have their final say by calling out systematic privilege imbalances with beefy closer Nepotism.

Vexed lay it all out on the table with this album. There’s nothing they will hold back from venting about. Negative Energy might make you want a good cry, but it’ll have you ready to fuck shit up in the pit too.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: InVisions, Spiritbox, Meshuggah

Negative Energy is released on June 23 via Napalm

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