In 2021 kwam de Britse alt-metal-outfit Vexed uit de schaduw als één van de populairste nieuwe bands om naar te kijken in heavy muziek - ze verpletterden iedereen op hun pad met hun verontrustend eerlijke, veelgeprezen debuut, "Culling Culture". Vervolgens met hun nieuwste album "Negative Energy" dat recent uitkwam op 23 juni via Napalm Records, keren ze terug met een vengeance gevuld met hun diepste emoties.
Vexed is een Britse metalband, opgericht in 2019, bestaande uit zangeres Megan Targett, gitarist Jay Bacon, drummer Willem Mason-Geraghty en bassist Al Harper. De band heeft snel naam gemaakt in de Britse metalscene met hun keiharde geluid en dynamische live optredens.
Vexed trok meteen de aandacht en kreeg naam met hun debuutsingles - waaronder de angstaanjagende Elite met Thy Art Is Murder's CJ McMahon die een voelbare underground buzz creëerde en fans een flink voorproefje gaf van wat ze in de toekomst kunnen verwachten. In 2020 tekende Vexed bij het onafhankelijke platenlabel Napalm Records en bracht in mei van dat jaar hun debuutalbum "Culling Culture" uit.
"Culling Culture" bevat tien nummers die het kenmerkende geluid van Vexed laten horen, dat straffende breakdowns, technische gitaarriffs en de felle zang van Megan Targett combineert. De songteksten van het album onderzoeken thema's van maatschappelijke kwesties zoals geestelijke gezondheid en sociale rechtvaardigheid en worden geprezen om hun eerlijkheid en herkenbaarheid.
Het album was een commercieel succes en kreeg veel lovende kritieken. De liveshows van Vexed hebben ook de reputatie opgebouwd om intens en energiek te zijn, waarbij de band voorprogramma's verdiende met opmerkelijke acts als Spiritbox en In Flames.
De band heeft ondertussen de agressieve opvolger Negative Energy losgelaten op de wereld. Het nieuwe studioalbum is heftiger en gewelddadiger en geeft het vertrouwen weer dat Vexed heeft verzameld sinds hun eerste release. "Negative Energy" bereikt het toppunt van muzikaliteit en aangrijpende, diepgaande en dappere lyriek. In plaats van te kiezen voor geforceerde positiviteit zoals vele, kanaliseert het viertall uit Hertfordshire al hun negatieve energie in deze 13 nummers waarbij je hun diepgewortelde innerlijke strijd hoort.
Bekijk zeker de videoclip van Trauma Euphoria hier, Megan Targett vertelt meer over “Trauma Euphoria”:
“Experiencing a traumatic event or grieving a major loss comes with a myriad of feelings. Denial, depression, anger and sadness are the most common ones you hear about. However, there is one that I’ve found nobody speaks of; Euphoria. Small moments of time where you forget that you’re grieving and slip back into the person you were before the event. It’s like a euphoric experience that’s heightened by the fact your brain hasn’t felt any hit of dopamine in such a long time.
However, that sudden realization when you remember the trauma and snap out of the high has you crashing 10X harder. Feelings of guilt and shame take over and you fall deeper into the dark depths of your depression and grief. This dark place becomes a safe space in your mind, as leaving it can cause more pain and isn’t worth the fall. You can become addicted to suffering and this song is a love letter to it.”
Voor wie de rauwe intense energie van Vexed wil beleven kan dat op 30 september in Bristol op het festival Misery Loves Company 2023 samen met Invisions, Immerse, TheCityIsOurs en meer, klik hier voor tickets.
How did the band got signed to one of the greatest labels in the metal scene?
Megan:"Back in late 2019/early 2020 we had our debut album recorded and ready to go but we didn’t want to self release. Our manager, Tom Bellhouse was reaching out to a handful of labels and we felt we had the best deal with Napalm. I still remember getting the message on WhatsApp saying that they wanted to sign us."
There is still serious sexism against female band members in the world, what is your opinion on this matter? Do You have experience with this? how do you deal with it?
Megan:"My opinion is that wherever women are succeeding, promoting equality or expressing themselves openly, there will be sexism. I do however think that attitudes are slowly changing and the new generation are far more welcoming of gender equality. I experience sexism on a regular basis, the most common being backhanded compliments such as “wow you’re good for a girl”. People like that I will always give them an opportunity to learn why it’s wrong as I don’t think it’s always ill intended. But then remarks like “get back in the kitchen where you belong”, another comment I’ve had recently, I deal with using humor. Someone with so much hatred towards women can’t be helped by me and I shouldn’t have to take on that responsibility. So I usually just laugh about it or make funny video responses."
How would you characterize the band’s sound?
Megan:"This is always a tricky question but we take influence from such an array of artists from different genre’s that it’s difficult to pin point a sound. A lot of people say alternative metal but we usually just say metal. Up to the listener what they think we are."
How do you distinguish yourself from all other metal bands out there?
Megan:"I feel that we bring a sort of raw, truthful aggression to music that people can always relate to and our live performances match the feeling of our records."
Megan on each track you discuss a traumatic experience that you went through, did it make an impact on you as a person after releasing these songs?
Megan:"Yes, I think it did in both positive and negative ways. I don’t really take notice of what people think of my lyrics, but when they interpret them totally wrong and try to explain to others an incorrect meaning, that can irritate me. I recently saw a reaction video where the host was saying my lyrics were about having body dysmorphia, which is entirely incorrect. The album is about the death of a loved one and the grieving process, so the thought of potential new listeners being put off or not liking the music because they’re hearing the message wrong annoys me a bit. Overall though I’m really happy to have released these songs and lyrics. I needed a way to try and process the pain and suffering in a healthy way. Releasing these songs was just another step forward in my grieving process."
What's one of the wildest things you've experienced during a show?
Megan:"One of the dates we supported Spiritbox a fan was crowd surfing during our set and then she was dropped onto the barrier. We very nearly stopped playing but thankfully she was okay. It definitely could’ve been alot worse."
At what point in your life did you decide to make music?
Megan:"We all wanted to make music from a very young age and have played instruments since we were young children. We have alot of musicians in each of our families so you could say it was imprinted on us."
A much-discussed topic in the metal scene are the merch cuts that venues impose on the bands. What do you think about this? And do you have experience with this?
Megan:"Yeah it’s totally unfair. We had one experience so we told them we weren’t going to bring any. You can bring a QR code that links straight to your website or just sell the merch out of your van. Inconvenient but hey!"
Which band would you like to tour with and why?
Megan:"There are so many bands to choose from! Definitely Alpha Wolf, Emmure, Thy art is murder and Graphic nature. Imagine if impericon did a tour like that…"
Which festival would you like to perform at and why?
Megan:"It’s always been Download festival. Ever since we were teenagers and see our favourite bands playing that festival we’ve had it in our sights. Hopefully we don’t have to wait much longer."
Willem and Megan, what's it like to be in a band together as a couple?
Megan:"It’s the best thing ever. If we were in different bands we would never see each other. We’re best mates as well so we get to do what we love and it just works so well."
Negative Energy tracklist:
3. We Don’t Talk About It
4. X My <3 (Hope to Die)
5. Panic Attack
6. Lay Down Your Flowers
7. There’s No Place Like Home
10. Trauma Euphoria
11. It’s Not the End
Culling Culture tracklist:
Megan Targett - Vocals
Jay Bacon - Guitar
Willem Mason-Geraghty - Drums
Al Harper - Bass