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Harmless - 39%

Felix 1666, June 18th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, Scratchcore

Vectom's debut is a great piece of simple, catchy speed / thrash metal, but their second effort fails to provide another explosive cocktail. Basically, the guys still play the style of the first album, yet they do it in a more controlled manner. Don't be fooled by a misleading song title like "Caught by Insanity". Exactly this certain touch of madness is missing and the brutal power of previous jewels like "Black Viper" seems to enjoy its more or less well-deserved retirement. Vectom offer a very harmless kind of thrash. It could be suitable for a concert in a Catholic girls' boarding school. No doubt, "Rules of Mystery" would be the wildest music in this surrounding - but only in exactly this surrounding.

Lead vocalist Christian Bucher is completely aligned with the mysteriously timid approach of his comrades. From an artistic point of view, this might be a laudable harmony. Yet in my humble opinion, Bucher lacks of aggression and vileness. Worse still, his pretty monotonous style cannot be described as charismatic or formative. The more or less clean vocals only exist in order to avoid an instrumental full-length. Of course, this is not enough to satisfy the listener.

Apart from the harmlessness of the compositions, there is another grave error that has to be mentioned. I know some bands which are able to write harmless yet pretty good tracks, for example Testament, Metal Church or Darkest Hate Warfront (little joke...). The songs of albums such as "The Ritual" or "Blessing in Disguise" do not cause any damage, but some of them have intriguing melody lines ("Electric Crown") or an interesting aura ("Badlands"). However, Vectom are not able to deliver comparable qualities. The album lacks of dynamic moments, each and every song sounds like its predecessor and the result is a faceless album without any gripping elements. As soon as the opener is over, you know the entire album in view of the interchangeable tunes. Okay, the opener and the directly following "Dipsomania" are slightly better than the rest, but this is just another argument to stop the listening session rather sooner than later.

It is not easy to identify praiseworthy details on "Rules of Mystery". One might say that the songs have a fairly good flow, because the formation avoids amateurish breaks. The production sounds neither extremely powerful nor belligerent, but it also does not suffer from major deficiencies. Anything else that must be mentioned under the headline "advantages"? Perhaps the honest attitude of the band, but that's all and, of course, this is not enough in order to leave a positive impression.

Finally, just to avoid misunderstandings: no, the band did not fall between two stools in view of its stylistic modifications. No matter from what perspective it is looked at, the failure of "Rules of Mystery" was not based on any kind of tragic elements. I am not speaking about an album with unexpected yet strong songs. Quite the contrary, the compositions were just too weak, not only in comparison with the great number of energetic German thrash albums which were (more or less) simultaneously published. Thus, it almost appeared as a logical consequence that the group had no possibility to release a third album. Too bad that this unexplainably lame legacy overshadows the brief discography of Vectom.