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The latest resurgence of progressive modern metal has arisen with massive bands like Whitechapel, but it's inevitable arena of assertive street swagger and hyperfocused brutality is yet left vacant. Enter the UK's most exciting new talent, Vexed. The crushing Hertfordshire foursome combine aggressive groove mixed with ominous threads of progressive atmosphere on their long-awaited debut album, Culling Culture. If the release of two recent one-off singles served as an auditory love tap (i.e. "Elite" featuring Thy Art is Murder vocalist CJ McMahon, boasting over 500k independently driven cross-platform streams as of early 2021), Culling Culture is a wound-up suckerpunch. Hard-as-nails lead vocalist Megan Targett's vicious vocal assault blending venomously low growls, soaring cleans and razor-sharp rap-like deliveries (see "Fake" and "Weaponise") is backed by the pure technical proficiency of bandmates Willem Mason-Geraghty (drums), Jay Bacon (guitar) and Al Harper (bass). Airtight riffs à la genre greats Meshuggah and favorites like Periphery and Vildhjarta, an instigating rhythm section and stratospheric solos and leads prove that Vexed could just as confidently command the biggest open-air stages as they could the toughest of backroom hardcore shows.