Vektor
"Black Future"

(Heavy Artillery Records 2009)Vektor - Black Future

Technicality can get you far in the metal world. Real far. Just look at Dragonforce. Dudes wrote songs made entirely of solos, snuck onto a video game, and are now officially huge. Hell, almost the entirety of the Sumerian Records roster crank out orgies of sweep picking and breakdowns. But somewhere amongst the instrument masturbation there must exist some actual songs, or an act will fade faster than CD sales. And so enters Vektor, who with their second platter of technical thrash, seek to reconcile genuine songwriting with chops so horrifyingly amazing they may make testes retreat back into abdomens.

There are a lot of good things going on here, really. The musicianship is without a doubt top-notch all around. Guitarists David DiSanto and Erik Nelson absolutely ravage their instruments, pounding their fretboards into submission with nasty and complex riffs, wild solos, and fills and runs all over the place. DiSanto also provides very unique vocals, sounding something akin to black metal shrieks with intermittent animal-like squeals. Drummer Blake Anderson does more than just keep time, adding to each song with beats that could have come from a dozen-limbed beast. And bassist Frank Chin is no slouch, more than holding his own amidst the wizardry flying all around him. Complementing the shred salad is spot-on production that renders everything clear and crisp without the flat sterility that is the usual for many technical records.

The skills of the band are clearly not the problem. What the album really suffers from is that there is just too much happening over the course of its too-long 68-minute length. There are four million parts per song, and coupled with the running time, make "Black Future" somewhat tiring to listen to straight through. Look, everyone likes a tasty sandwich, but you don't want to stuff it with so much junk that you can't fit it into your mouth. The problem could have been alleviated if the songwriting was a bit stronger, but as it is, Vektor has produced some undeniably cool, although only mildly memorable, music. They don't need to simplify their sound at the risk of losing their signature, but the band definitely needs to exercise better editorial judgment the next time out.

B

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