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Vektor - Black Future CD (album) cover

BLACK FUTURE

Vektor

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.99 | 49 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I've never been a huge fan of thrash metal as a genre. I struggle to get through even the most well-received Metallica albums and even the legendary Voivod has left me cold in the past. With that in mind, I wasn't sure what to expect upon first checking Vektor out, but I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised. This music has gotten through to me in a way that very little thrash metal in the past has been able to.

However, don't expect too much of a crossover sound from this album; it's still very much an extreme thrash album. There isn't a single clean vocal to be found, and while there are nods to other styles, probably a good 90% of the album features heavy, lightning fast riffing and thundering blast beats. That said, a combination of excellent composition and the sheer ferocity with which these musicians attack the music keeps this interesting for me far longer than most other thrash bands have been able to.

The title track comes out guns blazing, with a chugging riff aided by some spectacular drumming. The band does a really nice job of varying the sound even while sticking to the same basic pattern, which makes for a nice introductory section for the track. It's not until the vocals come in, however, that the song really gets into full gear. Ridiculously technical guitar riffing and percussion back up the aggressive vocals perfectly, giving the track a very high intensity level without ever coming off as needlessly show-offy. Additionally, the band never sticks with one motif for too long, but everything flows very well and the song doesn't sound overly busy.

"Oblivion" begins with a brief drum solo before launching into a dual-guitar riff that comes off as almost surprisingly melodic. After the two instruments play off one another for a few moments it's back to speed metal riffing, but Vektor prove once again that they have a talent for taking the standard tricks of the genre and making them sound decidedly nonstandard. Riffs morph and blend together and blistering speed, giving the song a surprisingly fluid in a genre that so often gets caught up in a mechanical sound. An instrumental section in the middle of the track only adds to this impression, with a brief foray into a slower, almost gothic section giving the track quite a bit of extra ambience.

"Destroying the Cosmos" starts off on a completely different note, with jangly, psychedelic guitar playing melodically over swirling electronics and ambient cymbal sounds. It's an awesome opening that gives the riffs a bit of extra punch when they re-enter, and the style is reprised later in the song as well to great effect. This is truly thrash-metal that exceeds its genre, something that another surprisingly melodic guitar solo towards the end of the track also affirms.

"Forests of Legend" delves into epic territory, with a 10-minute run time and a variety of styles ensuring the song is far from just your standard thrash fare. With another spectacular, haunting guitar intro that almost reminds the listener of classical guitar, the song sets up a killer ambience very quickly before launching into another extremely harsh section. The vocals attain a level of rawness that I've rarely heard in the past, with the singer's passion coming through very clearly in his harsh shrieks and growls. Musically, the song sounds like a combination of Atheist and Opeth (though this is probably a little more frenetic than both of them), with lightning riffs interspersed with melodic guitar fills. Ultimately, it's that juxtaposition that makes the song so good: I'm not sure if I could have taken full speed guitar riffs for the entire 10 minutes, but the seamless integration of other sounds leaves "Forests of Legend" feeling anything but tiresome, and in fact it ends up coming off as a complete tour- de-force of a song. The melodic, neo-classical guitar at the end is a especially of note, giving the track a nice sense of circularity relating back to the beginning section.

"Hunger For Violence" is another interesting one, with some ominous, almost spooky guitar parts beginning the track before delving into a more standard thrash sound. That's not to say it's bad by any means, though, as Vektor still brings a level of intensity to the track that's extremely impressive. I can't help but admire the precision of the playing as well: to play as fast as they do as precisely as they do must be no small feat. Additionally, there's a slightly slower section in the middle with down-pitched vocals approximating a more classic death metal sound. A lightning fast instrumental section follows and should leave every fan of shredding satisfied. However, there's a lot for your standard prog metal fan to enjoy as well, with extreme technicality and more motif changes then you can shake a stick at.

"Deoxyribonucleic Acid" kicks off with one of my favorite riffs on the album. With a sinister, minor key sound and dark sci-fi lyrics to match, "DNA" is a particularly menacing song that still doesn't fall into the trap of relying on sheer aggression to succeed. There's a ton of musical sophistication here as well, with themes blending and flowing together without ever letting the song's intensity subside. If "Forests of Legend" was the band moving outside of the thrash genre, "DNA" is them sitting firmly in it and showing they can still kick some serious tail.

"Asteroid" falls much into the same vein as the title track, with riffs that are meticulous in their pounding intensity and a seemingly never-ending onslaught of guttural shrieks, wails and growls courtesy of the vocalist. While that may sound decidedly unpleasant to some, in my opinion the sheer gusto with which this group approaches their music makes it enjoyable. Of course, as with all the music on this album, the performance chops and compositional skill are on full display here as well, with nary a boring or slow moment throughout the song's nearly 7 minute duration.

Two long tracks close out the album, with "Dark Nebula" being the first. Starting off with a brief electronic drone before introducing a shredding guitar part over some low, rumbling chords, the song wastes no time in introducing vocals and a variety of guitar fills. "Dark Nebula" shows an excellent sense of pacing as well, with a slightly slower tempo resulting in a much less frenetic feel than some of the other tracks. As this is another 10 minute song, that ends up playing a huge role in the listenability of the song, as it helps "Dark Nebula" come off as measured and deliberate rather than merely hyper and overambitious. There's an excellent instrumental section in the middle of the track as well, with wavering electronics and minor key guitars creating an atmosphere that's highly reminiscent (as goofy as the comparison is) of the old Metroid games. The end of the track brings vocals back and drops the tempo slowly, letting the song slowly fold in on itself until it finally ends with a single distorted guitar drone.

"Accelerating Universe" wastes no time before launching into a slightly downtempo riff that is developed upon for a little while before morphing into a full-speed, galloping guitar part. It's over this that vocals come in, with the singer attaining new heights in his screams and the band playing as quickly and furiously as they have anywhere on the album. However, the band shakes things up considerably by including a heavily electronic, almost ambient section in the middle of the track. It's quite impressively done and it gives the track an incredible amount of depth, especially when it transitions into a melodic, mostly acoustic section which itself slowly develops back into a heavy riffing section that closes out the song and album. The compositional sophistication on display is astounding, and presents final proof (as if it was needed at this point) that Vektor is far from simply another thrash band.

Overall, then, this is a very good album, especially for those who are looking for a bit more ferocity in their progressive metal. Those looking for delicate melodies or extensive genre- hopping won't find what they're looking for here, but for those who love the extreme Vektor should provide a great listen. Though the album runs a bit overlong in my opinion, it's a stellar release and an excellent addition to the collection of any extreme progressive metal fan.

4/5

VanVanVan | 4/5 |

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