by Josh Gross
Promo materials for a band from Phoenix called Vektor recently arrived in my inbox. It said that Vektor—which will play at The Shredder on Sunday, Feb. 12—is for fans of H.G. Wells, futuristic conspiracy theories and atheist thrash metal. Obviously, I gave it a listen.
And for once, the flack wasn't just hot air. Vektor blasts riffs like a pulse cannon and growls lyrics like its narrating a nightmare curated by H.R. Giger. And when the band cuts it into a solo, it is every bit as foreboding as the final boss music from Metroid or Contra.
BW wrote to the band's frontman David DiSanto to find out why he does what he does and how it is so awesome.
Q&A is after the jump:
BW: You list H.G. Wells and futuristic conspiracy theories among your influences. How so? And how does that play out in your music?
DiSanto: The best way to describe our sound could be sci-fi, progressive thrash metal. All of our lyrics are based around astronomical and sci-fi topics, and I include philosophical concepts within them. The lyrics go light years beyond the basic thrash formula, which is blood, guts, hell and beer. All those things are still awesome, though, haha. Many of our songs portray the future as bleak and twisted. Our songs are supposed to invoke thought about potential futures this world and others may have. The music and lyrics work together and the riffs emulate the feel of the words to create an atmosphere for each song.
Your press kit says Vektor “came out of nowhere to challenge the self-imposed limitations of the genre.” What limitations are those and how do you feel Vektor challenged them?
Well, let me first say that we weren't the ones who wrote that for our press kit. It was someone else who interpreted our sound that way. It would be kind of egotistical for us to say that, haha. We're all really humble guys who have much respect for the bands within our genre. The thrash scene is full of great people and the bands are all pretty tight with each other. That said, we hit the thrash scene when the "Thrash Revival/New Wave of Thrash Metal" started, but our goal was never to start a retro-sounding band. We got lumped in with a lot of those bands at first, but we're all about making interesting and original music that pushes metal into new realms. I think a lot of people were happy with recreating the old style of thrash, but that wasn't enough for us. We love old thrash from the '80s, but we wanted to see where it could go, like the '90s never happened. It was all about picking up where some of the greats left off and running full speed from there.
I started Vektor because there weren't any bands that fulfilled my musical tastes exactly. I wanted to combine aspects of black metal and '70s prog/art rock with the ferocity of thrash metal. We try to meld elements of those styles in a thought-provoking and cohesive way. Our foundation is thrash metal, but we're not afraid to explore the infinite possibilities of music to make it more of an art form, rather than writing music that is based on a rigid structure. For us, the listening experience should be a mental journey.
When writing music, do you prioritize the technical or the melodic?
It all depends on what each song calls for. Like I said earlier, the music and lyrics work together. Certain songs off our new album, like "Outer Isolation" and Tetrastructural Minds," are very melodic and technical because the lyrics are about complex and cryptic ideas involved in self-exploration. On the other hand, a song like "Dying World" is straightforward and in-your-face. We never go into writing any song with any technical or melodic priorities. It's all about making interesting music that we would want to hear, and the riffs are built to reinforce the lyrical content.
Why should Boiseans come check out the Vektor show?
Because it will be out of this world, haha. For anyone looking for a new way to look at metal or just want to bang your head and have your face melted off, this show is for you. We'll be integrating the sound effects from our albums during this tour, and it will be much more of an all-around sonic experience. Our set will be about an hour long, and we'll be playing some epic, 10-plus minute tracks from Black Future, as well as our new album Outer Isolation.