Vektor Guitarists Dave DiSanto and Erik Nelson Explore Deep Space

Vektor guitar duo offer a thrash-metal choice: Sci-fi or die

Vektor
Courtesy Vektor
Vektor
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WHO: When they're not confounding your cerebellum with intergalactic conceptual constructs, Philadelphia-via-Phoenix thrash-metal unit Vektor's twenty-sided speed-dork bludgeoning will bash your brain in. Masterminded by once-aspiring astronomer Dave DiSanto with flaming fretboard fireworks courtesy of fellow guitarist Erik Nelson, Vektor's laser-pointed aggression serves as an antidote to metal's current stoner-sludge pandemic. Their two long-players, 2009's Black Future and 2011's Outer Isolation, are epic headbanging soundtracks for lost astronauts needing to drown out the desolation of space. In the next year, they plan to unleash album number three – as soon as they can finalize its sci-fi concept.

WHICH CAME FIRST, PROG OR METAL?: "For me," answers Nelson, "it was definitely metal first. The usual stuff: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth. Then David played me Voivod, and it got proggier from there." "Neither for me," counters DiSanto. "I was first into punk rock, until I was 15 or 16 and bought Rush's 2112." Once he heard Metallica's Kill 'Em All and Slayer's Seasons In The Abyss, "it was all downhill from there!"

YOUR SCI-FI IN MY THRASH: Vektor's music hits on an eternal truth: that science fiction and metal belong together. "Sci-fi is just dark and mysterious," DiSanto explains, "and that's what metal is, too – just dark, crazy music. You let your mind go wild." "We both loved space and astronomy as kids," says Nelson, "and sci-fi's always been a huge part of my life." "My dad got me into sci-fi and horror movies when I was way too young," DiSanto recalls. "Blade Runner, Mad Max, Star Wars. When I got older, I got a subscription to Astronomy magazine and totally nerded out on that stuff. I was taking some astronomy classes in college right when Vektor started; that really pushed us in that direction. Personally, I like mixing the deeper philosophical issues with the stars and the cosmos."

FROZEN LICKS: DiSanto may rule Vektor's geek den with an iron fist, penning all riffs and conceptual conceits, but Nelson's thematically appropriate accompaniment allows the whole rocket to soar to the stars. Exhibit A: Outer Isolation's "Tetrastructural Minds". "The theme with that song," explains DiSanto, "is that as we grow older our brains solidify. We've learned what we've learned, and it's hard to break free of our prior thought patterns that we've built up over the years. It reminded me that our brains are frozen after a certain time, and that made me think of base cube minds, and then the whole tetrastructural thing came from that – just these polished four-sided cubical crystals." "I thought it was just ridonkulous and amazing," recalls Nelson, "and I just tried to come up with something that matched that imagery." "Erik's solo," raves DiSanto, "which he laid down and created out of nowhere, is just so fitting and chilling and cold-feeling. It's so perfect!"

RETURN OF THE SMART PATROL: Like the best science fiction, Vektor employ technical precision to convey an underlying distrust of technology itself. "It's analog in a digital age," suggests Nelson. "We're not all about synthesizers and crazy effects to make our band sound weird," explains DiSanto. "A lot of our themes boil down to a hatred of humanity in this fast-paced world – how we're basically destroying the Earth by progressing so quickly." They're all for progress in metal, though – The genre seems to be getting brainier lately. "The stereotype is definitely shifting," theorizes DiSanto, "as opposed to back when I'd listen to the Dead Kennedys and Jello Biafra would shit-talk metal bands. But he was talking about Eighties hair metal jocks; now, it's not all about hair metal and chicks and partying and whatnot." "Yeah!" Nelson agrees. "Metal seems to be getting very far away from that these days – which is a good thing!"