REVIEW: VITJA – “Digital Love”
The past few years have seen the metal world become glutted by bands that one way or another can be said to play a “djent” style of metal. So many, in fact, that one begins to wonder if any new, young band will ever try something new that we haven’t all heard a thousand times. Into the ring saying that they do so steps Vitja, a young band who have only been together a few years, and they are releasing their sophomore full length album (they did one EP as well) titled ‘Digital Love’ complete with artwork of an inverted heart filled with binary code. The idea being the modern world has turned all of us, and our relationships, upside down, largely to the ever present technology that makes up the modern world. As for the music doing something new; well let’s just say it’s about as original as the art work and the idea behind it.
The album starts with “SCUM” and the standard chugging of guitars and rolling of drums that we are all so used to begins, followed with growled vocals, before they add a bit of keyboard and light pop melody, before introducing the clean vocals as well. And they do it all in less than three minutes. That pretty well sums up the entire album. Now there’s nothing bad about the songs per se, and guitarist Vladimir Dontschenko, bassist Mario Metzler, and drummer Daniel Pampuch clearly know how to play their instruments; but that’s par for the course with this style of music, but there’s nothing on it to in any way to lift them above anyone else in the genre. The growls sound fine, albeit a bit on the whiny side, and the clean vocals are about on the same level with singer David Beule, straining over the bouncy melodies to hit his notes. It’s all fairly standard fare. And lyrically the songs mostly focus on complaining about relationships, be it romantic relationships, with parents, God, whomever. Now it’s true that everyone and their second cousin’s half uncle have written songs about all of the above for centuries. But the recent trend seems to be to do so in the most whiney and uninteresting way possible. Perhaps it’s a Millennial thing, but then everything seems to get blamed on them, and I can be thankful to have been born a few years early enough to avoid the label.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh on these guys. They are still a very young band, with a lot to prove. But that is probably my biggest issue with the album, the whole thing simply sounds juvenile, musically, and lyrically especially. Frankly I haven’t been this bored with a heavy album in years. And with an album that their label labeled “experimental” that’s an unforgivable sin, not to mention an insult to all the bands out there who actually put out challenging, and experimental music. And the production is fairly thin as well, and lacks any real kick in the teeth, which they’re clearly going for. On the plus side, the keyboards and electronic elements are a nice touch, and keep it from being a total paint by numbers affair. On a whole though I think they’re aiming at a very different audience than I am a part of. I don’t know what audience that is, but I imagine they’re young, still live at home, and like safe, easily digested music.
In short, Vitja have with ‘Digital Love’ put out a safe, fairly generic djent inspired piece of music. Although there’s nothing egregious about the album, there’s nothing here that the average metal fan hasn’t heard a hundred times over the past few years, and usually with more interesting results. Perhaps in a few years and with more maturity they’ll make an interesting and original statement, but this most certainly wasn’t it. Personally, I’m not holding my breath.