Niels Vejlyt - The Predator
Ronin Records
Neoclassical Guitarwork Showcase
11 songs (43:44)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Al

Just for the record, I’m a guitarist. Once you’ve taken some time to absorb this monumental fact into your consciousness, you can prepare yourself to absorb another one: I’m not very good. There are probably reasons for this, such as lack of practice, lack of talent or a higher power that has already ordained that I have better things to achieve than becoming a famous musician (cleaning porta-loos for a living for instance). Whatever the case it has blessed me with the ability to do one thing, and that is to distinguish readily guitarists that possess all of the attributes which I do not. Guitarists that can play faster, play cleaner and at the drop of a hat hit chord progressions and scales that would take me 3 weeks to play let alone master. Niels Vejlyt is one of these guitarists.

After you’ve finished rejoicing over the fact that I’ve finally got to the point, also know this. While a musician may have the ability and talent to create the most unbelievably complex and incredible sounds and chord progressions from their chosen instrument, it does not necessarily mean that they are any good at writing songs. Unfortunately, once again our friend Mr Vejlyt fits the bill.

The Predator is Vejlyt’s first solo release after playing in a variety of bands, I must confess none of which I’ve ever heard. The entire record is comprised of instrumental numbers featuring the man himself on guitar, accompanied by a bassist, a drummer and a keyboard player. While the music is described by Vejlyt as neoclassical metal, aside from a rare few moments throughout I completely fail to see where the metal side of the musical spectrum comes into it. Obviously this is not a bad thing in itself, I thought I would just offer a warning for those of you who run away screaming if they hear something without crashing distorted guitars and blast beats. The music bears far more in common with actual classical music than with any form of metal. This is due to both what Vejlyt plays and how he plays it. Almost all of the tracks involve Veljyt playing what sound like ascending and descending arpeggios at immense speed and this ends up sounding at times more like a frantically played violin than a guitar. While this is immediately impressive, and would invoke enormous kudos and admiration if inserted into the appropriate song, listening to forty five minutes of it feels like sticking your head in a blender. (Don’t try that at home kiddies)

The main, overwhelming problem with this album is the tracks are not really songs. Instead they come across more like guitar showcases and thus not something you really want to plug into your stereo and rock out or chill out to. Every track gives off the overwhelming atmosphere of having something missing. This something missing is not vocals, take for example a band like Pelican who can create dense and beautiful soundscapes and a distinct mood or atmosphere without the need of a single word and you realise that what this album is missing is atmosphere and emotion. While Vejlyt’s playing is pretty amazing, the music itself comes across as far too clinical. There is nothing that sucks you in and makes you listen and in turn this makes the whole experience entirely unmemorable. Additionally this is not helped by the fact that the other musicians in the band come across as sub par. The drummer seems to be content in supplying a similar monotonous and bass heavy beat to almost every track while the keyboardist’s contributions, especially on the last track Moto Perpetuo, verge on the annoying. Combine this with some inconsistent and at times plain awful production and you are left with a less than appealing musical offering.

The overwhelming conclusion I gain after my experience with this CD is that Niels Vejlyt is misusing his talent. He’s more than proved that he is an amazing guitar player but he has also proved that he is more than a little lacking in the song writing department. I feel he would contribute far more to the musical landscape if he attached himself and his mighty guitar skills to a band, blending his expertise with that of others in their instruments of choice and accentuating the music as opposed to his guitar work being the whole package. Until such a time that he does that, this is definitely one to avoid.

Killing Songs :
What are these mythical 'songs' that you speak of?
Al quoted 35 / 100
Other albums by Niels Vejlyt that we have reviewed:
Niels Vejlyt - Sthenic reviewed by Joel and quoted 84 / 100
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