Vex Red : Manchester Academy 3

The strong and persistent desire to rock seems to have been battered down to dull aggression...

What a difference a tectonic shift in the rock-time continuum makes. A year ago, Vex Red looked like the future. As Ross Robinson-produced,electro-flecked pushers of sleek UK metal, they had the potential to sweep away Stateside indulgences and take on the world. Since then, half the hemisphere has woken up to the fact that nu-metal is a bit shit, really and the Aldershot chancers find themselves in freefall.

By rights, this exile from fashion might have been all they needed to push them into proper psychosis and the big-league. But on their return home, the strong and persistent desire to rock seems to have been battered down to dull aggression.

A shame, because the riffs that are properly piledriving - 'Itch', the newie 'I Am Weightless' - are effortlessly great. At one point, singer Terry Abbot bemoans how "we were going to have a single out, but we're not anymore." We sympathise, really we do - but when you're setting yourselves up as prophetic harbingers of a forgotten generation, that kind of sulking just won't cut it.

Dan Martin

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