Valencia’s Y3K seem a little ahead of their time, hailing the year 3000 in their name, but while their sound is anything but old-fashioned, futuristic they are not. The foundation for their sound is Black Metal, no question, but they do not make it that easy for the listener, as they do not take a simple approach to the genre, quite the contrary, their compositions are less reminiscent of a straight highway through grim plains (as much of the raw, traditional Black Metal is) nor a lush and wide road through rich landscape (as the more symphonic bands do), instead the songs on their debut full-length “Retribution” remind me of a river, meandering and winding and with that either giving the listener the exhilaration of unpredictability or the ultimate nausea of motion sickness.
The source of the river, intro “Roba El Khaliyeh” is epic, with a light oriental touch to it, before it quickly turns into a rapidly flowing, strongly winding mix of whitewater rapids and some relaxing calmer waters, providing the listener with a less than smooth ride through the almost 36 minutes of this album. Y3K’s Black Metal is spiced up with elements from Death Metal, Power Metal, Gothic Metal and Progressive Metal, very orchestral and very complex, at times reminding me of a mix of newer DIMMU BORGIR, BORKNAGAR and even more breaks added to the mixture, resulting in an at times mind-boggling aural assault that shows competency in crafting complex compositions, but sometimes overshooting the goal and crossing over into the realm of pure confusion by overdoing the complexity instead of focusing on the song itself.
Where “The Creeping Chaos” channels their creative explosions into interesting paths by incorporating light choir, female vocals and changing tempos into their blistering array of sonic attacks, “Domo Arigato Gozai Mahita” loses track of the red line more than once, making things sound more like a mess than a demanding song, something that again happens at the end of “A Land Unknown For All”, which other than that is one of the strongest tracks with its nice power and in the chorus female vocals and even a canon.
The Spaniards show a lot of promise and talent on “Retribution”, but seem a little impetuous at times to display what they are capable of, overshooting and overdoing what is good for them. If you can live with dizzying complexity and sometimes extreme orchestration, by all means give these guys a chance, but if you like your music to be more accessible and as something that you can listen to in the background, stay away from this, because you will not get what you wished for.
(Online September 9, 2007)