Vektor – Outer Isolation (2011)

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Holy shit. This is some of the most intense and interesting progressive thrash metal I’ve heard. Vektor is definitely the most interesting band to have come out of the new thrash wave that was popular in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s, playing a sort of proggy thrash metal that takes heavily from Voivod and Obliveon while retaining a rather large originality. Outer Isolation, Vektor’s sophomore studio effort, further solidifies this position that they managed to create with their debut, Black Future.

The 8 songs on this album surround the theme of a man lost in space and the thoughts that race through his head as he deals with his situation and human existence. The songs are somewhat lengthy, with 5 tracks at 5-6 minutes in length and 3 tracks running at 3, 8 and 10 minutes.

Each song flows between intense, headbang inducing thrash and non-pretentious proggy sections which is lead by some immaculate, shredding leads, catchy rhythms, encapsulating bass and intense drumming (blast beats and otherwise). And those vocals, my god those vocals; David DiSanto’s vocals have to be the most notable thing about Vektor purely because of the sheer absurdity of the pitch and tone that he screams out. There are numerous times throughout this album that the vocals seem to extend into sheer unhuman highs, including the vocal intro to Tetrastructral Minds (video below) which, no exaggeration, is this generation’s Angel of Death (in regards to that scream). What these vocals manage to do is to not only retain a level of intensity that the riffing and drumming invokes but also manage to remain surprisingly intelligible, catchy (thanks to some superior song writing) and awe-inspiring, layering the album with more outstanding elements to whack Vektor ahead of the re-thrash mob.

The instrumentation during the thrashy parts of the songs (as mentioned above many times) is intense and will do more than just satisfy any person who deems themselves a thrasher while the proggy sections actually complement the thrash parts well, retaining a level of intensity and strangeness (the intro to Venus Project for example) that Voivod would be proud of, and at their least intense manage to keep above pretension and produce the most haunting sections of this album. It is all tied in extremely well with a solid level of production quality that sits perfectly with the type of music Vektor plays (which needs a high production to not drown any instrument out) without breaching into over polished.

There’s nothing really overtly wrong with this album (nor the debut for that matter), although the vocals will be a surprise for anyone expecting basic thrash vocals since they combine elements of black metal shrieks, thrash shouts and inhumane screams.

This album is perfect for anyone craving Voivod inspired progressive and intense thrash and is highly recommended for anyone who is seeking a little more out of the new thrash movement (that is dying off at the time of writing). Seriously watch this space for more killer Vektor releases, these guys should have some sick stuff up their sleeves.

 

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