Heavy Artillery Records
Progressive/Technical Thrash Metal
Bored of all the old-school thrash metal revivalist bands, hearing of Vektor‘s debut full length album Black Future last year, a charming take on old school thrash metal with a more modern vibe, was definitely welcoming, with that album taking the metal world by storm, and many claiming it to be a masterpiece that the metal world has been waiting for. This year sees the band releasing their long-awaited follow-up album, Outer Isolation, and it definitely leaves one to wonder if the band is able to meet the high expectations that are placed upon them.
Album opener Cosmic Cortex puts the listener in the right setting, bringing the listener to a futuristic setting as a clean guitar line intro comes in, uncharacteristic of the band’s style as presented on Black Future, but nevertheless ensures that listeners are kept interested in what the band has put in place. As the rest of the instruments enter, the improved and fuller production quality in the music becomes immediately apparent, and this is a nice touch to the music of Vektor and brings out the essence of the music more fully than before. The introductory track already gives listeners what to expect for the rest of the album to come, with the odd time signatures that the band loves playing at, and the technical display on the individual instruments promising a fun ride for technical metal junkies. It does not take long before vocalist David comes in, and his screechy style of vocals is immediately recognisable, providing a different sound to the band compared to other thrash metal bands.
Each and every instrument present on the album deserves a good listen to, considering the amount of effort and thought that has seemingly been placed on every note by guitarists David and Erik, bassist Frank and every hit on the drums by Blake. Drummer Blake especially caught my attention, with his effortless transition between drumming styles, from a simple beat to a sudden blast-beat section to a simple beat again on tracks like Cosmic Cortex, and also through the complex foot work despite the seemingly simple beats on his arms. Guitarists David and Erik also constantly litter the music with lots of lead guitar lines, and unlike many who overdo this, the band puts in just the right amount, ensuring that not a single moment is left over-saturated with ideas, choosing instead to spread these out over the whole course of the albums, serving listeners their ingenuity in bite-sized chunks. The fact that for the most part of the album, the two guitars are doing different stuff also keeps things interesting, making them stand out from their numerous other thrash metal counterparts. The guitarists also display their versatility, playing in a whole range of different musical styles, and this can be seen on songs like Tetrastructural Minds, probably one of the most melodic songs that the band has written thus far.
One thing that is noted here right from album opener Cosmic Cortex is that the band, on this record, has chosen to slow down slightly, compared to the urgency that is present on their debut, Black Future. Songs like Echoless Chamber even sees the track travelling at a mid-pace tempo for at least half the song before picking up to their usual speed, showing that the band is more than just speed and wankery. While the slowdown in their speed certainly put me off slightly, the album began to get more enjoyable as it progressed, picking up speed as it went along to satisfy the demands fans of the band’s older material, with songs like Tetrastructural Minds sounding like it could come off Black Future. Of course, having these slower moments and progressive moments does not mean that the band has forsaken their original thrash metal roots, as references from various thrash metal acts can be found throughout the album, managing to capture the attention of and satisfy old school thrash fans as well.
With Outer Isolation, Vektor has perfected the art that they have crafted with their debut album, Black Future, and watching the band progress and transform (slightly) has definitely been a satisfying experience, and definitely leaves one craving for more even after numerous listens on loop.