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Space Jammed - 71%

Tanuki, June 19th, 2019

They say science fiction is among the hardest genres to write effectively. Expressing abstract ideas to an audience, without stuffing it full of technobabble or leaving too much to the imagination, requires a lot of finesse. But does anyone appreciate all the hard work I put into my Xenomorph Queen X Male Reader fan-fiction? Nooo. By contrast, Vektor had several metric tons of appreciation dumped on their heads after Black Future, courtesy of jaded thrash fans thoroughly sick of the bad riffs, bad production, and bad Repka album covers that defined the NWOTM scene at the time.

Being the remarkable outlier that they were, and keen to show the world what they could do with a bigger budget, Vektor was no doubt feeling cocky. Outer Isolation, after all, was to be the flashy Hollywood blockbuster to Black Future's plucky cult classic. In this respect, I consider this album Vektor's Ride the Lightning; it bridges the gap between the raw emotion of what preceded it, and the melodramatic bombast that would follow. Trouble is, this album (unlike Ride the Lightning) came down with a bad case of George Lucas Syndrome. If you're lucky enough to not know what that means, allow me to depress you: it's when the writing quality becomes inversely proportional with the budget. Hope you enjoy those shiny and increasingly meaningless setpieces, because they're at the expense of overall coherency and memorability.

That's not to say this record is lacking distinction. Vektor still manages to capture the discordant, unsettling spirit of "man vs. machine" horror, embellishing songs with frightening harmonics and haywire thrash riffs that gallop and flail like downed power lines. To punctuate the mayhem, returning drummer Blake Anderson outdoes himself with a salvo of mindbending polyrhythms and hammering blastbeats. Unfortunately, the ever-shifting mirage of timekeeping highlights the biggest problem I have with this album. Ironically, it's the same thing I praised Black Future for.

The pacing of this album is a mess. Outer Isolation offers very little flow as it huffs and puffs from one bloated song to the next. This is in part due to many songs being pinched and repurposed from disparate demos, with 'Venus Project' dating all the way back to 2004's Nucleus. In addition, the pacing suffers from the arrant predictably of song structures as a whole. Atmospheric openers seemingly always transition to carefully timed mid-tempo grooves, which will then inevitably burst into a frenzied crescendo. This holds true for the first three tracks in a row, in addition to 'Dark Creations, Dead Creators' and the title track. For the amount of effort put into the constant, herky-jerk time signature changes, did no one notice that their overall mystique was being ruined by the incredibly predictable formula overall?

'Echoless Chamber' is particularly guilty of this. After the ten minute opener, three minutes of which spent entirely on building suspense, I didn't need the very next track to spend another two minutes doing the exact same thing but with shiftless noodling in the background. However, once this song finally picks up, it really picks up; the primary riff (though distractingly similar to Doom's 'E1M1') is monstrous, and the harmonizing fretwork that follows is very ambitious, reminding me of the techniques employed throughout 'Nostradamus' from Coroner's superb debut R.I.P. In a similar fashion, my personal favorite track from this album is the title track, which ebbs and flows naturally, fully earning its annihilative crescendo without feeling contrived.

It may not be entirely obvious based on what I've said so far, but I should mention the actual musicianship of Outer Isolation is top shelf. Some may say the grindy, mechanized production gives it a cold, sterile feeling, but I think that was the intention. (Just a hunch.) Speaking of things I should've mentioned a long time ago, the shrill squawks of David DiSanto were easily the most polarizing aspect of Vektor when they were first making tidal waves in the NWOTM scene. They're back in full force after Black Future, arguably even crazier than before. 'Tetrastructural Mind' offers some ballistic screams that sound like rubbing a balloon against a window pane. The warbling shrieks employed are appropriately eccentric for the riffing mayhem they complement, but I don't think they're as one-of-a-kind or game-changing as people like to claim. Because, y'know. I've heard of a band called Razor.

But I digress, and further, I come to the realization that I am ultimately insignificant in this cold, merciless vacuum of space. My opinions, my reviews, (and my fan-fiction entitled In Space, No One Can Hear You Cream) are but specks of dust in the cosmos, never to be unsettled again.

The Outer Limits Stretched and Violated - 96%

bayern, May 16th, 2018

Strangely enough, the band’s debut kind of passed me by the first time I got a hold of it some time in 2010 cause at the same time I came across three other works (Children’s “Hard Times…”, Abuser’s “Threats of Fate”, and Killem’s “Reflections of Decline”), all those masterful entries into the technical/progressive thrash roster which impressed me more, and I simply didn’t spend enough time with this larger-than-life futuristic, hyper-thrash saga.

But I had to go back and revisit it once the album reviewed here fell into my hands a year later, a stupendous work of complex metal art which did a lot to justify the guys’ very high status on the metal circuit at present. Although the debut can more or less squarely be described as “Darkane meets Destruction” with spacey Voivod-ish psychedelia casually provided, the expansion of the palette here is very audible making it hard for one to describe it with just three/four words…

The hyper-active base remains, though, as well as the guys’ penchant for lengthy sprawling cyber-sagas those clearly an acquired taste with their encompassing over-diverse character, but at least in the case of “Cosmic Cortex” the situation is strictly under control for a large part of its 10.5-min of playing time, the band bewitching the audience with an alluring serene intro before the intricate crescendos commence with virtuoso leads swirling around them, this delightful opera passing through a pleiad of moods and tempos, the only mitigated flaw being the misplaced deathy blast-beats which simply don’t belong here as the very dynamic delivery doesn’t need any additional push from them. The more compact, marginally more concrete side of their repertoire, however, is where things literally hit the top, like on “Echoless Chamber”, a mutated leftover from Destruction’s “Cracked Brain”, a creepy sinister shredder with twisting riffs and melodies, abrupt speedy “excursions” and astounding vortex-like decisions.

“Dying World” is a weird atonal mid-pacer with echoes of Mekong Delta, a serpentine cut which gradually picks speed until fast-paced fireworks become the norm again. The “Demolition” demo reminds of itself with “Tetrastructural Minds”, a fine progressive speedster ala Darkane with a bigger sense of melody (check out the extraordinary leads) exhibited throughout, the most linear proposition here with “Venus Project”, another piece from the same demo, a fabulous spastic technicaller with bold Coroner-esque strides recalling “Read My Scars” from “No More Color” except for the nice atmospheric serene mid-break. More balladic niceties at the start of “Dark Creations, Dead Creators”, an exemplary showdown of the “brief technical speedster” variety with just the right amount of elusive surreality covering the middle and followed by the most combustible headbanging stroke on the album. The last memory from the “Demolition” demo, “Fast Paced Society” features a couple of hellish piercing screams the mean “Schmier bit by vampire bats”-like vocals trying to play a bigger role on this shape-shifting number which weaves awe-inspiring perplexing riff-labyrinths, the balladic/semi-balladic digressions simplifying the approach a bit until a gorgeous moment of twisted atonality steals the show, and sends half the technical/progressive metal constellation into indefinite exile. A more labyrinthine, encompassing song-writing is still at play with the title-track, 8.5-min of ambitious progressive thrashisms which serve just fine to sum up the album, the hopping jumpy riffs taking turns with trippy psychedelic walkabouts with stunning clockwork regularity, the guys working like a well-polished machine, synchronizing their endeavours to the minutest click and tick, an amazing feat having in mind how many riff applications and time-signatures pass through their hands in a matter of seconds.

This album alone certifies the band’s golden status at the moment, a work of art which they may not ever be able to surpass. The term “cyber prog-thrash” can’t be defined any better than on this grand opus; Darkane again tried, but couldn’t quite bend it the more elaborate way, but it’s quite interesting to see how many newcomers have managed to produce something quite similar now that there’s a ready template to be followed: Dimesland, Torrefy, Droid, Vexovoid, Mandroid of Krypton, definitely another -oid that slips my mind right now… In other words, the (v)oid in this particular niche from the metal spectre has been filled in handsomely so the larger-than-life, multi-dimensional extreme progressive metal symphony that took place on “Terminal Redux” five years later shouldn’t come as such a surprise: the band had to look for other, extraterrestrial ways of expression in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The sky used to be the limit once upon a time for all walks of life, but in the case of our friends here it seems as though the latter’s outer limits have been reached, and even extended… I’m sure the guys don’t want to be hanging around somewhere up there, isolated from the more accessible, mortal ways of the music industry.

Enter the echoless chamber! - 91%

6CORPSE6GRINDER6, May 2nd, 2018

Hailed as one of the best bands from the thrash revival movement, Vektor’s style can be labeled as technical thrash metal with a strong progressive influence. The band’s sound however differs from any other bands of the same subgenre, old school or new wave. It doesn't sound like Watchtower or Toxik and it doesn't sound like Havok or Crisix. David DiSanto (guitarist and composer, the band's mastermind) managed to develop a unique songwriting style; mixing the traditional bay area sound with guitar synthesizers/effects and a Rush inspired use of scales that paint deep space sonic landscapes, very creative, he took all the points in that department but if I am obligated to use other bands as reference I'd rather say something more like Master of Puppets meets 2112.

2009’s Black Future, their debut album, ironically showed the band had a lot of potential and actually a bright path ahead. The musicianship from the other instrumentalists was also notable at first sight: the drummer’s executing dynamics are impeccable, a humanized machine. Elaborated cymbal work decorates every beat and the sense of musicality and logic used to define which tempo and beat matches every riff is extremely well thought. The bassist is sometimes forced to play different lines compared to the guitars because riffing is so technical that there aren't enough strings in a regular bass to play DiSanto’s crazy ideas, so he simplifies a little using lower octaves but mostly he follows the frantic guitar riffing, anchoring the rythm with the melody with full understanding of the instrument's role. The low end arrangements for calmed parts with clean arpeggios are interesting to the ear too, adding tension to the “wandering in space” atmosphere.

The guitar work is just as good or even better, weird chord arrangements are used to add glowing, acid and saturated neon colorations that feed the sci-fi lyrics. By absolutely mastering the fretboard, it feels sometimes that songwriting for this guy has no boundaries but his mind. Short guitar licks are present at the end of some verses, long instrumental sections feature leads that adorn already amusing riffs and the soloing is extremely memorable. This kind of playing is a dying art, you better appreciate now that it still exist. Vocals are amazing too, high pitched, raspy, sustain notes for several seconds perfectly tuned. Not the classic operatic heavy metal thing but still more technical compared with pure thrash usual vocalists.

Released just a couple of years later in 2011, Outer Isolation features the same line up and playing style with enhanced composition abilities and catchier material. There are even some blast beats thrown occasionally but riffs aren't normally built around that beat. The album is very constant overall but Echoless Chamber and Tetrastructural Minds -that “Life is liquid when we are young” chorus section double voiced by the guitars is killer- stand out as the best tracks of the record and the first hints of what was about to come with Terminal Redux, my personal favorite from the Arizona starlets. This phonogram is surely an interesting and worthy prequel to that instant classic.

The best new thrash band - 95%

Dungeon_Vic, January 16th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Heavy Artillery Records

With a (slight) dose of hyperbole, the "New Wave of Thrash Metal" scene, disappointingly often, sounds as if someone has placed inside a blender many different, tasty dishes (Metallica, Kreator, Exodus etc), blended them to the point of mush and emptied the result on a plate with a Repka cover and a Nuclear Assault logo. It can be very tasty, no argument there but how many times can you take the same thing? Let me put it in a different way. Masturbation is highly amusing but if you want to have children, you need someone else who is not you. Because thrash has stagnated and I don’t know for how much longer we’re gonna have albums like The Gathering, M-16, Tempo of the Damned or Ironbound to save the genre. We (as in we, the thrash fans) need new blood to take things forward and out of their boundaries, just like it happened back in the day. And no, The Haunted and Lamb of God or The Blackening (Machine head), no matter how great, are just not the same thing.

All that weirdness of an intro because I'd like to make some bold statements now. The first is that Vektor is the best thrash metal band right now out of all the new ones, meaning all bands formed from 2000 onwards. On a personal basis, I mean out of all those who were formed after the 80s. Which is not as bold as it sounds, it rather says more about the state of thrash metal the past 20 years. The second statement is that Black Future and Outer Isolation are respectively the best thrash metal albums from a band that did not record in the 80s.

We’re talking about infernal thrash metal that dips its toes into the technical death metal of the 90s pioneers, the black metal of later-era Emperor, progressive music regardless of age, which manages to sound incredibly coherent and hyper-intense at the same time. It’s not always the catchiest mix and apart from some dynamites, their songs (on Black Future included) need friction, repeated listens. Some songs (again from both albums), no matter how enjoyable – and they are, do not commit to memory without intensive listening sessions and that is the small issue that deprives them of the 0.5 for the perfect ten, which it has already gained in my fan’s mind, just like its predecessor.

The other small issue is the vocals. You are either gonna love the voice of mastermind / composer / singer / guitarist David DiSanto (right away or with a little getting used to it) or you’re going to say “leave it”. It’s a mixture of Chuck Schuldiner of the Sound of Perseverance era, with a rabid Schmier-of-old elations, Insahn grating, that belongs to the frontman of a black thrash band in a filthy club on Mos Eisley, Tatooine. I loved it from the very first moment but it’s definitely the deal breaker here.

If none of the above phased you, dive in. Cosmic Cortex, in ten minutes (of the catchy variety) had me noting “album of the year?” But when Echoless Chamber kicked in, along with the subsequent repeats in numbers I hadn’t reached in years, I simply erased the question mark. I dub it the “hit song” of the album, half mid-tempo, nightmarishly delicious with its robotic sinister groove, it breaks out at the two minute mark in the best speed/thrash metal I’ve heard in a long time. And in the middle of all that mayhem they throw in a pure melodic prog metal section as well (always full on frenzy of course).

Expect to hear a band amazingly tight, where every member is a highly-skilled player. Compositions that are bold, fresh and perfected, whether they are the proper versions of their demo songs (for the fans: oh, they are, Fast Paced Society has blackened a bit but it rips and Tetrastructural Minds has achieved godly status), or new material that is burning hot. You will also find grand moments in the self-titled song, which combines speed metal with black metal of the most epic intentions.

Finally, two words about the production. Excellent. Modern, highly serving, crystal-clear, powerful and most importantly, original and anti-plastic. The more deathly awesome the album is, the more the sound resonates with life. Vektor has already taken a prominent place in the scene, two consecutive awesome albums have always been excellent credentials in thrash (think about it). Looking at the appetite and determination that DiSanto and the rest of the guys exert however, I think we haven’t even started yet.

Check also: Aspid - Extravasation (1992) - Russian tech-thrash, very obscure, very much worth it and a crucial element to the Vektor sound.

Originally published in Greek in Metal Hammer Greece, December 2011

Vektor - Outer Isolation - 97%

Goldensundown, April 12th, 2014

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 inhuman 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.

Outstanding - 100%

cowman54, January 4th, 2014

I first stumbled on to Vektor when I was browsing through youtube looking for new bands. Thank God I found them, because this is one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. Vektor manages to weave an onslaught of progressive thrash riffs and unique blast beats with sic-fi lyrics that belong in a Star Wars movie. "Outer Isolation" thematically illustrates the story of a man lost in space, with nothing to but think about life and reflect on the cosmos that surround him. Seems boring, right? Think again. The eight face-ripping tracks on this sci-fi thrash ballad rip apart any notion of generic thrash, a cliche sci-fi plot, or any elongated progressive metal solos that would bore a listener. No. Vektor recreates all of that, and blends it all into a chamber pot to create something completely new. Unlike it's predecessor "Black Future", "Outer Isolation" also has slower, more symphonic passages that keep the listener engaged (not to say that "Black Future" wasn't also awesome). The instrumental passage on "Tetrastructural Minds", for example, counter balances the speeding riff monster that is the rest of the song, that keeps things fresh. Another example is the introduction on "Venus Project".

Another great thing about Vektor is DiSantos vocal power. His voice is reminiscent of the late Chuck Schuldiner. However, his blackened death metal vocals make the Vektor an especially unique thrash band. It sets them apart from many other great new wave thrash bands such as Havok, Warbringer, Lich King, and Evile. The eight bone shattering tracks include "Cosmic Cortex", "Echoless Chamber", "Dying World", "Tetrastructural Minds", "Venus Project", "Dark Creations, Dead Creators", "Fast Paced Society", and the stunning title track, which together make a 52 minute masterpiece. The guitar work is great as well. Erik Nelson delivers fast riffs with progressive elements that keep the listener interested, and also manages to display his potential in slower passages. And DiSantos rhythm guitar work is fantastic as well. The two parts weave together like dueling dragons from outer space. They space being the bass parts of Frank Chin, that are like a melodic ocean that the rest of the music swims in. The bass here is essential to the album. And I don't even have to mention the drums. Blake Anderson does an incredible job using technical death blast beats and infusing them with thrash metal. It works. They all break at the right times, they change tempo in sync, it's just beautifully done. The album is honestly perfect. I can't think of anything I would change. The production is also just as it should be; not overproduced, but it's certainly not a black metal demo that some teenager made in a basement. It's a balanced recording that sounds great, but doesn't let go of the human (or in this case alien) element that makes the album relatable. The technical skill of the musicians is also complimented by the intelligent lyrics, that actually included one or two words that I had to look up.

If I could, I'd rate the album higher than 100 because it exceeds all standards and abstractions of what an album is. I look forward to Vektors next album, and everything else that their long career has in store for them.

Vektor - Outta This World - 90%

ThrashManiacAYD, January 26th, 2013

It would appear I was a little slow on the uptake with the rise of Philadelphia tech-thrashers Vektor; "Outer Isolation" is the second superlative release of theirs, which originally released in 2011 has only recently come to my attention thanks to the tip of a friend and this reissue courtesy of Earache. The 'retro-thrash' scene, which has noticeably (and thankfully) declined in size in recent times, produced a barrage of acts so intent on (r)aping the music and fashion style of their 80s heroes while ignoring any demands for innovation that I can confidently claim Vektor to be hands down the finest band to emerge from under that dubious tag. Infact, even labelling them as such feels an insult to the skill, integrity and drive found in these eight tracks for "Outer Isolation" is more than the end point of a scene focussed on historical revivalism, it could well be the starting point of a new, intensely technical thrash metal evolution worshipping the quality of this band and album.

Ten minute opening tracks aren't the norm in thrash, but "Cosmic Cortex" isn't the norm. Welcome to the futuristic world Vektor project through their imagery and lyrics where off-kilter riffs crash head-on into the strained screeches of David DiSanto and subversive rhythms flow in the blood off all those it inhabits. The atmospheric spacey sounds which herald the opening breed into the clean chords of a single guitar and not before long, jarring fractured riffs of the like rarely heard outside the domains of tech thrash lords Voivod or Coroner. Retro-thrash has uptil now simply been an arms race - he who riffs the fastest wins and all that, but not until now has a band thought to distribute the fast palm-muted riffs between jagged rhythmic guitar and drum passages and mini solos which shout out at the listener like projectiles from a passing space drone. This is bringing the danger and unexpected back into thrash, the way it always was, after a period when it became as predictable as any vacuous chart-dwelling pop act.

"Cosmic Cortex" boasts several interlocking sections where Vektor make great usage of both guitars and bass as they head off separately from one another before all returning to basefor the song's furious chorus. "Echoless Chambers" displays a keen sense for building tension as tempos gently rise and fall in the opening three minutes before a volley of solos, which remind of those in Megadeth's classic "Hangar 18", and some brilliant drumrolls from Blake Anderson deliver the song to greatness. "Tetrastructural Minds" bursts forth from a whiplash-inducing scream from DiSanto into some of the fastest moments on the album; I am struck by the virtuosity of many of the riffs that follow as both the speed and more pronounced bridge section interlock to provide so much in the songs' five minutes. "Venus Project" boasts a middle section that ups the sci-fi quotient, both in tone of the vertiginous solos and the jazzy chill-out we are granted. "Dark Creations, Dead Creators", the shortest and most direct of the eight songs, brings to mind some of the fastest segments of Death Angel's "The Ultra-Violence" (a classic all of it's own); "Fast Paced Society" is not afraid to use the blastbeat in between flashes of neck board dexterity and an intriguing pattern of tempering the frantic procession with chanted dissonant vocals, while the closing title track describes the band in one: deep and considered but with an explosive edge and desire to rip your head off at twenty paces.

As befits all bands at the top of their game best use is made of a production job which allows them to stand out - the bass is plentifully apparent, the drums comfortably real sounding and the vocals a nasally shriek far removed from the standard thrash shout/howl, but it is the sharpened clarity of the guitar tones where the benefits of a band having matured through three demos over a 5 year period really shines through. These have created an already recognisable 'Vektor sound', a vital ingredient in the desire for longevity.

Bold albums demand bold statements. Vektor are the best thrash band out there right now. Take it from me you don't want to miss out any longer.

Originally written for

Vektor - Outer Isolation - 95%

Orbitball, January 14th, 2013

This is my 1st hearing of progressive thrash metal and man does this album feature some amazing guitar work! A lot of the album features heavy, distorted guitar, but also clean bit overtures that accompany it. Probably the best release that I've heard in awhile. While a lot of thrash metal bands are just putting out monotonous material which shows no progression from one album to the next, Vektor packs a punch with their such luminosity to their songwriting.

Lyrical content is sci-fi, but relevant to the music. A lot of the guitar riffs feature high amounts of tremolo picking, some chord progressions and a lot of high quality/well played solos. Amazingly fast, they're played and played with such precision. A highly underrated band that is not too well known yet, but I'm hoping that they will be in the future. This their 2nd album already and they've been around since 2004. Not everyone digs progressive thrash metal, but this band is an exception.

No way can this album put you to sleep because the guitar work is so well played and advanced totally. If you're a guitar player, the riffs are lightning fast to the point to that you have to be pretty advanced playing-wise to be able to replicate the songs. Only 8 tracks on this release, but it's over 51 minutes in length. Definitely a band that's ahead of its time. If you're into metal heavily, don't miss out on this album. I was skeptical upon the 1st few listens as well, but as I heard it more and more, everything fit.

The vocals are a bit raspy, however they do go well with the music. I'm not a huge fan of David DeSanto's screaming, but like I previously said, it fits the music pretty well. They're a 4-piece act for now and a band that really needs to be more well known. Progressive thrash metal I think is a newer genre and Vektor tackles it with such enthusiasm. I'd say that the music is the highlight of the album because there is so much variety in the songwriting plus the lyrics go well with the guitar mastery.

One of the best live bands that I've heard in a while. They definitely need more support from fans. An amazingly talented band and the progressive thrash metal just flows with each song. They do need an official website, not just Facebook, My Space or Twitter. This band is really struggling I think financially, but their current label is Earache. So they must be making some impact on the metal community. I've been trying to spread the word about them and many metalheads need to hear this album!

If you want to hear metal played in an outstanding fashion, pick this up. You won't be disappointed. It may take a few listens to like it did for me, but I think that it's an album that you can't get sick of. I have yet to hear their debut release, but this one got high ratings along with their 1st full-length. Don't buy it from Amazon, maybe go through a metal distribution to pick it up at a way lower price. I definitely was intrigued with the advanced playing and very satisfied to what this album has to offer.

Vektor - Outer Isolation - 80%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

Vektor are one of those bands that have been inspiring excitement since they first began releasing music. With vicious musicianship, complex composition and a futuristic sci-fi theme, Vektor recall the glory days of Voivod. Although I rarely call myself a fan of thrash metal, I fully admit that I jumped on the fan bandwagon shortly after hearing their debut, 'Black Future'. 'Outer Isolation' is now the band's second full-length effort, and here they have emphasized some of the things I liked so much about the original, namely their technicality and progressive approach. Sure enough, Vektor have proven that they aren't simply a one-album wonder anymore.

Voivod, Watchtower, and Coroner are all bands that pop into mind when listening to Vektor. As part of this thrash revival movement that's been going on over the past couple of years, Vektor have chosen to represent the technical end of the genre. Although the music here can be just as fast as your typical Slayer song, there is alot more going on in terms of musicianship. With particular regards to the guitar work, there is an impressive attention to keeping things complex. Best of all, the band sacrifices none of their intensity as a result. What we have ultimately is a band manages to take the thrash aggression and marry it perfectly with progressive ambition.

A staple of Vektor's sound has always been the hear-it-to-believe-it voice of frontman David DiSanto. His vocals usually take one of two forms; either a black metal rasp, or an ear- piercing falsetto. The raspy vocals generally take up most of the time, but it's when DiSanto uses his range where it becomes easy to be impressed. The vocals this time around do not have the same shock value as they did on 'Black Future', and though DiSanto attempts to broaden the scope of his vocals with some half-hearted cleans, part of what made DiSanto's vocals so intense on the debut was that they were fresh. Here, the vocals are still spot-on and impressive, but it's largely the same tricks that were pulled with the debut.

'Outer Isolation's musical complexity and technical approach to thrash metal is a bold and consistently impressive achievement. Although it may not be as instantly exciting as 'Black Future', it's definitely a musical improvement over the predecessor, sharpening their musical skills and upping the techy direction to new extremes. If there are any complaints, it would be that each of the songs sound too much alike; although each is immaculately performed and brilliantly composed, the speed and intensity feels somewhat like deja vu by the time this album is over. Regardless, I think the most important thing here is that Vektor cannot be considered anymore to be a band who put out one great album, but rather an act dedicated to releasing consistently impressive music. Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest thrash albums of the new millennium.

Technical majesty from outer space - 90%

kluseba, February 26th, 2012

After an already promising first strike, Vektor make another step forward with the release of their second professional full length output.

The band focuses even more on their technical qualities and a strong progressive touch in their music that have some similarities to many famous progressive extreme metal bands such as Absu, Opeth or Voivod. Especially the calm and introspective songs like "Venus Project" create a chilling contrast on this record to the wilder and spacier tracks such as the amazing "Fast Paced Society" or the great album closer and worthy title track "Outer Isolation". The only weaker tracks are in the beginning of the record as they are rather traditional straight forward blackened thrash metal songs that don't exploit the whole talent and creativity of this promising band.

Musically, there are a lot of positive elements to discover on this record. The vocals have improved since the last record and sound more controlled and yet diversified. The singer always convinces when he experiments a little bit with his voice as in the album highlight "Fast Paced Society" that sounds a lot like Voivod. In general, the vocals sound blackened but sometimes also quite spacey and vary from wild and somewhat repetitive shrieks to great and energizing blackened thrash vocals.

The guitars are simply amazing on this album. They deliver us sharp and simple riffs that you won't forget but also quite strange and discordant sounds that fit the lyrical topics in an excellent way. The riffs are always atmospheric and create a lot of images in my mind, especially in the calm or mid-tempo instrumental passages.

The bass guitar is very dominant on the record which is a very positive thing and adds a dark and uneasy feeling to the entire sound complex of the Arizonan band. Even though the bass guitar fits to the drum patterns and the weird guitar riffs, the sound of the instrument is quite distinctive and has an original touch. I would like to listen to more metal bands that use the sound of a bass guitar in such a great way as Vektor know to do.

The drumming is also flawless on this album and varies a lot without using too many blast beats. From pitiless speed rhythms in the thrash passages to tribal sections in some song introductions or the use of cymbals in the calmer and progressive tones and middles parts of the tunes, this record includes a whole variety of different techniques and manages to never get boring on one side but also to not sound too head struck and technical on the other side.

In the end, this is a very solid record from a technical and creative point of view. The only thing that I criticize are the first three songs that can't keep up with the amazing rest and the fact that the band failed to write a catchy killer track that really stands out and might be easier to approach than the rest. This album requests a lot of concentration, patience and time but is worth to be discovered. If the band manages to write a hit and leave out the simple thrash tracks in the beginning of their records, they might soon create a masterpiece and get the attention and feedback they already deserve from the metal scene to play in one league or take the heritage of Absu, Voivod and the other big names.

Album Review 1: Vektor - Outer Isolation - 92%

THTPOOPBEDROOPN, November 27th, 2011

I think it's fair to say, 'Outer Isolation' is one of, if not the best, thrash album of 2011. Joining the likes of Megadeth, Anthrax, Onslaught and Toxic Holocaust, are Arizona's Vektor.

Vektor's latest release, 'Black Future', created quite a stir in the metal world. With such an amazing combination of black metal and thrash metal, it had a lot of spacey themes which is all backed up with a lot of technical prowess. Definitely not an easy album to follow-up on, and Vektor had a lot of work to do if they did not want to sound tasteless and stale on this new album.

'Outer Isolation' contains some very noticeable changes. In brief, Vektor have created a typically classic thrash metal album, without repeating themselves all too much. This album defines Vektor's style as a melodic, dynamic, very focused and straight forward brand of thrash metal. One of the issues with 'Black Future', is that it did not contain much variety between songs. Fortunately, such issues do not appear on this album.

What makes this album different from previous releases, is the increase of slower and melodic passages. These parts defnitely show more focus, and sound like they have more purpose in the songs, and make for a much more interesting listen. The softer parts sometimes steal the show, however, with the intro to opening track, 'Cosmic Cortex' lasting for almost three minutes, but these moments are mostly shortlived and cut back to the fast, pounding riffs.

One of the album's highlights, 'Tetrastructural Minds', contains one of the best melodic pieces on the album. The song seems to be going at the speed of light, and then goes slow motion, with a destructively-beautiful melodic guitar solo. Even the faster leads on this song are sounding more melodic. On 'Outer Isolation', Vektor have masterfully worked leads into their verses and choruses, making the songs a lot more tight. 'Outer Isolation' is definitely not the heaviest album this band have ever released, but is one of the more skilled, technical and varied records Vektor have put out.

David Disanto has one of the more unique vocals in metal. His voice in like a black metal-wretch, but is a lot more higher pitched, and his voice definitely sounds more raspy this time around. The crazy, high-pitched screams that you could only sometimes hear on 'Black Future', are very pre-dominant on 'Outer Isolation'. Especially on the track 'Tetrastructural Minds', where Disanto performs screams that seem impossible for any person to emit, let alone from a mature gentleman. Disanto is also very varied in his vocal approach as well, he can be very narrative, and incorporates a few more lower growls into some songs.

Somtimes, the material on 'Outer Isolation' can sound very similar to 'Black Future', but that is a very small complaint, and does not ruin this album's chance of being thrash album of the year. Vektor are one of the best underrated bands in metal, and if they could get the recognition they deserve, they could be cited as one of the best and heaviest bands in modern rock music.

Arizona's Got Talent: Now Casting - 88%

autothrall, November 22nd, 2011

Having conquered the modern US thrash scene within the span of a single album, Vektor have built tremendous expectations for its follow-up that they have more or less met with Outer Isolation. I'm not going to come out and say that this is a better album than Black Future, because there are a few tracks in which my attention seems to disappear more readily than others. But it's damned well rounded, tightly sprung, flawlessly executed progressive death/thrash which holds the riff on high about everything else. Edge and elegance are wrought from the band's science fiction extrapolations, and once again they have successfully meshed the vision of Voivod, the stern and vicious vocal energy of the Teuton gods Destruction, and the hyperactive pulse of Florida's death/thrash pioneers Atheist and Hellwitch into a pulse pounding fusion.

It doesn't start out on its best footing, but the creative ledge is wide enough that "Cosmic Cortex" never comes close to plummeting over the side. Eerie, clean guitars are matched with sprinkles of ambient feedback as they erupt into a shifting haze of Voivod-like dissonance and pure force via classic Destruction, with some thrifty melodic tremolo bursts. This is a better thrash song than most other bands will release this year, and yet it's nowhere near a highlight of the album. I was actually surprised at just how much I loved the new renditions of their earlier tracks from the Demolition demo. "Tetrastructural Minds" sounds 100% improved, with rabid spasms of bass, alien cleans, and inspiring, melodic spikes that show the Arizonian's mastery of complex, compositional considerations. The once latent beauty of "Venus Project" is also brought to the fore here, with its amazing, plucky intro evoking the perfect inauguration to the slicing rhythms inherent to the verse, and those wild descending dual-melodies in the bridges. "Fast Paced Society" is also dragged out of the dust, though I didn't like the song quite as much as its peers.

Highlights of the newer crafted material include "Dying World" with its bass-driven, almost space surf-worthy intro, extraterrestrial melodies interspersed with angry, mid-paced thrash chugging and vocals that feel like Schmier if he'd been placed in solitary confinement for a few months. I love the way the riffs shift at the 2 minute mark, so groovy and almost industrial in their precision. "Dark Creations, Dead Creators" also achieves much in its briefer, 3:25 run, from a moody intro to a number of biting riffs as it gradually accelerates. It would also be remiss not to mention just how good the closing title track is. Granted, it's not as 'epic' or stretched out as the 10+ minute opener "Cosmic Cortex", but "Outer Isolation" really develops that feeling of being lost in some unfathomable void, first with the slow accumulation of its saturated, almost folksy electrics, and then a twisting vortex of riffing that recalls all of the progressive German thrash masters like Paradox, Deathrow and Vendetta. Fucking marvelous.

Vektor might have lost its element of surprise here, after spinning the world around with their proper debut Black Future, and I don't really think Outer Isolation progresses that album's formula in any heavily noticeable way. This is more a stride in production, since I felt that the guitars were thicker and even more punchy than before, and the vocals even more effective if they're mildly less dramatic. To an extent, this album 'plays it safe' with the prior's formula, but only as safe as manic space-thrash could ever be. That said, Vektor once again deserves the accolades it reaps due to the fact that they take this music so seriously. That they do such a knock out job in both writing and production, and that they don't treat thrash with the same abusive, derivative lack of grasp that so many of their peers do. Sure, you can trace this band's roots to a number of others, but how they merge them is indisputably unique.

Thrash and death metal have always been enormous inspirations for me personally, and I make no jest that the former is probably my favorite of metal's sub-genres. So it's a distinct honor to have a band like Vektor taking the music forward without taking the piss, and Outer Isolation, even if it's not perfect, is another formidable exhibition of intelligent craftsmanship and unbridled energy which will sate expectations and attention spans time and time again.