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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.