Vektor - _Outer Isolation_
(Heavy Artillery Records, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8.5 out of 10)
Sweet merciful Christ, I am glad this is out. No other album, at least this year, has caused me to feel so much anticipation and excitement. Vektor is an Arizona thrash band who has been making their way slowly out of obscurity and positioning themselves at the forefront of new thrash metal. The band's 2009 release _Black Future_ was mind blowing, and their follow-up _Outer Isolation_ was only promising to be greater. The opening ten minute track on _Outer Isolation_ builds for 1 minute and 45 seconds before blasting off into the outer reaches of space. Fuck yeah, Vektor. Go!

One of my biggest complaints about thrash metal has been the style's inability to progress past its formative roots. Even new waves of thrash merely throw back to the raucous time period of the mid-'80s. There have been few instances of genuine change to mirror the progressive developments of doom, black and death metal. Vektor has been trying to change this. With a rich template of technical melodies combined with deep science fiction imagery, the band's albums have been nothing short of phenomenal. Thank the space deities, _Outer Isolation_ continues in this tradition.

_Outer Isolation_ is very similar to _Black Future_, though with subtle changes. _Outer Isolation_ is relatively light, as its running time is almost twenty minutes shorter than the previous work. This means instances of ten minute running times only come once rather than three like on the previous record. I only bring this up as Vektor shines when allowed to stretch their legs. The progressive nature of the music is allowed to create dense metropolises on alien landscapes. This is beautifully done in the opener "Cosmic Cortex" and comes close on the album's self titled closer. Though the middle tracks never reach epic length as its predecessor, they are still pretty damn good nonetheless.

It is difficult to discuss changes, as _Outer Isolation_ continues the path forged by _Black Future_. The band is relatively new, thus without line-up changes or any stark contrast. In a way, the band rest on their laurels from previous victories. This of course could be a negative observation if the music wasn't so good. I have no complaints, as _Outer Isolation_ is one of the best 51 minutes you can choose to spend.

Vektor's redefinition of thrash does come with changes, however. David Disanto's vocals through _Outer Isolation_, as well as _Black Future_, are similar to a banshee shriek; able to cover low resonating growls and wailing raps. Additionally, Vektor's music comes in complicated compartments, which ultimately adds to the charm yet distances itself from simple song structures. Their musical craftsmanship and tendency for fantastic escapism is pleasing enough for any listener across multiple occasions.

I have nothing more to say to you. We are going to the store and buying this record and a six pack of beer. It is going to be a long night, as we need to listen to this album three times in a row. Grab the keys, we need to go.


(article published 8/12/2011)

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