Those familiar with my previous posts know about my proclivity for a particular time and genre when selecting an album to review. Well it's finally time to break the mold, expand my horizons, and take my reviews to new and exciting heights by reviewing something different. METAL! Actually, a progressive thrash metal album with death and black metal influences. If that sounded like categorical soup that encompasses a lot of different styles, that’s because it is. While Vektor incorporates these influences in varying degrees it’s hard to place them on a single branch of the great lineage that is metal. In short, it’s fast, heavy, intense, operatic, and technically magnificent. So if you’re ready to hit the pit and head bang until your brain leaks out your nose check these guys out through the Caldwell Public Library’s music streaming source, Freegal!
With a logo this badass you know this band rips. A four piece from Arizona, Vektor dropped Outer Isolation in 2011 through Heavy Artillery Records and re-released the album a year later through Earache Records. This is Vektor’s second release, following their highly acclaimed 2009 album, “Black Future''. Heavily influenced and themed around sci-fi, futurism, and space, Outer Isolation feels like the soundtrack to a beautiful but uncaring cosmos expanding infinitely before you. This album can be summarized in one word, HUGE!
Filled with dissonant guitar work, haunting vocals, and blast beats, Outer Isolation is consistently bleak, brutal, and immense. Vektor is able to seamlessly transition heavier sections of their songs with softer, more reserved interludes adding depth and layers to their thrash metal foundations. Rather than thundering ahead tack after track, the band introduces multiple dynamic changes throughout a single song, taking the listener from a gentle spacey melody and thrusting them into the chaos of a black hole moments later. Some of the guitar melodies are down right awe inspiring with layered lines creating out of this world harmonies that will make you feel insignificant compared to the vastness of Vektor’s epic soundscape.
It’s no surprise that the musicianship and technical skill displayed on this release is top notch. The blistering lead guitar lines can make your fingers bleed just by listening too intently. However, one point of contention for other critics is lead singer David DeSanto’s occasional shrieking falsetto. While typically delivering lines in a sort of death metal growl, DeSanto will accentuate or lead off lines with a ghastly pitch that will either send shivers down your spine or make you involuntarily plug your ears. While I’m of the opinion that these vocal exercises add to the overall effect of Vektor’s sonic structure, some find the vocal flair odd and unpleasant.
In summary, listen to Vektor. If you’re even a casual fan of metal, Vektor's monstrous sonic presence will take your breath away faster than a leak in the ship’s airlock. If you’ve listened to this album, let me know what you think. If you enjoyed this album, check out Vektor’s third release, “Terminal Redux”, a personal favorite of mine.