Vektor
Outer Isolation


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex C. USER (1 Reviews)
December 10th, 2011 | 411 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A small step or a giant leap?

When asked by a friend to describe Vektor’s Outer Isolation, I found myself stumbling for words, alternately praising the band’s unique brand of futuristic space-thrash while tripping over needless references to science fiction tropes. It took a few moments before I was able to come back down to Earth and explain, as simply and as clearly as I could, my feelings regarding this Tempe, AZ quartet:

“They’re…out there.”

Then it was back to the terrible sci-fi metaphors.

Since 2006’s aptly titled Demolition, Vektor's interstellar mix of extreme metal styles has set the band apart from their fellow revivalists. While many of their contemporaries are content with simply bringing thrash metal back to its former glory, Vektor takes the genre into heretofore unexplored territory. Outer Isolation is the latest stage in the band’s evolution, and while it may not be as big of a leap as 2009’s Black Future, it certainly solidifies Vektor’s position at the vanguard of the neo-thrash movement.

With Outer Isolation, Vektor have further refined their already formidable and razor-sharp sound. Like Black Future before it, the album combines brand new compositions with re-recorded Demolition-era material that pushes the band ever closer towards perfection. Album opener “Cosmic Cortex” slowly unfolds with clean, undulating guitar and bass lines before exploding outward in a burst of cosmic “Also Sprach Zarathustra” chords, eventually firing off into hyperspace through a stream of light-speed riffage and blackened breaks accentuated by Blake Anderson’s tasteful blasts. While Vektor are never lacking in speed, the band is at their most menacing on more deliberately-paced tracks like “Dying World,” which foretells of mankind’s inevitable self-destruction. Buildings crumble beneath the weight of Frank Chin’s rumbling bass as the dystopian nightmare takes shape; Dave Disanto’s shrieks - equal parts Ihsahn and intergalactic space-banshee - drive the terrified populace from their homes and into the burning streets; as the situation escalates, the band is whipped into a frenzy that continues until the city is reduced to a scorched hulk of concrete and steel.

Despite the futuristic/dystopian motifs present throughout Outer Isolation, Vektor draws from a distinguished pedigree of 20th century music, progressive and otherwise. Their logo and science fiction themes pay homage to Voivod, while the melodic guitar interplay between Disanto and Nelson (most notably on the title track and “Fast Paced Society”) calls to mind the layered arrangements of 8 bit video game music. In keeping with their tradition of re-recording early material, Vektor breathes new life into old classics like “Venus Project,” which has the band switching styles between the jazzy, often bizarre guitar arpeggios of King Crimson and the stomping tech-thrash that characterized 1980’s Coroner. The track is a vastly superior replication of its 2006 host song, benefiting from a laser precision that was largely absent in its rougher, demo form.

In fact, the band sounds better on Outer Isolation than ever before. Black Future was well-mixed, but on this latest effort, Vektor simply sounds fuller. The guitars trade a slight amount of bite for a generally beefier tone; leads are impeccably performed and impossibly clean; the bass manages to be audible without sacrificing that all-important “punch”; and the percussion, while less snappy this time around, hits harder on all fronts. Every band member is at their absolute best on Outer Isolation, whether it’s through the mind-bending bridge of “Echoless Chamber” or the criminally tight riffing on the new incarnation of “Tetrastructural Minds.”

The inevitable question remains: is Outer Isolation the giant leap forward that most fans were expecting? Not quite. But at the same time, the album is no mere baby step. While Outer Isolation may not be the perfect space-odyssey that many anticipated, it is a more-than-worthy addition to Vektor’s impressive catalogue, and cements the band’s place at the forefront of the thrash revival - in the 21st century and beyond. On the very first track, the band beams a message to the world of heavy metal: “To resist is to be destroyed.” You’d be wise to lay down your arms and welcome our new thrash overlords.


user ratings (315)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
DragonHeartstring (4.5)
Vektor deliver the goods in astonishing fashion with a sophomore release that is every bit as good a...


Comments:Add a Comment 
GooeyInterface
December 10th 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been lurking ever since the days of mxtabs...and when sputnik's colors were turquoise and black! About time I submitted something, eh?

ShousoStrip
December 11th 2011


574 Comments


This is just as good as Black Future, which is just as good as this. One of my favorite modern thrash bands. Pos'd.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2011


18521 Comments


there are equal chances i will love this or absolutely fucking hate it

im interested though because most sci fi metal blows hard

btw this is a really fucking good review, keep it up brother

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2011


31218 Comments


Album rules

Review is really good as well

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

seedofnothing
December 11th 2011


3425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy shit someone reviewed this!!!

GooeyInterface
December 11th 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the kind words!

@Hyperion: the album is available for streaming on Heavy Artillery's bandcamp page, if you're interested. As for whether or not it's good sci-fi metal...I can't really say, because I can't really think of many other sci-fi metal albums other than "Traveller" by Slough Feg!

twlichty
December 11th 2011


3408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

always love to find new GOOD thrash albums, stoked to check this out

POS

Keyblade
December 11th 2011


14888 Comments


good review gonna check out this album now

Days of Future Passed
December 11th 2011


474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes this desperately needed a review. Pos'd.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

boogs
December 11th 2011


223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is awesome

KILL
December 11th 2011


71856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gota check

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

Ignimbrite
December 11th 2011


5353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

holy shit, solid review.

Digging: This Will Destroy You - Another Language

Gyromania
December 11th 2011


15791 Comments


Since 2006’s apply titled Demolition,

*aptly? And the rest of the sentence proceeding that seems a little awkward to me. Otherwise this is a very solid review, especially for a first. Hope to see more from you soon. Pos.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Cells
December 11th 2011


1875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice to see a review for this, albums fuckin awesome.

Acanthus
December 11th 2011


9543 Comments


I hit pos' twice, just to make sure.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

Hordewolf
December 11th 2011


353 Comments


Riffs gon be fast?

taylormemer
December 11th 2011


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck yeah. m/

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2011


6147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album stream: http://earache.bandcamp.com/album/outer-isolation


Excellent review, pos, congrats for the feature, keep writing.


one correction:

Since 2006’s apply titled Demolition

aptly titled



On another note, your epilogue and your summary read between 3.5-4.0/5.0, which is where my rating lies at.

These guys seem to stand with one foot on the European tech-thrash (Mekong Delta, Coroner, Extreme Aggression-era Kreator) and the avant-garde "tech"-black metal of bands like Thorns and late Emperor, while the other stands on Bay Area thrash.

This mix isn't quite perfected in here, so as to justify a 4.5, imho, plus i think that Vektor have to reduce the Bay Area factor to a minimum, because it subtracts originality from their work.

That's just me, though.

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

turnip90210
December 11th 2011


311 Comments


Great shit. Thank you for reviewing this.

LoneWanderer
December 11th 2011


180 Comments


Well done man...this needed a review...badly...

I'm glad it's a good one..

pos'd



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