Review Summary: A near-perfect debut from thrash revival act Vektor that succeeds on every level and delivers a barrage of thrash riffs and progressive song structures that are sheer candy for the ear.
The thrash revival movement is somewhat of a touchy subject for many a seasoned veteran of the genre. Whilst bands such as Bonded By Blood and Lich King have a few decent songs and are just about listenable they are certainly a far cry from the days when thrash was consistently gifting many amazing bands. The core difference between Bonded By Blood and many of the old thrash bands such as Anthrax, Megadeth, Kreator, Coroner and Annihilator is that each of those older thrash bands had at least one release to truly be proud of and brag about and that laid the template for what each of these rip-off revival bands have attempted to create. From the modern thrash scene however there is one band that can truly be mentioned up there among the best of the bands in the genre and that is Vektor.
Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, Vektor are a four piece outfit formed originally in 2002. The band are heavily inspired by Voivod but this is only limited to their progressive style of thrash metal as the band's first album proved. Vektor combine intricate song structures with a variety of riff tempos and some highly technical guitar work alongside David DiSanto's murderous screaming vocals. To date they have released two albums entitled Black Future and Outer Isolation of which both received mass acclaim from the thrash metal community with the first of the two generally being considered to be the best and a third album is penned in for a 2013 release.
Released in 2009 on Heavy Artillery Records, Black Future is an album that sounds completely fresh among a collection of revival groups that sound like carbon copies of their influences. In place of the reliance on fast tremolo picked guitar lines and barked vocals Vektor brought something new to the table. The first track instantly captures the listener's ear and doesn't let go until the full album has finished by which time you are flat on the floor wondering what just hit you. The guitar work on this release is about as varied as it gets, as is immediately evidenced by the thrilling title track. The song opens up with some slower chord based riffs before plunging headlong into a lightning fast verse riff that still remains marvelously creative. If your jaw is not already on the flaw by now with absolute awe then the ridiculously well placed guitar fill after the chorus should do so. This is also an album that does not let its solos dissolve into mindless shred fests as this song also shows with a fantastic solo that sounds so great within the context of the album and adds the icing to an already amazing cake.
The vocals are another factor for this albums success with David DiSanto sounding like M-16-era Tom AngelRipper possessed by a demon. Throughout the duration of this album he gurgles and shrieks his lungs out and it is a wonder that he did not completely destroy his throat. The vocals on here are the perfect fit for the lyrics that are being spewed forth, and anyone who can resist shrieking "Black Future!" alongside David's vocal patterns is beyond hope. The bass work on this release is fantastic to say the least as it does not rely on merely following the guitars all the time as is the norm in thrash metal and is completely audible throughout. The drumming is chaotic and varied, constantly adjusting to fit the never-ending stream of speed changes. This album has a constant feeling of intensity due to the bands reliance on playing as technically as they can even during the slower sections of the album which is a joy to behold and could not sound better if they had tried.
The progressive side of this band is also something really amazing with two songs clocking in at ten minutes and one being nearly fourteen. Many thrash songs that would aspire to clock in at these sort of lengths would descend into mindless snooze-fests but this is something that Vektor got right. The song structures are constantly adjusting and evolving meaning that even the longest of songs on the album do not get remotely boring. Vektor may well be the only thrash band in existence that have the talent to create a thirteen and a half minute long song of pure thrash that never ceases to amaze. This is a band that does not know how to not fire on all cylinders and put in one hundred and ten percent effort as both their albums can stand testament to. The only song that could be considered filler is the second song, Oblivion, which is just a little too predictable when compared to the rest of the album and therefore does not feel quite at home here. However every other song is a masterpiece in its own right and this is perhaps the finest attempt at a thrash revival album by any band to date. This is actually so good that it destroys many of the albums it bases itself off.
From the dark and chaotic sound of the album to the faint jazz influence to the manic song structures, Black Future is an album that succeeds on every level and is an album that will never fail to amaze. I recommend this to anyone who wants a progressive metal album that constantly evolves and remains exciting all the way through.