VEKTOR — Outer Isolation (review)

VEKTOR — Outer Isolation album cover Album · 2011 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Outer Isolation" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Vektor. The album was released through Heavy Artillery Records in November 2011. It´s the follow up to the critically acclaimed "Black Future (2009)", which really put Vektor´s name on the map. Vektor were formed under the Locrian monicker in 2003 but changed their name to Vektor in 2004. They released the "Demolition" demo album in 2006, which is often mistakenly considered their debut album. Like the case was on "Black Future (2009)", several tracks from "Demolition (2006)" have been re-arranged and re-recorded for "Outer Isolation". More specifically "Fast Paced Society", "Venus Project", and "Tetrastructural Minds".

Stylistically the music on "Outer Isolation" more or less continues where "Black Future (2009)" left off. It´s technical/progressive thrash metal with sci-fi themed lyrics and imagery. Vektor are strongly influenced by Voivod, but artists like Destruction and late era-Death also come to mind. So the music features a good balance between old school raw thrash metal and more sophisticated technical/progressive elements. The vocals are high pitched screaming which remind me of a higher pitched Chuck Schuldiner (Death) on "The Sound of Perseverance (1998)". That means effect laden and processed to the point where they are bordering inhuman territory.

The 8 tracks on the 51:43 minutes long album are all well written, intriguing, and powerful metal tracks, and while Vektor aren´t completely there yet, they are well on their way to creating a unigue musical style. Sometimes their adventurous songwriting takes them in slightly too many directions, and if I have to mention one small issue it would be that the tracks could have prospered from a few more repeated hooklines. When Vektor incorporate more instant cathiness to their music like they do on for example "Echoless Chamber", they show promise of a more compact and memorable future direction, that could get them far.

"Outer Isolation" features a powerful and raw, yet detailed and clear sound production, which brings out the best in the music. So upon conclusion this is a great sophomore album by Vektor. There´s been development since "Black Future (2009)" but not too much development (which means there is still continuety of sound and style), and "Outer Isolation" very much feels like the natural successor to the debut. As mentioned above I still feel Vektor haven´t completely found their "sound" yet, and they are clearly still in a development phase. Sometimes that´s the phase of an artist´s career, where they produce the most interesting material, but sometimes it´s just part of the journey towards something greater. In that regard it´ll be interesting to see after more album releases from Vektor where "Outer Isolation" places itself in the band´s discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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