I don’t understand why much of the thrash albums released these days sound so much alike, and are so boring. Don’t write my opinion off yet though. I still listen to it, but my tastes are rooted in mid and late 80’s Sodom and Kreator, 80’s Slayer (of course), mid 80’s Megadeth, and a few other bands peppered in there: Exhorder, Testament, and Destruction. I think the only modern thrash band that really sets itself apart from the rest of the bland pack is Demiricous, who are good, but still fairly conventional in their methods. With this in mind, realizing the shear volume of thrash music releasing these days, I am skeptical to take time listening to unknown bands, but I gave Tempe AZ’s Vektor a try anyway and got my hands on “Black Future.” They were certainly worth my time.
First I have to mention membership. The band is a four piece, and every member pulls his weight with equal measure and 100% intensity. Vocalist/guitarist/founder David DiSanto delivers a hi-end, shrill scream that I have never heard the likes of before. At times the sound crawls up my spine, almost making me cringe out of disgust, but the moment I feel this, DiSanto changes tones and continues his echoey wails in a blackened thrash fashion. Bassist Frank Chin perfectly dictates the depth and breadth of each song, providing perfect counterpoint to DiSanto and Erik Nelson’s prog-like virtuosic thrash freak-fests. Drummer Blake Anderson serves the requisite Slayer-like thrash beats, but he also knows the right moment to slow a song down, then build it up again without losing the listener’s attention span that I have found other prog-metal drummers do; they meander too much.
The band self-labels their music as “sci-fi thrash” and when one looks closely at the album cover Voivod may come to mind, but Vektor’s sound does not touch on the latter’s sound much at all. You won’t hear any out-of-place industrial clinks or groans, no overwrought keyboard leads, and no annoyingly synthetic drum lines. Instead Vektor layer multiple musical elements together, making each part fit perfectly with the others, and if one part were taken out, the song would not stand on its own successfully.
My favorite song on the album is “Accelerating Universe,” clocking in at a preposterously long thirteen-and-a-half minutes. It starts with a classic 80’s Metallica or Megadeth foot stomping thrash riff that slowly doubles in speed, then triples (!), then breaks down into a set of disjunct riffs that do nothing but excite the mind. Then the song speeds up again, then again, using the same disjunct riffs from the previous part (only way, way faster) leading to DiSanto’s horrific inhaling screams. They should play this song to wake up coma patients or something. I know, I know. I’ll stop mapping out the song, but it contains the perfect ratio of build-up to climax, over and over. But the song’s really amazing part comes during the segue at about the five minute mark, which marks a long psychedelic break down, only it’s not your normal “break-down,” per se. It’s more like a second, slow build-up to even more insanity beginning at about the 9:30 minute mark.
If you like extreme thrash that has moved past the standard 80’s genre casting, yet you still want something deeply rooted in traditional riffs, Vektor’s “Black Future” is definitely for you.