Not to be confused with veteran British thrashers of the same name, this Virus is a strain of Norwegian avant garde progressive metal that is not for the faint hearted. If, however, you like a challenge and enjoy a bit of hypnotic repetition this could be your proverbial cuppa .
They set out their stall in fairly dramatic style with 10 minutes of galloping bass lines and a vocal of sinister intent on ‘Afield’; there are some discordant flourishes and a slow boiling mid section, but otherwise it’s incessant repetition of the rolling bass – all very serious. There is a similarly intense shuffle to ‘Rogue Fossil’, which is actually kinda funky, and although it is wordy with lines something like ”And the rumours are swirling around the gallows / like satellites of rude will / they flash and they curse like stupid old laws / in aluminium scented nights” – it actually works in a quirky way and is a bit of a grower, especially when they twist the intensity knob up another notch.
The middle two tracks ‘Dripping Into Orbit’ and ‘Steamer’ make for particularly uncomfortable listening. The former boasts freestyle drumming and a monotonous riff, but the guitar, bass and drums then crash around off one another, rather than keeping the smooth straight lines of the opening tracks. Meanwhile, ‘Steamer’ takes a more melodic line, though they clearly enjoy playing a motif to death, looping bass then dominates as they begin “cascading through the ages.”
‘Gravity Seeker’ has a fairly straightforward head rocking, foot tapping groove that rolls along, before the slow burn bass riff of closer ‘Phantom Oil Slick’ hits a gallop. Its chorus is delivered with appropriate foreboding and it takes a few twists and turns, but essentially they are trying to bass the listener to death for nine long minutes.
For lovers of this kind of experimental rock, this album is probably totally genius, for those who like things a little more conventional the monotonous bass lines and repetitive riffing with either hypnotise you into a trance or try your patience.
‘Memento Collider’ by Virus is out now on Karisma Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)