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Virus, "Carheart"

Jester
Norway's Virus want to create a sort of free-form heaviness that changes your perception of what to expect from the hardcore metal genre in an effort to promote versatility and variation. What they ended up with is a lite version of adrenaline-fueled pound and screech with a cross between Mike Patton and Serj Tankian on vocals. Which ultimately means sometimes the vocals are on key, sometimes nowhere near, and it sounds like that may or may not have been a conscious choice; but the music is stable, engaging even, with sadly very little change from one track to the next. Virus try hard to make the songs blend together into a congruous whole, with tracks fading into each other and combining elements, but the music is so derivative and the vocal performances often so horrendous that it's hard to find anything really to latch on to. Incidentally, where other import artists have stayed with their native tongue or tried at some deeper meaning in the translation, Virus emote through lyrics that are almost incomprehensible, with talk of screaming insects and "I went smilingly like a classic obsession" topping the list of sub par nonsense. This, unfortunately, also means that they are not all that different from any other Norwegian hardcore band that tries its cards on this side of the pond. Carheart is a valiant effort, though, and Virus are pouring their hearts all over this record. It just doesn't amount to much that hasn't been tried here before.

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Review of the Day

ILLUMINATI, "CDEP2"
Planetsounds
You'd be hard pushed to realise that samples from classical music form the core of the second Illuminati EP, as they've mostly been utterly distorted and pulverised beyond recognition. A middle aged electrician commented that this reminded him of Soft Machine which is odd because Dave Clarkson of Illuminati and Planetsounds is a big fan of theirs, but I'd never have thought it was something that sounded similar. When I mentioned the comparison to Dave he asked if it was the third track, "Glass Box Trap" which chucks a melodic keyboard jitter over thrumming double drone backbone, and a nasal voice muttering disgruntled and nebulous. If I was going to fling comparisons at Illuminati though I'd have to mention Throbbing Gristle, particularly "DOA," but I think I did that with the first EP. This one has the same picture on the cover, but inverted to negative and in some ways this a darker and more menacing trip. A deep singular pulse beat opens the strange door onto a microscope resolution for "Midget Germs" which vibrate ominously in hell spawned misery. Feedback screams and muffled moans punctuate this tortured cancerous eyeball injection. The poor germs don't stand a chance when "Argenteum Atavism" squirts beatnoise bleach all over them. Crunching along in hectic overloaded abandon, this is what it might sound like if Aphex Twin tried to put one over on Non. Just as the melody creeps in one final crash collapses into semi-ambient bleepscape gurgling. The fourth and final track swings "The Strange Door" shut and desperate knocking can be heard from outside as the germs shut outside slowly fizzle to their demise, and a new dawn of lush angelic keyboard bursts across the blackened sky. Distant thunder rumbles.

 

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