VIRUS — Carheart

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VIRUS - Carheart cover
3.74 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2003

Filed under Avant-garde Metal
By VIRUS

Tracklist

1. Something Furry This Way Comes (1:36)
2. Carheart (3:56)
3. Queen of the Hi-Ace (4:15)
4. Road (5:44)
5. Gum, Meet, Mother (5:00)
6. Dogs With Wheels (1:33)
7. It's All Gone Weird (5:39)
8. Kennel Crash Recovery (2:30)
9. Hustler (5:19)
10. Bandit (4:32)
11. Be Elevator (8:49)

Total Time: 48:59

Line-up/Musicians

- Czral / guitars, vocals
- Plenum / bass
- Esso / drums
- Aggie Peterson / vocals (3)
- Kristoffer Rygg / vocals (3)
- Øyvind Hægeland / vocals (9)

About this release

CD Jester Records (August 2003)

Thanks to UMUR for the updates

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VIRUS CARHEART reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Carheart" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian avant-garde rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Jester Records in August 2003. Virus is a three-piece consisting of Plenum (bass), Esso (drums), and Czral (guitars, vocals). After Ved Buens Ende disbanded in 1997, Czral got/or already were involved with other projects (Aura Noir, Infernö, Cadaver Inc/Cadaver...etc.), but he still wanted to release something in a similar vein to the dark and abstract avant garde music style of his former band, and thus Virus formed in 2000.

Although there are some similarities to the avantgarde black metal of Ved Buens Ende, Virus is ultimately quite a different sounding beast. There are some metal traits on "Carheart", but it´s mostly in terms of attitude and a few hard edged/heavy riffs and rhythms. The material is predominantly more rock oriented though, but definitely not your average Joe rock´n´roll type music. The atmosphere is strange, dark, and gritty, and the lyrics are abstract and often downright weird. Try and listen to the robotic effect voice singing on "Gum, Meet, Mother", and then try and make sense of the lyrics...now that´s avant-garde oddness for you. Other than a few excursions into experimental vocal territories (as the example mentioned above), the vocals are predominantly deep register, monotone, with an edge of desperation to them. Not completely unlike the vocals of darker new wave vocalists from bands like Bauhaus and Joy Division or maybe even a darker and more demented Nick Cave.

The instrumental part of the music is a pretty unique combination of elements. The guitar riffs are mostly distorted, dissonant, and often use open strings to create atmosphere. The drums are often busy and fusion influenced, and the bass is instrumental in creating the dark and dense mood of the music. Keyboards and effects are used sparsely, but to great effect. The occasional nod towards spy movie/surf music is also heard. It´s hard to mention valid references with music as unique as this, but I think I hear elements from as different sounding artists as Voivod, Talking Heads, 80s King Crimson (and from the above mentioned artists already mentioned earlier).

"Carheart" is a well produced and very well sounding release, and the high level musicianship and the original style of the band´s music do not hurt the album either. This type of music probably falls under the "aquired taste" label, and there are pretty surely some listeners who won´t be able to enjoy the dark gritty avant-garde oddness and the twisted dissonant nature of the music, but to those who are able to enjoy it, "Carheart" is a high quality release and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
siLLy puPPy
Not to be confused with the German krautrock band from the early 70s with the same name, or the English thrash metal band from Brighton, England, or the Argentinian new wave band from the 80s, or the American punk rock band from Philadelphia, or the Canadian industrial metal band of the same name, or the Prague band from the Czech Republic, or (whew!) the Russian Eurodance act from Moscow, THIS band with the infectious moniker VIRUS emerged from the Norwegian capital city of Oslo and as i just pointed out did not pick the most original of names but like any successful pathogen adapted the perfect modes of transmission into the human psyche which makes this unique sounding act the best band named VIRUS of the lot!

Norwegian VIRUS is basically a continuation of the band Ved Buens Ende formed by multi-instrumentalist Carl-Michael Eide (aka Aggessor, Czral and Exhurtum) who has been quite prolific in the Norwegian avant-garde metal scene for not only his amazingly brilliant work on Ved Buens Ende’s classic “Written In Waters” but also for his work with Aura Noir, Dødheimsgard, Cadaver, Infernö, Ulver and Satyricon. While Eide’s emphasis has been predominantly in the world of progressive black metal, on Ved Buens Ende and the subsequent VIRUS project he shifted gears to a more avant-garde form of jazz influenced thrash metal that took the dissonant chord rampage of Voivod and fused them with the unorthodox behaviors of his Ved Buens Ende project which released only one album and moved on.

VIRUS had a much longer shelf life lasting from 2000 to 2018 but not exactly prolific since only four albums were released. The debut CARHEART was released in 2003 and followed in the footsteps of Ved Buens Ende’s avant-garde pioneering of genre mashups which at the turn of the millennium was still quite the adventurous move as such angular expressions in metal were more the exception rather than the rule. While one could compare CARHEART to one of Voivod’s more progressive albums that spanned from “Killing Technology” to “Nothingface,” VIRUS took the progressive aspects even further with avant-prog constructs teased out into jangly metal chord rampages with off-kilter time signatures gussied up by jazzified drumming prowess accompanied by contrasting segments of more atmospheric ambience.

While the guitar sounds are right out of the Voivod playbook, that’s pretty much where the similarities end although Eide’s vocal style may remind some of the Voivod stylistic approach but VIRUS offers a much more abstract form of metal with atonal guitar heft, heavily distorted tones and grooves that are somewhat accessible to follow yet offer enough curve balls to throw you off the intended trail. While this tight-knit sound is impeccable in delivery it’s really hard to believe that all these sounds are coming from the mere trio of Eide on guitar and vocals along with Petter Berntsen “Plenum" on bass and Einar Sjursø "Esso" on drums. There are also three guest backing vocalists who add more textural twists to the amplified jangled avant-garde oddities in store for your unsuspecting eardrums.

Perhaps the coolest part of VIRUS’ unique sound is how the three instruments play off each other and four instruments if you count the vocal counterpoints in the mix. Each has its own melodic groove and they contrast in a very jarring way yet somehow fuse together in a way where the musical delivery is easy to follow provided you have some affinity with the harsh noisy delivery process of bands like Voivod or some of the more avant-garde forms of metal. If you are unfamiliar with Ved Buens Ende then this may come off as a bit jarring and VIRUS like its predecessor is definitely an acquired taste as it requires you find an anchor buried deep within the bombastic grooves and walls of sound however this album flows in a unique way all the way through its 49 minute playing time and is pretty much a classic in the avant-garde metal world as it perfectly knits the perfect tapestry of Voivod inspired progressive thrash metal along with the jazzy experimental touches of its predecessor band. This VIRUS is completely infectious at least to those susceptible to its quirky idiosyncratic ways.
Warthur
On Carheart, the blasted remnants of avant-black metal outfit Ved Buens Ende shudder into life again in the new form of Virus. This time, the black metal focus which had kept Ved Buens Ende's sound anchored and coherent is set aside, resulting in freewheeling experimentation even more reminiscent of Mr Bungle. There are points where the band seem to be experimenting for experimentalism's sake and trying to feel out their new sound and songwriting preferences, and sometimes they make decisions which don't really add much aesthetically (the production applied to the vocals on the title track I find to be particularly pointless aesthetically), but on the whole it's an interesting grab-bag of ideas.

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