VIRUS

Avant-garde Metal / Metal Related • Norway
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Obscure Norwegian Avant-Garde Metal band VIRUS was formed in 2000 by Carl-Michael Eide (also known as "Czral", "Aggressor") on guitars and vocals, Petter "Plenum" Berntsen (AUDIOPAIN) on bass guitar and Einar "Esso" Sjurso (INFERNÖ) on drums. VIRUS was meant to be a musical continuation of Eide's previous group VED BUENS ENDE, which had released only one full-length album at the time, however, VIRUS's approach to songwriting also changed with the new adherents hired by "Czral". The self-taught minds of VIRUS were influenced by a diverse variety of groups, from VOIVOD to TALKING HEADS, from MILES DAVIS to SODOM, from TORTOISE to UNIVERS ZERO... This explains how the group's only album to date, titled "Carheart", which was released in 2003 on Ulver's label Jester Records, managed to incorporate elements of rock, jazz, pop, electronic and metal music into their sound. However, as complex and genre transcending VIRUS's sound is, the songwriting read more...
Thanks to UMUR for the addition and tupan for the updates

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VIRUS Discography

VIRUS albums / top albums

VIRUS Carheart album cover 3.74 | 8 ratings
Carheart
Avant-garde Metal 2003
VIRUS The Black Flux album cover 4.13 | 7 ratings
The Black Flux
Avant-garde Metal 2008
VIRUS The Agent That Shapes the Desert album cover 3.74 | 9 ratings
The Agent That Shapes the Desert
Metal Related 2011
VIRUS Memento Collider album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Memento Collider
Metal Related 2016

VIRUS EPs & splits

VIRUS live albums

VIRUS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

VIRUS Demo 2000 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Demo 2000
Avant-garde Metal 2009

VIRUS re-issues & compilations

VIRUS Oblivion Clock album cover 3.53 | 4 ratings
Oblivion Clock
Metal Related 2012

VIRUS singles (0)

VIRUS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

VIRUS Reviews

VIRUS Carheart

Album · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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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.

VIRUS The Black Flux

Album · 2008 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Following in the footsteps of his lauded Ved Buens Ende, Carl-Michael Eide better known as Aggressor, Czral or Exhurtum unleashed his musical pathogen called VIRUS in the year 2000 and crafted a sound that was a hybrid of his Ved Buens Ende era and the more progressive thrash sounds of Voivod. “Blackheart” came out in 2003 but such avant-garde metal sounds were not yet as en vogue as they would become a few years later and therefore the album went a bit under the radar despite crafting some incredibly intricate deliveries of jazz-tinged jangle metal steeped in dissonance and avant-prog angularities. Czral (the name he used for the VIRUS project) would wait five whole years for a follow-up as most of his energy was spent in other projects such as Aura Noir, Cadaver and Dødheimsgard.

The sophomore album THE BLACK FLUX was unleashed in 2008 and by that time the public had caught up to some of the more adventurous metal sounds that had been spewing forth since Gorguts caught the world off guard with its bizarre death metal madness on “Obscura.” Once again VIRUS consisted of the trio of Eide on guitar and vocals along with Petter Berntsen “Plenum" on bass and Einar Sjursø "Einz" on drums. Unlike “Carheart” there are no additional vocalists but instead a couple of additional guests who offer some extra touches with the baritone guitar, violin, piano, slide guitar, soundscape effects and ambience. Having gained a foothold in the underground metal scene, the Seasons of the Mist label sniffed VIRUS out and signed them for this second coming.

Two factors in play meant THE BLACK FLUX would experience a wider range of recognition from not just the critics but also the avant-garde metal loving public. Firstly the sounds of dissonant Voivod inspired jangle chords laced with progressive rock and thrashy metal had become more mainstream with many new bands venturing out into the adventurous world of experimental rock that adopted more aggressive metal bombast. Secondly, THE BLACK FLUX is a bit more accessible than its predecessor which meant that the recipe was ripe for those seeking music on the cutting edge to go all gaga over. This second album is much more streamlined than the first with nine tracks cruising on for slightly over 53 minutes of playing time however if the comparisons with Voivod were valid on the first album, on THE BLACK FLUX those comparisons are even more valid.

While the opening sounds of “Stalkers Of The Drift” offer a bleak atmospheric ambient backdrop, the bombastic dissonant guitar riffs quickly enter the scene and establish a paradigm that defines the entire album’s sound. Augmented with guitar chords that sound out of tune which are rhythmically propelled through jittery angular processions, the unique declarative vocal style of Czral fills the cracks between the staccato driven cacophonous counterpoints of the bass, guitar and drums. While there are many moments when the three instruments are in direct oppositions, often they come together for a cacophonous, thunderous roar of jangly guitar chords, avant-grooviness of the bass and jazzified drum fills with an abundance of metal energetic drive. The disharmonies harken back to the Ved Buens Ende days for sure but the Voivod connections are more in your face this time around.

The strengths of THE BLACK FLUX is that the album is impeccable in its delivery of this highly caustic stilted avant-garde metal that provides a bass groove and decorates it with freakery from all angles however THE BLACK FLUX fails to exude the same wow factor that “Carheart” does. While this album perfectly adheres to the formula set out by the debut, it seems more like some of the dynamics had been tamped down a bit for more of a crossover appeal that would bleed into the alternative metal world. While not bad in any way, THE BLACK FLUX does seem a bit like a retread without any new ideas added to the mix and despite the extras of violin, piano and slide guitar, they aren’t really that prevalent in the mix. For Voivod fans and those who want to hear a more mainstream approach to the Ved Buens Ende style then this will enthrall your eardrums for sure as its an excellent album but doesn’t quite seem to engage in the variations that made the debut so exciting and unique.

VIRUS Carheart

Album · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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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.

VIRUS Memento Collider

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
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UMUR
"Memento Collider" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian avant garde rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Karisma Records in June 2016. There´s been one lineup change since the release of "The Agent That Shapes the Desert (2011)", as original bassist Petter "Plenum" Berntsen has returned to the fold, restoring the original three-piece lineup from the band´s debut full-length studio album "Carheart (2003)". Berntsen was out of the band from 2010 to 2014. The remaining members of the lineup are Carl-Michael "Czral" Eide (guitars and vocals) and Einar "Einz" Sjursø (drums). While five years between albums is a pretty long time, Virus did release the "Oblivion Clock" compilation in 2012.

Stylistically the long time between albums hasn´t affected the band´s vision and sound too much. We´re still treated to dark and atmospheric, surreal, and twisted avant garde rock/metal. Dissonant open chords, semi-jazzy organic drumming and a heavy bass, and on top the odd and deranged vocals by Carl-Michael "Czral" Eide. While I do write rock/metal above, there are actually very few metal traits in the music, so it´s more in spirit that Virus are connected to the metal scene.

"Memento Collider" features a powerful and organic sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. The material on the 6 track, 45:07 minutes long album is well written, adventurous, and intriguing. Virus have a very unique sound, but as always they´ve made little tweaks here and there, which ensure that "Memento Collider" stands out in their discography. The tracks are generally pretty long ("Afield" and "Phantom Oil Slick" are both around 9 to 10 minutes long), but they never become too drawn out, despite their often hypnotic repetitive nature. There´s a dark organic drive to the compositions which provides them with great energy although the tempo is mostly slow- to mid-paced.

The haunted monotone vocals and abstract gloomy lyrical content contribute greatly to the bleak atmosphere, but the instrumental part of the music is not exactly in the light department either. There are other moods in the music than pitch black darkness though. The occasional nod towards some sort of twisted surf music and what I´d characterize as spy movie soundtrack tendencies on "Gravity Seeker" are examples of that. The percussion on "Phantom Oil Slick" is also a nice touch, which provides that track with a deranged tribal element. It´s not showed down your throat though, because Virus are clever enough to incorporate those elements in a relatively subtle manner, which go along well with their core style.

So upon conclusion this is another high quality release by Virus and fans of the band can safely spend their hard earned money on this one. It´s delightfully familiar without sounding too derivative of past releases, which of course also means that "Memento Collider" probably won´t win over listeners who didn´t enjoy the band´s other releases. I´m sure Virus can live with that though, as they pretty surely don´t play this type of music for commercial reasons (although we all need bread on the table). There´s no mistaking the fact that this is a band who creates exactly this type of music for pure artistic reasons, and while some may find such an elitist attitude towards creating art ridiculous, I think it´s great to experience that there are still artists out there trying to break down the boundaries of convention without the thought of anything else but creating unique sounding music. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

VIRUS Carheart

Album · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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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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