VIRUS

Avant-garde Metal • 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...
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VIRUS Discography

VIRUS albums / top albums

VIRUS Carheart album cover 3.14 | 5 ratings
Carheart
Avant-garde Metal 2003
VIRUS The Black Flux album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
The Black Flux
Avant-garde Metal 2008
VIRUS The Agent That Shapes the Desert album cover 3.78 | 8 ratings
The Agent That Shapes the Desert
Avant-garde Metal 2011
VIRUS Memento Collider album cover 4.21 | 3 ratings
Memento Collider
Avant-garde Metal 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 3.50 | 3 ratings
Oblivion Clock
Avant-garde Metal 2012

VIRUS singles (0)

VIRUS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

VIRUS Reviews

VIRUS Memento Collider

Album · 2016 · Avant-garde Metal
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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 haven´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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

VIRUS Oblivion Clock

Boxset / Compilation · 2012 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Oblivion Clock" is a compilation album by Norwegian avant garde rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Virulent Records/Duplicate Records in December 2012. It´s sometimes refered to as an EP, but it´s actually a compilation of a four track EP featuring new recordings (only available on this release as far as I know), the two tracks from the rare 7" single that came with only 250 copies of the vinyl version of "The Agent That Shapes the Desert (2011)" and one unreleased track from "Carheart (2003)" sessions.

While there are notable differences in sound production between the tracks (all tracks feature a raw yet well sounding production), it´s actually amazing how well "Oblivion Clock" goes down as one consistent product. At least I´m greatly entertained all the way through the relatively short playing time of 31:30 minutes. The music on the album is in the band´s trademark dissonant avant garde rock/metal style. It´s dark and sinister and delivered with a sense of carnival madness that only Virus master. While the music only borders metal, it´s often damn heavy and while it´s not always directly aggressive, there´s aggression just underneath every note played, but also a deep despair. References to acts like Bauhaus and Joy Division aren´t completely wrong but the dissonance of Voivod is also a big part of Virus sound. It´s however Carl-Michael Eide´s lunatic singing style that´s the number one defining element in Virus sound. The man sounds positively deranged...

Because the tracks are compiled from different sessions, "Oblivion Clock" is a rather varied release. While all tracks are unmistakably the sound of Virus, tracks like the upbeat "Saturday Night Virus" and the Walker Brothers cover "Shutout" are a bit different from what I usually expect from Virus and I think it suits them well to branch out and try new and different things. Other highlights to me are the title track and "Inverted Escape".

Not all compilations featuring rare material and B-sides, which I´d put "Oblivion Clock" in catagory with, are equally interesting or necessary for that matter, but "Oblivion Clock" is not one of those. It´s in fact a very great release with material that´s fully on par with anything the band have released on their preceeding studio albums. I find "Oblivion Clock" highly recommendable both to fans and to newcommers, who could do well by starting their Virus journey here. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

VIRUS The Black Flux

Album · 2008 · Avant-garde Metal
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UMUR
"The Black Flux" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian experimental rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Season of Mist in November 2008. Virus is the brainchild of Czral (Carl-Michael Eide) who handles vocals and guitars. Esso (Einar Sjurso) handles the drums and the bass is played by Plenum (Petter Berntsen). There are a few guest musicians on the album. Bård Ingebrigtsen add baritone guitar, violin, piano and slide to the mix while Benny "B9" Braaten adds ambience (whatever that is).

The tracks for "The Black Flux" were originally meant to be released on the comeback album by Ved Buens Ende who had reformed in April 2006 after they originally split up in 1997. Czral and Vicotnik (Yusaf Parvez) apparently weren´t able to make the ends meet though and split up again in 2007. Vicotnik went on to work on the "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" album by Dødheimsgard and more recently the "Resplendent Grotesque (2009)" album by Code. Czral on the other hand opted to take the tracks that were originally written for the next Ved Buens Ende album and turn them into Virus songs.

The music the three-piece conjure up on "The Black Flux" is dark, twisted and slightly experiental rock/metal. Imagine what would happen if Joy Division and Voivod made a collaborative album. This is indeed a bleak and dissonant sounding album. The vocals by Czral are desperate, monotone and depressive while the instrumental side of the music is built upon twisted, dissonant riffs and a great playing rythm section. The music can seem a bit repetitive and maybe a bit too monotone in nature upon first listen but given time small recognisable hooks start to appear. There are many excellent compositions on this album but the ending track "Strange Calm" and especially the intense "As Virulent as You" really make my blood boil. The latter simply blows me away. It´s one of those rare songs that literally creates vivid and unpleasant images of vile and dark things in my mind. The opening lines to "As Virulent as You" belong in the twisted and bizarre genious catagory when Czral sings: "Your contaminated majesty, You live in my wounds". He sounds like a cross between a scary lunatic and a delirious alcoholic. Brilliant.

The production is organic and dark. It suits the music perfectly.

"The Black Flux" is an excellent release by Virus and I find it a highly recommendable purchase for fans of dark and twisted experimental rock/metal. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

VIRUS The Agent That Shapes the Desert

Album · 2011 · Avant-garde Metal
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Conor Fynes
'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' - Virus (7/10)

From a country known for its relatively wintery landscapes like Norway, I would not have expected to hear an overtly desert-rock styled album, as I do with avant-garde rockers Virus and their third full length. From the ashes of legendary avant-metal act Ved Buens Ende came Virus, a band that has often been met with conflicting genre labels and categorizations, and all to their credit; they do bear a strikingly unique sound to them. 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' starts 2011 on quite a good note for these talented musicians, and while I cannot say that the magic of this album is all too suited to my tastes, I have no trouble seeing why fans of metal and avant-garde music alike are swooning over the record.

From a personal perspective, I see the music on Virus' 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' as being some sort of eccentric cross between fellow Norwegians Arcturus, and the latter-era Americana of drone pioneers Earth. Contrary to the 'metal' label that this band and album has been receiving alot, the sound is instead more rooted in a sort of jazz-inspired desert rock, full with dissonant riffing, strange song structures and odd time signatures to hold up the rear. Instrumentally, I must say that the music is incredible at painting some quirky imagery of a post-apocalyptic desert, complete with tumbleweed and wind-bitten cow skulls.

Where the sound of Virus starts to go wrong with me are primarily to do with the vocals of Czral. Feeling far too highly mixed in terms of volume, Czral's somewhat operatic croon really tends to grind against the sound of the album, feeling cheesy and even campy at times. Although I will admit that the voice does grow with each listen, the mixing issue remains an issue. Also, while melody is obviously not a big concern with alot of avant-garde music, Virus' fairly concise and riff-based music songwriting could have done with some hooks to add a more engaging quality to the music.

An excellent album on an instrumental level, although I still am not yet convinced by the vocal work even after several experiences with it. 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' will be sure to be an album that sticks around for quite a while on playlists, and while the desert rock style here doesn't much mesh with my personal tastes, I can certainly see this as certainly being one of the more unique albums to come out in 2011.

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