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Virus - Carheart CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.15 | 27 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
5 stars Metal in Opposition

Sub-genre: Prog-Metal (Ventures well outside conventional Prog-Metal, though the genre provides the best overall fit)
For Fans of: Voivod (Dimension Hatross, Nothingface era), any of the heavier Avant-Garde/RIO bands
Vocal Style: A more melodic version of Denis (Snake) Belanger. Hints of Peter Murphy. No Cookiemonster or Wailing
Guitar Style: Electric, not as distorted as typical Metal fare, frequent eerie FX like tremolo
Keyboard Style: A rare note or two of a phased out moog.
Percussion Style: Modest rock/metal kit played with skillful contrast
Bass Style: Picked clean electric, often played in walks that counterpoint the guitar
Other Instruments: Cars, dogs, wood blocks

Summary: This Norwegian band, supposedly a side project, is one of those bands that comes along and requires no "grow on" time. The immediate feeling is that Virus is a non-thrashy version of Voivod. The vocals and guitar dissonance immediately conjures images of Nothingface. But differences are quickly apparent. The guitar parts are more arpeggio driven and stray from standard metal conventions in both composition and sound. The distortion is often substituted for creepy effects that harkens back to tense scenes from 70's horror films. But the influence of Piggy is all around. Frequent broad reverbs create mysterious auras in the songs.

One of the primary differences that can be pointed out Between Virus and Voivod is the story within the music is more human. The themes are of loss and madness with strange allusions and metaphors to dogs and cars. The older of the two bands had a more typically science-fiction element to their concepts. One envisions in Carheart the descent of an isolated soul into insanity during a long Nordic winter night.

While the attachment to the punky side of their primary influence is a bit subdued, further attachments can be made to bands like Univers Zero and Present. The unusual chord structures and atonal counterpoint are identifiable, though the instrument selections may not be as eclectic. More comparisons may be drawn to fathers of the gothic world such as Bauhaus, though those comparisons would be more cosmetic than substantive, though an undeniable Peter Murphy-like vocal is used in the song Its All Gone Weird.

Final Score: I became an instant fan of this "side project". Like anything that is Avant-Garde/RIO related, it is not for everybody. But those music listeners who appreciate the genre and enjoy it delivered with a more distorted electronic approach will really dig this album and should be considered essential. Carheart takes a wrinkle in Progressive Metal started by a thoughtful quartet of Canadian punks and runs with it. 4.7 stars rounded up.

Tapfret | 5/5 |


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