Thursday, October 30, 2008

Virus - The Black Flux (2008)

Born of his previous project Ved Buens Ende, this is the latest vehicle for the unique and complex musical perspective of Carl-Michael Eide (i.e. Czral). Carheart was a fascinating debut, surely, yet The Black Flux takes this haunted aural vision to new levels of desolation and rapture.

The sound of Virus has been compared to Voivod, and while I can hear some similarity in the bass groove and discordant riffing akin to Nothingface, I think that's only a starting point. The haunting vocals of Eide truly set it apart from almost anything else. Menacing and beautiful at the same time, like a Norse Nick Cave channeling Barrett or Gilmour. The musicianship is likewise phenomenal, the jangling, swerving guitars paint bizarre, dissonant landscapes which compel me to hike them repeatedly. The bass playing and drums are the perfect compliment, and the trio has a wonderful harmony (dating from their time together in Ved Buens Ende.)

Highlights are many, the bass walk below the jarring chords of the title track, perhaps. The amazing riffing of "Shame Eclipse" or "As Virulent As You". The playful journey that is "Lost Peacocks", or the dense and disturbing "Archives". I don't think it's a perfect album, but that potential is still here to earn, as I am simply not yet worthy of comprehending all its grace. For the time being, let's say that Virus have entered the upper echelon of trend-setters to emanate from the Norse metal cosmos, alongside Ulver and Arcturus. If you seek a compelling, complex and different album, read no further, go order the CD.

Verdict: Win [8/10]

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