Norwegian band Virus have been on my radar for a while but as with many bands, I have so much I have to listen to for reviews and other bands I am listening to, I just kept forgetting to check them out. Fortunately, my good friends at Earsplit PR fixed the issue by sending me the new Virus album, “Memento Collider.” I am glad they did!
Virus are an avant garde rock trio who are centered around Czral, the vocalist and guitarist. His guitar work is often uncomfortable and challenging which is why I love it. His vocals are more like an oration rather than a flowing melody. His voice falls somewhere between Ole Petter Andreassen (a/k/a El Doom) and Bjørnar E. Nilsen of Vulture Industries. Each of these gentlemen are also Norwegian so there’s definitely something special in the water in Norway.
This is not to downplay the contributions of the rhythm section. In fact, with very little overdubs (if any), bassist Plenum and drummer Einz are critical to the flow and groove of each track. Einz keeps the songs going and Plenum is a very melodic bassist who interacts well with Czral’s shape shifting guitar work.
But how is the music on “Memento Collider”? Odd. Whether it’s the 10 minute opening epic “Afield,” which at times sounds like Czral is tuning his guitar while the song is pulsating, to the following track “Rogue Fossil,” which will have you questioning if you are pronouncing the word “fossil” correctly, this is not easy stuff. And then you have “Dripping into Orbit” which just STOMPS while “Steamer” sounds otherworldly. I have no fucking idea what Czral is talking about lyrically on tracks like “Phantom Oil Slick” but the vocals are just a part of the overall swirling strangeness that pours out of this album.
Virus are not for those who like their music as a friend that sits in the background. “Memento Collider” is an album that forces itself to the front of your consciousness whether you like it or not. I’ve taken a while to find Virus but like anything truly viral, this is a band that will stay with me for sure.
2. Rogue Fossil
3. Dripping into Orbit
5. Gravity Seeker
6. Phantom Oil Slick