One of Britain’ most enlightened prog bands, Haken always combine a thrash-style ferocity with intimate complexity. Virus continues that development. Their sixth album, it follows predecessor Vector in many ways, having a similar sense of musical structure.
At the core is the five-part Messiah Complex, which allows guitarists Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths to give full rein to their jazz-rock aspirations as well as belting out some bloodied riffs.
Vocalist Ross Jennings has a more haunting presentation, which comes into its own on more introspective pieces like Only Stars and Carousel; he can sound a little lost when the brakes are released on the more metal-oriented tracks. The same can be said of keyboard player Diego Tejeida.
Although there’s much to admire on this record, Haken are still a little way from delivering the masterpiece that’s within their scope.