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Virus – Memento Collider album review

Eccentric prog metal mavens Virus get weirder still on new album

Perhaps the single greatest thing about the music that these peculiar Norwegians make is the way it always harbours an underlying sense that something has gone horribly wrong.

It’s there, lurking, in the perpetually dissonant riffs and deceptively intricate structures that inform the likes of 10-minute opener Afield.

At times almost Beefheart-ian in their utter disregard for traditional notions of harmony, Virus have never been further away from their oddball black metal roots; the spirit of Ved Buens Ende and Dødheimsgard may seem to haunt certain moments, but Memento Collider is visionary enough within itself, volubly echoing the awkward outsider squall of obvious heroes King Crimson while also exhibiting a knack for gritty, angular grooves that recall The Jesus Lizard at their most unhinged. The snappy, mutant disco shuffle of Rogue Fossil proves that Virus can be succinct, but it’s the warped flow and liberated lunacy of closer Phantom Oil Slick that best encapsulates this band’s wild and fascinating plunge into madness. Almost sea-shanty-like in its rolling gait, it’s a woozy but nimble surge of claustrophobic art rock, equal parts charm and menace, and it sounds quite unlike anything else you’ll hear in 2016. For that alone, Virus deserve great praise.