Review Summary: In a nutshell, Carheart could be seen as the immaculate fusion of the avant-garde convictions of Ved Buens Ende with the dark prog rock era of Voivod.
The immaculate transition of Canada’s metal pioneers Voivod from Rrroooaaarrr
to Killing Technology
and Dimension Hatross
was utterly overlooked at the time of its occurrence. Few people also took notice of the band’s shape shifting process from Dimension Hatross
and Angel Rat
. It’s like when someone sees a bright comet shredding the dark sky at the speed of light. Few people saw it, while it’s almost impossible to convince the rest whether the incident has actually taken place.
Carl Michael Eide (aka Czral) from Ved Buens Ende was among the very
few people that took hold of Voivod’s musical endeavors from day one. Ved Buens Ende’s Written In Waters
was issued in 1995 and introduced a superb mixture of the Voivod legacy along with the Norwegian eerie black metal ethics. The second comet shred the sky, however the waters were unfortunately shaken only a little and shifted back to their previous “unwritten” status.
From 1995 to 2003, Carl Michael went on to explore diverse fields of extreme metal with several bands that were more or less “out of the box” as well (Aura Noir, Cadaver, Dodheimsgard), while he began to test and improve on his skills as a guitarist. However, the musical territory that Ved Buens Ende first paced remained largely unexplored, while it could be translated in more ways than one. Virus and their debut album, Carheart
, constitute an atypical first step towards that direction.
In a nutshell, Carheart
could be seen as the successful fusion of the avant-garde convictions of Ved Buens Ende with the dark prog rock era of Voivod. The first listening sessions reveal that the band has revised with the utmost detail the songwriting ethics of both VBE and Voivod and kept those elements that would produce something truly unique and original. As a guitarist, Carl Michael retains – to a certain degree – the dissonant and atonal “vapor cloud” touch of Vicotnic’s riffing in Written in Waters
. His breakthrough in Carheart
is that he incorporates that aura into a strictly rock “less-is-more” songwriting attitude. The rhythm section – both drums and bass – could be seen as an original re-interpretation of Away’s and Blacky’s ingenious work in Angel Rat
(more) and Nothingface
(less). The bass lines adapt ideally either to playful/frenetic tempos or serpent-like moves, taking place in and out between the drums and the guitars. As for the drums, they may follow the copious road to minimalism, however they carry superb vigor and technicality, regardless of whether they go mid or slow tempo.
Behind the microphone, there lies Carl Michael. Carl Michael did the vocals on Written in Waters
back in 1995. His baritone voice sounded then atonal, abstract and somehow “lazy”. In this album, he follows a different path. He enhances his baritone pitch, while he is exceptionally ironic when it comes to how he sings the lyrics, in the vein of Snake’s work with Voivod. The lyrics… A look at the tracks’ titles and the album artwork reveal that they belong to the realm of lunacy, just as Carl Michael is.
Commenting on the the band’s overall performance, Virus add up on the firmly established tradition of rock/metal trios being tight as hell. This is even more amplified by the superb sound production, which is both “clean” and “dirty” at the same time.
All in all, with their debut, Virus set a whole new musical car-heart into function, strong enough to simultaneously incorporate influences from the avant-garde spectrum of extreme metal and rock and to live up to the most demanding expectations from today’s avant-garde rock/metal scene.
Queen of the hioace
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