Virus (NO)
Oblivion Clock


3.5
great

Review

by Voivod STAFF
February 17th, 2013 | 12 replies | 1,760 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Virus finalize/optimize their unfinished ideas from past sessions and with the inclusion of rare material, they give out more of the same, albeit with a minor twist.

One of the safest bets in the music industry is to check if bands or individual musicians have left aside unfinished songs and ideas during the song writing sessions for a series of full length albums. Stimuli and unconscious urges turn to rough ideas on guitar, bass, drums and words, and in result, to an excess of songs bearing a varying degree of quality and character. Inevitably, some of them are not going to fit exactly within the overall concept of an album and they either end up in the dumpster or left aside for future usage. As of late and in view of the crisis prevailing over the entire music industry, these dumpsters have taken the form of “limited edition” or “delux” releases, where bands are being forced -by labels- to put bonus tracks along with the standard record material. In most cases, the said bonus material does not add much to the overall quality of a full length record, as it suffices only for approximating the physical data storage limit of the available media formats.

Fortunately enough, Virus from Norway don’t see their releases as “bonus” material dumpsters. Their debut album Carheart and the song “Road” form a case in point. The origins of “Road” go back in 1995 and the recording sessions of Ved Buens Ende for Written In Waters. Although it turned out to be somewhat different in character, when compared to the sole VBE album, it proved to be a perfect match for the avant-garde rock thing that Virus introduced in 2003. In Oblivion Clock EP, Virus finalize/optimize their previously unfinished ideas and along with some rare material, initially available for the first 250 pre-orders of the The Agent That Shapes The Desert album, they give out more of the same, albeit with a minor twist.

With the exception of “Inverted Escape”, the material present in the first part of the EP (tracks 1, 3 and 4) is orbiting around a hypnotic doom/blues rock style, manifested through Eide’s crooning eccentricities, his trademark guitar/bass work and Sjurso’s intelligent drum beats. The style of these songs feels similar to that of The Black Flux, although the awesome diversity of the latter in terms of tempo ups and downs is absent. On the other hand, “Inverted Escape” is a rock n’ roll anthem eclectically confined within the temporal and instrumental field constants of Carheart and The Agent That Shapes The Desert. The only “alien” element in these premises, exists in the latent industrial vibe of the middle “intermission” track of the EP (a tradition for Virus since The Black Flux).

The remainder of the EP starts with “Saturday Night Virus”, whose rather enjoyable disco rock beat feels as a rehash of the eponymous song in The Black Flux, filtered through the straight rock agenda of The Agent That Shapes The Desert. “Seen Through The Sediments” feels like a leftover session from the aforementioned album, which fell rather short in maintaining the momentum of its predecessors and that says something about the song’s end replay value. Still, Virus save their last good card for the end of the game with their cover on the song “Shutout” from The Walker Brothers. Admittedly, Eide’s crooning cannot match the otherworldly voice of Scott Walker on any given occasion. Instrumentally though, the band is as tight as it gets, sounding better than the Walker Brothers in the original take of the song. What follows is just a mere hunch, but this cover feels as a sign of things to anticipate from this band in the future.

Despite its inherent inhomogeneity, Oblivion Clock ultimately succeeds in maintaining the interest for this band in adequately high levels until the release of the next full-length affair. The moment these lines are being written, the band is working on new material for a new album and all that can be done for now is to listen to this EP and ignore the ticks of the clocks around us.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2013



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

EP stream - http://virusnorway.bandcamp.com/album/oblivion-clock





Constructive criticism is most welcome.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

manosg
February 17th 2013



5751 Comments


I'm not familiar with this band but great work once again.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2013



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Manos.

Band sounds like no other, try them and you won't regret it.

All Virus releases are uploaded at their bandcamp location.





lostforwords
February 17th 2013



443 Comments


Man, the title track is really amazing (and it sounds closer than ever to VBE)!! The Pull of the crater is also perfect. Inverted escape is strange, might take me a little to appreciate it.
Good thing you posted this, I am psyched once again over this amazing band!

BTW great review again, is it the new Sputnik policy that we don't pos or neg contributors?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2013



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

is it the new Sputnik policy that we don't pos or neg contributors?

Yes.




Title track is close to The Black Flux too, albeit without its twists and turns, first found in Written In Waters.

That Walker Brothers cover on the last track is really good. I expect Virus to move towards their direction in the future *wishful thinking*

lostforwords
February 17th 2013



443 Comments


That Walker Brothers cover on the last track is really good. I expect Virus to move towards their direction in the future *wishful thinking*

Well I agree it's good, but playing like the that can be dangerous. They might end up sounding like a parody of themselves.
I feel that the doomy disharmonic style is part of their identity, if they ever felt the need to shift towards anything even more staightforward then I' m OK, but they might need to reconsider many things, and first of all their vocals.

*I'm not conservative, I just always felt that many of the elements that form the Virus sound, are this side of a thin line between astonishing and awefully strange.*

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2013



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You are absolutely correct, but the band's default style is kinda worn out, especially in their last album.

Do you know a band by the name YUREI? Their first album was aligned to the spirit of Ved Buens Ende as well and it was excellent, but on the second one, they migrated to prog rock for the sake of diversity and lost nearly all their charm.

I would feel alright if they move back to The Black Flux, their best album so far.

TheNotrap
February 17th 2013



7992 Comments


Don't know these guys.
Good work, as usual.

YUJOS
February 19th 2013



915 Comments


Good work Voi! Really enjoyable release. Really love the bass lines in here. Saturday Night Virus (not fever-fix it in the 4th para) took me by surprise, kinda a dissonant pop song???

Digging: Misery Index - The Killing Gods

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2013



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks.

The bass was taken care of by Carl-Michael in this one and while he is nowhere near Plenum or Bjeima, he is rocking.



NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2013



6942 Comments


is it the new Sputnik policy that we don't pos or neg contributors?

Yes.


Mate, Welcome our new staff.

Voivod, great job on your first "pro" piece, I will be checking this out



Wizard
July 18th 2013



19248 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fuck I love your reviews Voivod. Just got around to spinning this and it rules.

Digging: Nachtmystium - The World We Left Behind



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