Virus (NO)
Memento Collider


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (277 Reviews)
June 18th, 2016 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Let the virus infect you, wherever you go.

Virus' latest album, Memento Collider, has the same sort of intention for 2016 that Dodheimsgard's A Umbra Omega and Lychgate's An Antidote for the Glass Pill had for 2015: To sound like no other record released this year. Every time a band promises that their upcoming album will sound like no other, it's usually quite the opposite and it's even harder for the listener to compensate the amount of uncontrolled hype supporting said album. If you're Virus however, who were one of the first bands around when the Norwegian black metal scene began to take more than a mere passing interest in avant-garde musicianship, you don't really need to prove that your album will be untouched.

Such is the reputation that Virus have received over the years for being a more distilled albeit still inquisitive answer to the more bizarre likes of Dodheimsgard and Arcturus, that you don't really need to do your homework before listening to Memento Collider. It's an album that, even for Virus, sounds completely new. You could argue that their sole purpose as a band had already been fulfilled on past efforts (particularly The Agent that Shapes the Desert), but Memento Collider from the get-go gives you the impression of a band reborn, rather than reworked. The pleasant, both settling and unsettling opener, "Afield" is the best proof you need to realize that Virus are on a mission to be as bizarre as possible without any fear of sounding like a bit of a circus act. The poppy underlying groove gets heads nodding almost instantly, the swirling guitar chords make for a subtly sexy ringing in the listener's ears, and Czral's creepy vocal delivery serves as a bit of a maniacal sermon. Whilst the song remains relatively straightforward in its musical direction, the halfway point does signify a louder, more intense energy which automatically surrounds you as seamlessly as its first few moments. "Afield" is simply one of the best songs of its kind, yet at the same time it does its job perfectly: to be in a field of its own.

Be this as it may however, no other song on Memento Collider comes within touching distance of the quality of that opening ten-minute epic. The rest of the album is great, but you never really get the impression that Virus take off or get into full flight of their ambitions. Sure, there are numerous hints of the band's musicianship becoming more and more eccentric, but it doesn't quite feel like Virus have reached the destination they wanted to-it's more like they're only 90% of the way there. Frustrating as that is, there is a lot of post-punk influence here, and that probably compensates the poppy, industrial grooves throughout near enough every song. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you don't get the vibe of latter-day Killing Joke here from the get-go, you may need to give the record another listen. The main problem with this groove is that, as unmistakably infectious as it is, the repetition will undoubtedly get tiresome for those who prefer their avant-garde/progressive metal a little more frenzied. The hypnotic musicianship is brilliant if you're listening to the odd song from Memento Collider, but in one fifty-minute block, you can get the wrong sort of headache. That said, the darker tones of "Dripping into Orbit" and "Steamer" are very promising and the heavier guitar work manages to break free of any loss in momentum beforehand.

Virus' Memento Collider, like any other record self-proclaiming to be "like no other", obviously has tons of ambition at stake. What the band have seemingly lost in translation however, is the idea of grasping a climax for each and every song here to fully make sense, to get to where it has intended to go from the beginning. Then again, with Virus' well-renowned history in the avant-garde metal field, you can't fault their ever-aspiring talents to attempt to go where no band has gone before. Put simply, Memento Collider is one of 2016's more interesting, charming works, and will undoubtedly lull the listener into a false sense of security.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2016


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

c/c is welcome as always.

Digging: Mastiff - Plague

RustCohle
June 18th 2016


249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review and an awesome album....the dudes from Ved Buens Ende can't do bad!

Digging: Altarage - The Approaching Roar

Willie
Moderator
June 18th 2016


17623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

I really like this album. The vocalist kind of reminds me of Garm around the Marriage of Heaven and Hell days. It's like a dark, progressive, New Model Army.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2016


8195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Album stream: http://virus.bandcamp.com/



Well written review, the album is post-punk in spirit rather than form.



Also, unlike The Agent... the album is memorable, it contains at least one more "hit" ("Steamer"), whereas the chorus in "Rogue Fossil" is infectious.



A low 4 for me atm.

Digging: Sordide - Hier Déjà Mort

Maco097
June 18th 2016


2986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Finally this year gets one excellent album.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2016


8195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Imho, there's plenty more (excellent albums) where this came from.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2016


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Imho, there's plenty more (excellent albums) where this came from. [2]

Oceandrowned
June 24th 2016


837 Comments


So, one of my 2 favorite avant-garde bands(Kayo. and VIRUS) put out albums in less than 1 week? Crazy year for metal. INTENSE I MUST SAY.

DePlazz
August 26th 2016


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How the hell did I miss this!? Damn you Terminal Redux, must listen to this asap

DePlazz
September 7th 2016


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're getting more catchy with this. Still haven't heard The Agent, but this doesn't grab me as The Black Flux did.

DePlazz
September 7th 2016


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But Gravity Seeker has a guest solo by Dan Mongrain (Martyr, Voivod), which is totally cool.

Cimnele
December 20th 2016


1431 Comments


dig

the vox are so dadly

they wanna burst out into dancy post-punk on every one of these songs but they are so mired in clustery hate chords haha

DePlazz
December 21st 2016


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rogue Fossil m

Cimnele
December 23rd 2016


1431 Comments


i think these guys on reflection stick too close to their dischord groove gimmick and don't play enough with crescendo or rhythm. like the opener from Carheart will be stuck in my head forever but I'll never be able to give any of their albums a five because the formula is just blatantly on display

similar reasons I can't give latter-day Melvins work a five star rating under any circumstances. i love em to bits but the limitations of their creative process are hard to ignore

they found a cool niche though

DePlazz
November 13th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2177813509096860&id=1549074301970787

They're gone, which sucks. Loved these weirdos, gonna keep on jamming their weird music.

Lichtbringer
January 30th 2019


45 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Only wrong turn this band ever took was breaking up.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2019


8195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

^^I hear you, but the band exhausted whatever room for exploration its style allowed, in the first two albums.



I remember listening to Agents..., and being relatively disenchanted that it wasn't as good as previous releases.



This one is better, but still, it reiterates ideas from previous albums, so I figure the band contemplated "what good is there in producing slighty better or slightly worse versions of the same thing?"

DePlazz
January 30th 2019


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hear a lot of Virus in new projects such as Gargoyl. They've definitely planted their seeds.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2019


8195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

^^Interesting, thanks for the heads up!



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