Virus - The Agent That Shapes The Desert review

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Band: Virus
Album: The Agent That Shapes The Desert
Release date: February 2011

01. The Agent That Shapes The Desert
02. Continental Drift
03. Chromium Sun
04. Red Desert Sand
05. Intermission: Furnace Creek
06. Dead Cities Of Syria
07. Where The Flame Resides
08. Parched Rapids
09. Call Of The Tuskers

Thirsty? Then you might want to quench that thirst before venturing into this scorching audial landscape. Avant-garde Norwegians Virus are looking to offer you a journey you'll most likely never forget. The prolific Czral is taking his jazzy dissonance and placing it smack bang in the middle of the Palm Desert.

The eerie metallic guitar work of this desert is supplanted on top of a plateau of desert rock of the likes of Yawning Man and Kyuss, most especially the former. It is primarily through the drums and bass that such a likeness is obtained, Einar Sjurso and Bjeima, respectively, manage to keep up a consistent reference to their Palm Desert inspirations. The album certainly does a good job of conjuring up images of an unrelenting sun blazing down upon a desolate wasteland. Once you enter this environment, it does not for a moment let up, Czral's near constant and bizarre vocals are interwoven amongst the jarring guitars which beat down riffs like waves of heat, both complimenting the other.

For some this will present a problem; while each track bears its own distinctive character, the listener may find themselves beginning to succumb to the unforgiving heat. Some tracks, particularly those on the latter half of the album such as "Where the Flame Resides", can seem quite monotonous and even those with their copious share of water also begin to feel the drag of the desert.

By the time you reach "Call Of the Tuskers" the heat should be starting to get to you. So much so that a mirage begins to appear in the distance, which hazily manifests itself as Garm of Ulver fame. Or is it a mirage? The closer you get the clearer his soothing presence is felt, is he guiding you out of the desert or is it simply a figment of your imagination?

If you do manage to survive this desert intact, it's not probable that you'll never return but that you'll keep coming back again and again instead. Each track offers something which can be recalled upon repeated listens. The Agent That Shapes The Desert is an experience that should appeal to fans of a range of genres as broad as avant-garde black to stoner.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 9

Written by R'Vannith | 03.11.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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