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CARHEART

Virus

Experimental/Post Metal


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Virus Carheart album cover
4.24 | 32 ratings | 7 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Something Furry This Way Comes (1:36)
2. Carheart (3:56)
3. Queen of the Hi-Ace (4:15)
4. Road (5:44)
5. Gum, Meet, Mother (5:00)
6. Dogs With Wheels (1:33)
7. It's All Gone Weird (5:39)
8. Kennel Crash Recovery (2:30)
9. Hustler (5:19)
10. Bandit (4:32)
11. Be Elevator (8:49)

Total Time: 49:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Carl-Michael Eide "Czral" / guitar, vocals
- Petter Berntsen "Plenum" / bass
- Einar Sjursø "Esso" / drums

With:
- Aggie Peterson / backing vocals (3)
- Kristoffer Rygg / backing vocals (3)
- Øyvind Hægeland / backing vocals (9)

Releases information

Artwork: Kim Sølve with Trine Paulsen (logo)

CD Jester Records ‎- Trick 011 (2003, Norway)

LP Duplicate Records ‎- DUPLO 32 (2010, Norway) New cover art

Thanks to ivansfr0st for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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VIRUS Carheart ratings distribution


4.24
(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

VIRUS Carheart reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Carheart" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian avant-garde rock/metal act Virus. The album was released through Jester Records in August 2003. Virus is a three-piece consisting of Plenum (bass), Esso (drums), and Czral (guitars, vocals). After Ved Buens Ende disbanded in 1997, Czral got/or already were involved with other projects (Aura Noir, Infernö, Cadaver Inc/Cadaver...etc.), but he still wanted to release something in a similar vein to the dark and abstract avant garde music style of his former band, and thus Virus formed in 2000.

Although there are some similarities to the avantgarde black metal of Ved Buens Ende, Virus is ultimately quite a different sounding beast. There are some metal traits on "Carheart", but it´s mostly in terms of attitude and a few hard edged/heavy riffs and rhythms. The material is predominantly more rock oriented though, but definitely not your average Joe rock´n´roll type music. The atmosphere is strange, dark, and gritty, and the lyrics are abstract and often downright weird. Try and listen to the robotic effect voice singing on "Gum, Meet, Mother", and then try and make sense of the lyrics...now that´s avant-garde oddness for you. Other than a few excursions into experimental vocal territories (as the example mentioned above), the vocals are predominantly deep register, monotone, with an edge of desperation to them. Not completely unlike the vocals of darker new wave vocalists from bands like Bauhaus and Joy Division or maybe even a darker and more demented Nick Cave.

The instrumental part of the music is a pretty unique combination of elements. The guitar riffs are mostly distorted, dissonant, and often use open strings to create atmosphere. The drums are often busy and fusion influenced, and the bass is instrumental in creating the dark and dense mood of the music. Keyboards and effects are used sparsely, but to great effect. The occasional nod towards spy movie/surf music is also heard. It´s hard to mention valid references with music as unique as this, but I think I hear elements from as different sounding artists as Voivod, Talking Heads, 80s King Crimson (and from the above mentioned artists already mentioned earlier).

"Carheart" is a well produced and very well sounding release, and the high level musicianship and the original style of the band´s music do not hurt the album either. This type of music probably falls under the "aquired taste" label, and there are pretty surely some listeners who won´t be able to enjoy the dark gritty avant-garde oddness and the twisted dissonant nature of the music, but to those who are able to enjoy it, "Carheart" is a high quality release and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Tapfret
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Eclectic / PSIKE Team
5 stars Metal in Opposition

Sub-genre: Prog-Metal (Ventures well outside conventional Prog-Metal, though the genre provides the best overall fit)
For Fans of: Voivod (Dimension Hatross, Nothingface era), any of the heavier Avant-Garde/RIO bands
Vocal Style: A more melodic version of Denis (Snake) Belanger. Hints of Peter Murphy. No Cookiemonster or Wailing
Guitar Style: Electric, not as distorted as typical Metal fare, frequent eerie FX like tremolo
Keyboard Style: A rare note or two of a phased out moog.
Percussion Style: Modest rock/metal kit played with skillful contrast
Bass Style: Picked clean electric, often played in walks that counterpoint the guitar
Other Instruments: Cars, dogs, wood blocks



Summary: This Norwegian band, supposedly a side project, is one of those bands that comes along and requires no "grow on" time. The immediate feeling is that Virus is a non-thrashy version of Voivod. The vocals and guitar dissonance immediately conjures images of Nothingface. But differences are quickly apparent. The guitar parts are more arpeggio driven and stray from standard metal conventions in both composition and sound. The distortion is often substituted for creepy effects that harkens back to tense scenes from 70's horror films. But the influence of Piggy is all around. Frequent broad reverbs create mysterious auras in the songs.

One of the primary differences that can be pointed out Between Virus and Voivod is the story within the music is more human. The themes are of loss and madness with strange allusions and metaphors to dogs and cars. The older of the two bands had a more typically science-fiction element to their concepts. One envisions in Carheart the descent of an isolated soul into insanity during a long Nordic winter night.

While the attachment to the punky side of their primary influence is a bit subdued, further attachments can be made to bands like Univers Zero and Present. The unusual chord structures and atonal counterpoint are identifiable, though the instrument selections may not be as eclectic. More comparisons may be drawn to fathers of the gothic world such as Bauhaus, though those comparisons would be more cosmetic than substantive, though an undeniable Peter Murphy-like vocal is used in the song Its All Gone Weird.



Final Score: I became an instant fan of this "side project". Like anything that is Avant-Garde/RIO related, it is not for everybody. But those music listeners who appreciate the genre and enjoy it delivered with a more distorted electronic approach will really dig this album and should be considered essential. Carheart takes a wrinkle in Progressive Metal started by a thoughtful quartet of Canadian punks and runs with it. 4.7 stars rounded up.

Review by frippism
COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars The full-fledging arid dry daunting intimidating hilarious and beautiful masterpiece of metal.

There are few albums to which I go to more than this one. In many ways- it contradicts any and all stereotypes of Norwegian metal. Where the stereotypical Norwegian metal band will immediately bring you images of sharp and steep cliffs and fjords, daunting and freezing winters, the first thing I usually think about when I listen Virus is the desert. A flat, bare, empty, desert. Bizarre, dissonant, with production where everything just sounds so dry and compact. Czral (who is also well known as the drummer in Ved Buens Ende), the eternal genius he is, has a distortion so dry, crunchy, bare, that it almost makes my mouth dry really. The drum set is jazzy and punchy, with all drums tuned to sound tight and with minimal echo. All cymbals are incredibly crisp. And then that bass. Almost galloping, almost as if at times it's chasing those guitar lines. It all comes to indent in the end Czral's brilliant, arpeggio-picking, drop tuned guitar. The drop-C guitar tuning brings more than heaviness in this album, but darkness, the sort of darkness I get from a hallucinations, insanity. Czral's guitars are never showy, but they are what drive this album forward into new, twisted directions. It's not that this album is that heavy, it is that it is in conclusion so twisted, dark, somewhat insane, that metal seems the only logical choice to identify Virus as.

But the sound is so different! Not quite like anything I've heard. And one of the stronger trademarks of this album, is Kvohst's powerful, epic, sincere, croon. It's almost god like. Almost as if you're walking in a desert and he is speaking over you calling you a fallish mortal and making fun of your hair. Like he doesn't take anything you do with your life seriously. It is impressive and at times really funny. There's also quite an interesting use of ambient passages in between songs. Many of them actually consist of cars whizzing by (Carheart eh?), and a particularly powerful and creepy sampling from what I assume to be dialogue from a French movie.

Every tiniest little detailed was fine tuned, to give the album the correct atmosphere, to give it that Virus vibe. It is a joy to revisit this songs to find this little tweaks, to appreciate the powerful wall of sound which the guitar work display here. It is a sound that is so unforgettable, and in many ways inspiring and thought provoking. It is emotional as it is maniacal as it is beautiful.

I suggest you join the fun!

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars On Carheart, the blasted remnants of avant-black metal outfit Ved Buens Ende shudder into life again in the new form of Virus. This time, the black metal focus which had kept Ved Buens Ende's sound anchored and coherent is set aside, resulting in freewheeling experimentation even more reminiscent of Mr Bungle. There are points where the band seem to be experimenting for experimentalism's sake and trying to feel out their new sound and songwriting preferences, and sometimes they make decisions which don't really add much aesthetically (the production applied to the vocals on the title track I find to be particularly pointless aesthetically), but on the whole it's an interesting grab-bag of ideas.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Not to be confused with the German krautrock band from the early 70s with the same name, or the English thrash metal band from Brighton, England, or the Argentinian new wave band from the 80s, or the American punk rock band from Philadelphia, or the Canadian industrial metal band of the same name, or the Prague band from the Czech Republic, or (whew!) the Russian Eurodance act from Moscow, THIS band with the infectious moniker VIRUS emerged from the Norwegian capital city of Oslo and as i just pointed out did not pick the most original of names but like any successful pathogen adapted the perfect modes of transmission into the human psyche which makes this unique sounding act the best band named VIRUS of the lot!

Norwegian VIRUS is basically a continuation of the band Ved Buens Ende formed by multi-instrumentalist Carl-Michael Eide (aka Aggessor, Czral and Exhurtum) who has been quite prolific in the Norwegian avant-garde metal scene for not only his amazingly brilliant work on Ved Buens Ende's classic "Written In Waters" but also for his work with Aura Noir, Dødheimsgard, Cadaver, Infernö, Ulver and Satyricon. While Eide's emphasis has been predominantly in the world of progressive black metal, on Ved Buens Ende and the subsequent VIRUS project he shifted gears to a more avant-garde form of jazz influenced thrash metal that took the dissonant chord rampage of Voivod and fused them with the unorthodox behaviors of his Ved Buens Ende project which released only one album and moved on.

VIRUS had a much longer shelf life lasting from 2000 to 2018 but not exactly prolific since only four albums were released. The debut CARHEART was released in 2003 and followed in the footsteps of Ved Buens Ende's avant-garde pioneering of genre mashups which at the turn of the millennium was still quite the adventurous move as such angular expressions in metal were more the exception rather than the rule. While one could compare CARHEART to one of Voivod's more progressive albums that spanned from "Killing Technology" to "Nothingface," VIRUS took the progressive aspects even further with avant-prog constructs teased out into jangly metal chord rampages with off-kilter time signatures gussied up by jazzified drumming prowess accompanied by contrasting segments of more atmospheric ambience.

While the guitar sounds are right out of the Voivod playbook, that's pretty much where the similarities end although Eide's vocal style may remind some of the Voivod stylistic approach but VIRUS offers a much more abstract form of metal with atonal guitar heft, heavily distorted tones and grooves that are somewhat accessible to follow yet offer enough curve balls to throw you off the intended trail. While this tight-knit sound is impeccable in delivery it's really hard to believe that all these sounds are coming from the mere trio of Eide on guitar and vocals along with Petter Berntsen "Plenum" on bass and Einar Sjursø "Esso" on drums. There are also three guest backing vocalists who add more textural twists to the amplified jangled avant-garde oddities in store for your unsuspecting eardrums.

Perhaps the coolest part of VIRUS' unique sound is how the three instruments play off each other and four instruments if you count the vocal counterpoints in the mix. Each has its own melodic groove and they contrast in a very jarring way yet somehow fuse together in a way where the musical delivery is easy to follow provided you have some affinity with the harsh noisy delivery process of bands like Voivod or some of the more avant-garde forms of metal. If you are unfamiliar with Ved Buens Ende then this may come off as a bit jarring and VIRUS like its predecessor is definitely an acquired taste as it requires you find an anchor buried deep within the bombastic grooves and walls of sound however this album flows in a unique way all the way through its 49 minute playing time and is pretty much a classic in the avant-garde metal world as it perfectly knits the perfect tapestry of Voivod inspired progressive thrash metal along with the jazzy experimental touches of its predecessor band. This VIRUS is completely infectious at least to those susceptible to its quirky idiosyncratic ways.

Latest members reviews

4 stars It's all gone weird: 8/10 Looking broadly, VIRUS proves to be of a wholly different species from their ancestors, VED BUENS ENDE but, just like in every good evolutionary process, they still share a few similarities, especially regarding their intrinsic characteristics. In fact, if I were to ... (read more)

Report this review (#1947197) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Monday, July 9, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Virus to me is one of the most original, brilliant and innovative band in the progressive metal scene this day. Signed with Jester Records (the label which includes a lot of unusual bands, Ulver being amongst them), these norweigen threesome play a distorted sound of the guitars, creating a very ... (read more)

Report this review (#89147) | Posted by Verwuestung | Thursday, September 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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