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VIRUS

Heavy Prog • Germany


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Virus biography
Virus were a psychedelic band originating from Bielefeld in Northern Germany. Their music incorporates Pink Floyd's space rock, heavy keyboards somewhat reminiscent of Deep Purple all put together into long songs filled with jams. They released only two albums -- "Revelation" (1970) and "Thoughts" (1971). The album was recorded in Star Studios, Hamburg and produced by Konrad Plank. The Virus lineup for the first album is: Werner Monka (guitar), Jorg-Dieter Krahe (organ), Bernd "Molle" Hohmann (vocals, flute), Reinhold Spiegelfeld (bass) and Wolfgang Rieke (drums).

"Revelation" starts as a straight forward psychedelic track and develops as the song conines forward. Towards the middle of the song comes in a cover of the Rolling Stones song -- Paint It Black. Another homage is found in the second song where at the end you can hear a Saucerful Of Secrets choir bit. This album is very inventive and contains surprises along the different tracks. These songs have long guitar playing parts and exciting organ playing, both demonstrating very good musicianship.

The second album "Thoughts" is a big change from their first one. The lineup change considerably as well, leaving only Krahe and Rieke from the original group. The new members were: Axel Nieling (drums), Jurgen Schafer (bass, vocals), Bernd Rosner (guitar) and Werner Vogt (bass, guitar, vocals). In this album they abandoned their long tracks and space rock and psychedelic nature. This album presents a more mainstream approach with blues rock songs. Therefore this would not be of interest for those looking them for their psychedelic and progressive sound.

In 2004 a 1973 live show was released under the name Remember.







Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
heavy progressive from the early 70's



Discography:



Revelation - 1970
Thoughts - 1971
Remember (Live 1973)

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VIRUS discography


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VIRUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 46 ratings
Revelation
1971
2.84 | 23 ratings
Thoughts
1971

VIRUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.18 | 11 ratings
Remember
1973

VIRUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VIRUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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VIRUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Revelation by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.62 | 46 ratings

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Revelation
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars This VIRUS sprang up in Bielefeld, Germany in 1970 and joined in the early Krautrock world of progressive psychedelic rock mixed with some early hard rock for this debut album REVELATION that featured the quintet of Werner Monka (guitar), Jörg-Dieter Krahe (keys), Bernd "Molle" Hohmann (vocals, flute), Reinhold Spiegelfeld (bass) and Wolfgang Rieke (drums). VIRUS is notable for having two albums that emerged in 1971 with two different lineups with this one being the first. REVELATION was released on the BASF label while the second album of the year "Thoughts" was released on Pilz which was a sub-label of BASF.

While named after a pathogen, unfortunately this VIRUS was asymptomatic as the infection rate was non-existent and the band despite sticking it out until 1973 failed to infect enough hosts to survive and went the way of the seasonal flu. The two albums from VIRUS were as different as the lineups that played on them. REVELATION was the much freakier of the two with an emphasis on "A Saucerful Of Secrets" era Pink Floyd styled psychedelic jams as heard on the two lengthier openers which includes the title track and the even more tripped out "Endless Game."

The title track starts off as a one of those Floyd inspired trips around the stars but surprisingly turns into a heavy psych cover of "Paint It Black," yeah, the Rolling Stones song which the entire track is actually built around however VIRUS took a lot of creative license to make it unrecognizable for the most of the track including the classical opening notes of the Spanish artist Isaac Albeniz. The track takes wild journeys into cacophonous roars and avant-garde extremes but manages to keep within the gravitational pull of Earth's obit and morph back into the familiar melody of the Stones' famous 1966 #1 hit. Although there are scattered vocals on REVELATION, the title track is completely instrumental but done quite well.

The following "Endless Game" also displays a classical intro only this time sounding more like a fugue from J.S. Bach before a more spaced out version of Mark II era Deep Purple with some pounding organs and blues rock guitar. The addition of the heavy fluttering flute runs anchors this album to this extremely creative period of prog rock that only lasted for a few short years in the 70s. This is also one of the best tracks on the album with lots of tempo shifts, variations in dynamics and a much more heavier hitting hard rock groove with some of the most satisfying satisfying psychedelic jamming moments that sounds like Birth Control had a lysergic session with Jon Lord from Deep Purple. Think of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and you're on the right track with this one.

The rest of the album is much more of a mixed bag. "Burning Candle" sounds like Jimi Hendrix joined in as the guitar parts exhibit his unique bluesy guitar style and along with the drums and organ really sounds like Jimi's gonna burst in and start singing at any moment. Very competently performed actually but one of the less exciting tracks due not only to the rather unoriginal approach here but also because of Bernd Hohman's weak vocal performances which thankfully are few on REVELATION. "Hungry Loser" is another gem only this time takes the Hendrix guitar licks and makes them less Hendrixy. More organ drench heavy psych that drifts into a completely spaced out escape into the a softer piano roll fueled track that contains vocals but much better than the previous awfulness. This track slinks on for over ten minutes of heavy psych and Krautrock fueled variations.

"Hungry Loser" basically morphs into the closing "Nur Noch Zwei Lichtjahre" which finds a creeping psychedelic rock groove finishing out the album with spoken narrative prose in the German language accompanying. After all is said and done, VIRUS may not have been the most glaringly original band on the block during the early Kraut days but they certainly had the chops to craft a satisfying mix of heavier blues fueled rock with nice Floydian head trips. While the few vocal performances can be a bit harsh they are few and far between and often innocuous. While it's doubtful many caught this VIRUS that resonated for the decades to follow, this period piece perfectly exemplifies the mood of the era and done quite well. Personally i like this one a lot even if it doesn't measure up to the greatness of Amon Duul II, Can or Faust.

 Thoughts by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.84 | 23 ratings

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Thoughts
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Just like a mutating infectious agent that found its way into the general population, Germany's VIRUS completely morphed into a new band all within the same year of 1971 when it released its two albums. Just a few months after the release of "Revelation" on the BASF label, VIRUS basically imploded after various clashes of personality in the band and therefore Bernd Hohman (flute, vocals), Reinhold Spiegelfeld (bass) and Werner Monka (guitar) all departed VIRUS and took much of the Pink Floyd fueled psychedelic rock of the first album with them. Replaced with Werner Vogt (vocals, bass, guitar), Jürgen Schäfer (vocals, bass) and Axel Nieling (percussion, drums), VIRUS emerged with its second album THOUGHTS sounding like a completely new band, well almost. The departing members went on to form the heavy psych band Weed.

THOUGHTS was also picked up by the Pilz label which was actually a sub-label of the BASF label just to make things more confusing. On THOUGHTS the band's sound was shifted completely in a hard direction while retaining the meditative organ fueled workouts as heard on "Revelation," however by jettisoning all the trippy meandering jams and lysergic fueled head trips into space, VIRUS acquired a much more focused sound that was much more in the camp of early Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Qatermass. There were many differences in the musicians' duties as well. With vocalist Bernd Hohman leaving, the new vocal duties were shared between Vogt and Schäfer who were much better singers and whose style served the music well. The bass and guitar were played in tandem creating heavier riff based hooks while the two percussionists created a much more diverse and energetic display of drum drama.

With ten tracks that average around the five minute mark, THOUGHTS crafted more accessible rock tunes that fit in with the organ fueled hard rock sounds of the early 70s and while the band was quite competent at this style of harder edged rock didn't succeed in standing out amongst the competition. Despite the move away from psychedelic rock, there are still shorter moments where the band chose more contemplative trippy segments that contrasted with the heavier standard sound that THOUGHTS offered. While the hard rock aspects appeared on the debut album, they were a bit too steeped in Jimi Hendrix worship but on THOUGHTS that is avoided altogether and the band offers a hard hitting series of guitar driven gusto with organ roars and a nice fuzzy heavy psych effect.

VIRUS' biggest problem was that it failed to really stand out substantially on either of its albums and although THOUGHTS is performed really well nevertheless sounds as if it was just one of countless English bands of the era given that it also changed over from the German language on "Revelation" (which made it feel more authentically Krautish) to the English language on THOUGHTS. While all the tracks are of equal caliber none really jump out and grab you either. Birth Control and Frumpy were Germany's answer to this style of organ driven hard rock with progressive touches and unfortunately VIRUS didn't quite have the originality to stand out from the pack but there is no question that the music presented on THOUGHTS was of the same caliber as even the vocals on this one are perfectly suited and the stylistic approach is appealing as well. This was the end of the road for this VIRUS as the contagion was extinguished soon and with the exception of a contribution to a various artists released called "Heavy Christmas," nothing was heard from this band again until the archival live release "Remember" in 2004.

3.5 rounded down

 Remember by VIRUS album cover Live, 1973
3.18 | 11 ratings

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Remember
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars VIRUS released only 2 studio albums, both in 1970. This is a live album recorded 3 years later and sounding quite different from their early stuff. Since their two studio records they've added another percussionist and also a sax player to their lineup.The music here is bluesy and energetic with lots of organ, sax and guitar with a relentless beat. The vocals are ok but honestly this recording pales when compared to their debut.

My least favourite track is "Rock 'N' Roll", a very bluesy tune with vocals and lots of organ and drums. My favourites are the last two songs. "King Heroin" picks up before 1 1/2 minutes as the sax joins in. Nice bass too. The guitar joins in a minute later. They just jam here for a considerable amount of time. Just a great sound. "Woods Fun" has a nice heavy sound as the sax comes in. Organ after 2 1/2 minutes. This is the longest track at over 10 minutes and there's some really good jamming going on here. Good song.

So a pretty good live record but i'll stick to their studio albums.

 Remember by VIRUS album cover Live, 1973
3.18 | 11 ratings

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Remember
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars This is a high-energy, blues-based hard rocking live album from a band with little documented history but who seem to have done an admirable job of keeping up the paces while they were on stage.

Despite being German and existing in the early seventies, this is more modern hard rock than it is progressive or Krautrock. There aren’t any grandiose lyrical themes or complicated arrangements, but there is an abundance of horns (mostly saxophone) which wasn’t particularly mainstream in that period.

The sound quality is pretty good for a live album, although the Garden of Delights reissue is surely cleaned up from the original vinyl (which I have not had the pleasure to hear, but is a reasonable assumption anyway). The band manages to keep up a high level of energy throughout, and there aren’t any mellow tracks. The keyboardist Jörg-Dieter Krahe sounds a bit like Jon Lord with a dose of acid under his tongue, and Wolfgang Rieke’s drumming isn’t overly ornate but he is quite intense at times.

The title track has some great guitar licks all through the song, including an extended instrumental piece. The band has a tendency to lay into longish jams all through the album, not surprising considering the times and the fact that they were in stage at the time. I would be interested to hear one of their studio albums in comparison, but as yet haven’t had the chance.

A few of the tracks here aren’t much more than heavy rock with little if anything progressive about them, “Rock 'n Roll”, “King Heroin” and “Settle Down” in particular. The last of these sounds a bit like the heavier parts of the first couple of Chicago albums, mostly thanks to the saxophone and keyboards.

The album closes with another jam session, the ten-minute long “Woods Fun” with extended keyboard funkiness and free-form jazzy saxophone. This must have been a crowd pleaser on a dark summer evening under the skies (I’m imaging this was the setting, but who knows…).

I suppose these guys are forgotten for a reason, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend this album for someone trying to discover progressive music. But the tunes are all originals, the sonic quality of the music is quite good, even for 1973, and folks who get into long jamming heavy rock will probably dig this album a fair bit. Three solid stars for sure, and recommended mostly to fans of bands like Uriah Heep, Cactus, Colosseum – stuff like that.

peace

 Revelation by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.62 | 46 ratings

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Revelation
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by Agemo

3 stars At the beginning of the nineteen seventies there were a few German bands who made some incredible psychedelic rock. Not very experimental (like the krautrock bands) or particular original, but just great rock music. These were bands like Armaggedon, Gomorrha, Message, Hairy Chapter and Virus. The latter released it's debut in 1970, which consists of five long tracks. The long opener is a rendition of Paint it Black. The beginning of it sounds more like Santana, but halfway the track you hear the melody of the Stones song. This track is very dynamic with lots of guitar, organ and flute solos. The most psychedelic and Pink Floyd like is the 12+ minute Endless Game. A great track with manic flute playing and an old fashioned organ sound. The ending sounds a bit like Floyd's Echoes. Other fine tracks are the bluesy Hungry Looser and the heavy Burning Candle.

So don't expect very original music. What you get is great heavy psychedelic rock played by accomplished musicians. The vocals aren't very good, but on the other hand there is not much singing on this album anyway. An enjoyable album.

 Thoughts by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.84 | 23 ratings

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Thoughts
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As mentioned already in their biography second album by German band Virus revealed quite a significant change in their sound compared to their debut. Little resemblance to psychedelic Krautrock can be found on this one here which had been recorded by an almost completely different line-up. There were even rumours saying that Heep's Ken Hensley had been involved in making this record. And actually the style presented here wouldn't be that far away from the one of that famous British band and could be described as organ-dominated heavy blues rock. Probably not to be called really that much progressive in the literal sense and by far not unique what we get offered here since there were plenty of bands during that era doing a similar kind of music. But on the other hand this one's anything than a boring affair I would say and still worth a couple of spins assumed one likes early 70's hard rock. Fans of early Purple, Heep, Sabbath or Black Widow might be interested to check it out but I doubt that this record can be considered relevant for any Prog fan. Very solid proto-Prog though and worth **1/2 really!!
 Revelation by VIRUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.62 | 46 ratings

BUY
Revelation
Virus Heavy Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars eally!!!

In the early 90's race to release rare German from the early 70's, three labels raged on: Repertoire (with their big means, they managed most of Phillips and subsidiary Vertigo and much more outside the country), Ohrwaschl (who released the legendary Ohr label as well as the other legendary label Kuckuck) and Second Battle, who always seemed to get the second choice material (getting stuck with Light Of Darkness, King Ping Meh and Gift. Lately of course, Garden Of Delights have been taking most of the cake, serving us a bunch of goodies (a few less ripe though), but when comparing labels specializing into German re-issues, Second Battle always seems to get the lesser ones.

This quintet recorded just two albums, this debut by excellent producer Konrad Plank in Munich - where so much of Germany's "spacier" rock was being recorded. You might want to think of a cross of Floyd (for the heavy freak-out bouts) with some early 70's UK heavy progressive between Purple (Jon Lord for the organs) and early Sabbath (Geezer Butler on bass), or Raw Material.

The lenghty opener is a good 12-min+ improvisation based on the Stones' Paint It Black (a fave of mine and of many progheads as this was one of their most covered tracks), but this is maybe one of the best homage ever done to the track (along with metalheads Anvil and fellow early proggers Jody Grind). Endless Game (also above the 12-min mark) starts very slowly with great organs underlined by a superb and delicate guitar, being replaced gradually by a flute and bass riffs and then heavy freaking passages not far away from Floyd (around atom Heart Mother), simply great if not completely original, though!! Burning Candle is however a much shorter and harder track and can be thought of Alvin Lee jamming with Ten Years After. The 10-min+ Hungry Looser is again sensibly harder rocking, until the song breaks into a bluesy piano, and it could be the low point in the album, but hardly worth pushing the SKIP button on your remote control. The album closes on a 7-min+ psych deliria bringing you gladly back to the first few tracks. This heavyly Floyd-influenced track is simply awesome and much recommended if you are about to spark a Jamaican cigar.

They will then move to the ultra small (and now very collectible) label Pilz, but their second album (with only two original remaining members) will be a far cry from the great haunting atmosphere dominating this one. But with Virus, they struck a pretty good one, with this heavy psychedelic group specializing in lenghty space rock tracks (sometimes approaching Floyd at its spaciest) and dreamy voyage around our atmosphere. Yes, it was about time that Second Battle actually got the better release, leaving Ohrwaschl the worse one. Yes it was about time Second Battle actually released a superb album inn their re-issue series. Hardly groundbreaking but quite enjoyable.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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