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Virus - Thoughts CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

2.86 | 26 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
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

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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