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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.


Report this review (#168451)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
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.

Report this review (#239301)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink

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