Virus – Evilution Apocalypse
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 55:14
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, my shining black children of the night. What sweet music you make… You find me reclining upon my black leather chaise longue, idly sipping Lapsang Suchong tea and racking my poor abused grey matter for words as they are reluctant to come forth and entertain you all. I am not, surprisingly surrounded by nubile young virgins and having my all my whims taken care of today. Instead I have been to buy dog food. Even the Ipssisimus of All Things Groovy must feed the dogs. It is apparently socially unacceptable to feed humans to them anymore. Shame, it would be much fucking cheaper. Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover is as usual quixotically tilting at windmills and shouting at either a) ghosts, b) the distant howls of anguish in my torture chamber (I have it on a timeshare arrangement with a man who shoots the most depraved gay porn on Thursday afternoons. Lovely chap, he’s called Dave, although he is a disturbingly dab hand with a household spatula), c) passers-by or d) absolutely fucking anything (real or otherwise) because he is an absolute tit. I’ll allow you to make the choice as to which point is factually accurate. I have also just had my computer buried under an avalanche of Primaris Space Marines I have yet to build which has been mildly inconvenient.
Anyway, this review has been a long time coming because My Dread Master, Sir Richard of Tilley keeps sending me lots of interesting other stuff tailored to my somewhat esoteric tastes. I can only apologise to Coke and the boys for this but I always get there in the end… We are taking a hard (fnarr fnarr), critical look at the first new Virus album in THIRTY FUCKING YEARS!!! Virus first came to my somewhat misguided and misanthropic attention waaaaaay back in 1989 when I rushed home from Vibes Records in Bury with the Metal Hammer Best Of British Steel double LP clutched in my grubby and teenage hands. Completely ignoring the entreaties of my parents to “Turn that fucking rubbish down!” I played it at maximum volume and a tune called ‘Testify To Me’ came on and I just sat there stunned. It was by Virus and I played it again and again and again because it simply was a thrash metal masterpiece, well up there with the likes of Kreator, Destruction, Sodom and the like as it had that most European thrash sound – the one that lacked the penchant for over-production that American thrash bands seemed to enjoy. Anyway, to cut a long story short, this excited teenage wannabe Team Satan enthusiast excitedly recounted everything he knew about Virus to a pair of extremely uninterested parents including that Coke Finlay (or McFinlay, as he was then!) played the same Charvel guitar I did and that they were from Dundee, Scotland. To which my dear, sweet mother (this is abject creeping because my mother is quite the most formidable person I have ever met – she once got cut up in traffic after a Manchester United game in Trafford and loudly and with absolute sincerity threatened some five thousand Manchester United fans with violence, one at a time or all at once. I should point out she had got out of the car to remonstrate with them at the time) replied, “Tell the noisy Scottish twats to stop making so much noise! Otherwise I will go to Dundee and do…..” At this point I had lost interest in anything she had to say and disappeared back to my sanctum.
Virus, then. A favourite of my youth. How do they stack up today against the likes of other thrash luminaries releasing new stuff like Sacred Reich? It has to be said that they are still cutting a very visceral thrash figure. Coke appears to have got increasingly angry as he has got older and the music, while by no means the heaviest metal ever recorded, is pissed off to fuck and appears to be composed of barely contained violence. Which is exactly what thrash is meant to sound like. The record reminds me greatly of being fucked off my face on Thunderbird wine at 2am in a park with thrash blasting through my walkman, aged 17 and a half and throwing violently up into the nearest bush. Good times then… Opening tune and title track ‘Evilution Apocalypse’ starts off gently enough with some cracking thrash soloing before the metaphorical door is thrown completely open and ‘The Hand That Feeds You’ comes slamming through it and instantly eviscerates you without so much as a by your leave or a greeting. This is speedy, DIRTY thrash metal and I fucking love it! Track after track is face meltingly good and it’s a solid listening experience. I am not so happy about the production, however, the cymbals are barely audible and the guitars sometimes overpower the songs as they are quite high up in the mix – however this was a characteristic of most Euro thrash way back when so it all just kind of adds to the nostalgia of a youth lost to me… Otherwise, the musicianship is excellent, cutting thrash riffs give way to glorious thrash metal solos and beatdowns. Virus offer us lots of variety and tempos – there is also a very Lawnmower Deth –esque sense of humour at work in the utterly hilarious ‘Defective Detective (The Ballad Of Inspector Gadget)’ which manages to inject a laugh or two into the otherwise utterly serious thrash proceedings. Which can only be a good thing considering that thrash metal has always had that slightly outré sense of humour lurking just beneath the surface and certain thrash bands have always been a little po-faced, especially North American bands like Annihilator. ‘Force Recon’ even offers us some blast beats and some whammy bar work to die for as well as a dual guitar solo that’s simple yet brutal. Fucking hell, I love thrash metal so much. It doesn’t matter that Coke isn’t the world’s greatest singer – thrash vocalists were never that good as it always was a musically driven genre but by god this is a good record. Coke hasn’t lost it and this new incarnation of Virus fucking slays. There’s even a guest solo from one of my heroes, ex-Carcass string slinger Carlo Regadas!
If you’re a fan of classic European thrash, the more punk influenced American thrash like Nuclear Assault or “Natural Order” era Hellbastard, you’ll absolutely adore this record. If you’re new to the genre, you could do a lot worse than obtain this and begin your education forthwith. Speedy, violent, aggressive and powerful and fucking good!
Oh, Coke, remember that my mother wants a word with you.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has just been frantically pogoing around the room and had forgotten briefly that he is now a man of a certain age and will be paying for it in the morning. 9/10 for an almost perfect thrash record. One mark deducted because I couldn’t hear any cymbals.
01. Evilution Apocalypse
02. The Hand That Feeds You
03. Basement Conversion
04. Goat (Father, Scum and Unholy)
05. Multiple Wargasm
06. Defective Detective (The Ballad Of Inspector Gadget)
08. Force Recon
09. Release The Dead
Coke Finlay – Vocals, lead guitar
Rob Edwards – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Stewart Grassie – Bass, backing vocals
Liam Hastie – Drums
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