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Flossing you ears with barbed wire - 7%

skinticket, March 28th, 2010

This is a very demanding piece of work. It took me countless spins to really absorb it and be able to make an opinion of it. The first few times, it seemed like just a blur. 'The Black Flux' went by without a notice, but it seemed like it lasted a lifetime. It's a wall of avant-garde noise and improvisation that would impose a pounding headache on a rock. This insane range and exceptional song structure could've made for a historic artwork in the right hands. It takes a genius mind to create something truly outstanding and unique these days, but we still strive for that goal (at least some of us). Most of them fail, but a very few select succeed at creating an avant-garde milestone that everyone else in the genre will forever be comparing themselves to.

Then there are those who just try too hard, and get lost on the way. I believe Virus are one of those. There is absolutely no context what so ever on this album, it's just an incoherent mix of instruments. Are they trying to sound weird just for the sake of weird, or were they actually trying to achieve something? The few moments that sound somewhat structured, become so repetative and annoying, that I was at many times tempted to rip the CD out of the stereo and break it to pieces.

There are so many bands who misinterpret the avant-garde genre and its use. It's not a contest of making the most fucked up, unlistenable pandemonium. This genre is the most demanding, both for musician and audience. It's a perfect blend of improvisation, focus, timing and atmosphere. There is no rules, but you still need something that appeals to the listener. A good vocalist has often saved bands from certain doom, but Czral's voice is like the tip of the iceberg. I might have just let this album go and never cared about it again, but the "singing" just gave it an extra dimension of shittyness. While the riffs and percussion are frantic and constantly shifting, Czral's noisehole is monotone and as appealing as an airstrike alarm.

I can't choose any stand-out tracks here, because they sound all the same. Even though there is a very wide range of strange and unusual frets plucked, there is no form of recognizable melodies. I like being challenged, but only if there is a reward at the end. After 15 repeats or so, it still sounds like shit. All I'm left with is a horrible headache, disappointment, and five hours of my life I can never get back. That's my opinion. I guess, if you're openminded enough, you might enjoy this, but I just didn't ever get to that point. Norway has always been a rich culture of exciting, extreme metal. I just hope this album won't be a part of that legacy.