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Jazzy grindcore? Count me in! - 100%

suicideking, December 2nd, 2006

I first came across this album 5 years ago while browsing randomly through my local CD shop's rock music section. After vigorously digging through a ton of crappy generic pop/rock bullshit, I was extremely suprised to find what would become one of my top ten favorite albums of all time.


Let's get one thing straight. This album is pure and utter chaotic destruction. The second you put it in your cd player and press the play button, you will be driven to an entirely new level of berserk. This is unlike any other album you have ever heard before. The vocals are superb, merely due to the fact that they are just screamed. That's that. It is completely and utterly devoid of melody. It isn't like a lot of that metalcore bullshit, where there's some queer singing parts and there's actual melody to the screaming. No this, my friends, is different. It's just pure, monotonous, angst-filled screaming (with some cleverly placed "pig squeals" applied here and there). The musicians show quite a suprising display of tonal mastery. They seem to know where the music is going at all times, which results in a non-kerplux of random transitions and what not. They also add a plethora of jazzy interludes to their pure grindcore-rooted sound, which is what makes them so mezmerizingly unique. The riffs are superb, quite innovative, and shows a hugely diverse range of influences well placed into the sound of their music. Abrupt and unexpected time signatures and polyrhythms are abound, and well placed at that. The bass has some really creative and technical parts applied, and is actually highly audible to the listener. One can say that the sound is reminiscent of the earlier, more grindcore-ish style of Dillinger Escape Plan, only a hell of a lot better.


You gotta give these guys props. They created some of the most bone crushingly technical metal music ever, yet for some reason they have strayed as one of the most underrated bands in existence. My only regret for this band is that they broke up way too soon, and have no plans for any more future incarnations of chaotic jazzy grindcore, which saddens me so. Overall, I would definitely place this as an important (though noninfluential) piece of metal music history. For any fans of tech death, grindcore, or even jazz for that matter, this is an absolute must-have.

Excellent Mix Of Qualities - 90%

Gorcrow, April 18th, 2006

The only reason this loses 10 points is because of the production. The guitars are a bit too high in the mix and the drums + vocals sound just a tad too distant.

Other than that, this disc is one hell of a trip.

Sort of in the same way that Sleep Terror delivers a death-jazz assault, Virulence delivers a vicious well-though-out approach to death-jazz combinations.

There are two prominent vocal styles:
-Hardcore vocals, done well, without an accent. It's just angry screaming. No singing, no bullshit word-contortioning or Boston accent bullshit, just plain angry screaming. The dude can sound pretty pissed at times.
-Guttural brutal-death style vocals. Pig grunts, basically.

That is quite an awesome combination. I would listen to hardcore if it weren't for the whiny pussy vocals and the weak half-assed melodies they incorporate passively into their songs. Not a very engaging genre, but that's besides the point. Virulence is better than that.

The drumming is a combination of jazz techniques that take their place very well in the compositions and death metal blasts that prove effective yet don't overpower the actual music. Kudos for the awesome fills.

Guitar work is mostly jazz-influenced, but in such a way that the music is still grind. Everything is memorable and well-composed so that the songs actually convey meaning and emotions. That is probably the best part of the music.

Bass is clearly audible and clearly impresses when it is heard. Very-well played, it is a part of the music and not just root notes.

Picture this album as something vaguely similar to The Painter's Palette by Ephel Duath, but remove the crappy singing and add in real emotions and a punch of agression similar to Sleep Terror.

Good stuff.