Virus (UK) - Evilution Apocalypse review


3 users:
Band: Virus (UK)
Album: Evilution Apocalypse
Release date: August 2020

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)
07. MBG
08. Force Reckon
09. Release The Dead

The only Virus that I wanted this year.

Virus (UK) are a hidden gem of the 80's British thrash scene; where at the time they stood toe to toe with their peers, they have been overshadowed in the revival of interest that has taken place in the last decade and a half. Their stuttering reformation never was able to take real advantage of its own momentum like it has for bands like Onslaught or Acid Reign. It was with their first full length in over 30 years in the form of Evilution Apocalypse (having released two EPs since their reformation) that 2020 was to be their turning point; unfortunately on both accounts the band are let down again, returning as a live outfit when gigs are all but extinct and with an album that is severely undermined by its production.

Whether by accident or design Virus (UK) manage to combine the worst of raw old school thrash with a cheap-sounding modern production, creating a sound that is thin and lacking in power, and sucks the energy out of the tracks. Songs like "The Hand That Feeds You" and "Multiple Wargasms" could be more 'in your face' had your interest in the song not pierced the paper-thin production by trying to give it more than a casual listen. It is a shame as it hinders what could have been decent songs; "Goat" sounds weighed down where it wants to rampage and destroy, but instead it lumbers along merely looking menacing instead.

When the innate power of the songs manage to escape the consuming void that is the production, you have some tracks that show how much fun the band are having, being the lone factor that comes across loud and clear. Coke and new look band are just happy to be here, and that charm adds to songs like "Thrashville" and "Defective Detective", finding a middle ground in a genre that separates serious and novelty with prejudice.

The band's blend of hardcore and thrash is a welcome refresher as it harkens back to the classic hardcore sounds of bands like GBH and Discharge as opposed to more modern influences, enabling the band to separate themselves from the pack, given most new releases in this vain are more influenced by NYC hardcore or the style of bands like Hatebreed. Songs like the title track hark back to the bands root's and take you along for the ride.

Coke and McFinlay do imbue the album with some fun guitar parts that will catch your attention; though robbed of their power and precision by the production, there are several moments that manage to leap these obstacles like a hurdle runner. "Basement Conversion" is a out-and-out foot-to-the-floor thrasher that sits on its riff and stays on point throughout. "Multiple Wargasms" follows in the same vein, but it cannot puncture the skin owing to the continual shortcomings in the sound; "MBG" is much the same story. All three good songs with great guitar work that are pale versions of what their potential could be.

Sheils and Hastie round out the album on bass and drums, respectively; both appear to play well, but with the muddy tone they are both given, it is hard to really distinguish what they are really doing except in breaks (Sheils does briefly become audible in the groove section of "MBG"); Hastie sounds like he has pillows in his drums given the lack of power in his drum strikes.

Virus are a band that deserve more recognition than they get, with three solid slabs of thrash under their belts. 2020 could have been the time a spotlight was put on the band. Unfortunately with circumstances out of their hands robbing them of their platform and an album that falls off a cliff owing to the millstone that is its sound, it seems the band are going to miss out on what could have been a good victory lap for them. Evilution Apocalypse is an album that could and should have been so much better than it has turned out to be, burying its potential underneath a sound that smothers it in it's own cradle; it's worth a spin owing to the name on the album, but not worth repeated listens as a result.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Production: 3


Written on 11.10.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

Hits total: 608 | This month: 608