Virus IV - Dark sun 2/5

Reviewed: 9-5-08


1. Intro
2. Frightening lanes
3. Behind me
4. Dark sun
5. New karma
6. Signs
7. Such a shame
8. Silent arrows
9. The last time
10. Soulrace

Virus IV features the vocalist and guitarist from the very cool Beautiful Sin, who currently have a debut 'The unexpected', which I reviewed in 2006. Virus IV likens itself to a blend of U.S. and European power metal "fueled with the driving force and nu-grooves of acts like Disturbed". I was intrigued by the possibilities of such a combination, so I was looking forward to hearing this. As a whole it sounds like what they describe. The riffs are generally heavy and rhythmically oriented. It's not too dissimilar from the Chastain CDs 'Sick society' or 'In dementia', albeit with more and better melodies and more of a power metal backbone. But, while I was generally excited by the idea of a more power metal sounding Disturbed, and one with a singer I already knew I liked, this CD comes off flat.

The primary problem is the songwriting. The riffs are cool, and there are some decent melodies behind them, but it just never seems to come together and stick in my head. Both Beautiful Sin and Disturbed have far better choruses than the ones on this CD. "Frightening lanes" and "Behind me" are probably the most memorable songs for me, and if the rest of the songs had stayed at this quality, I would probably be more enthusiastic about the CD than I am. The title track has a cool chorus, but lacks the sharp riffing of the earlier tracks. The CD sort of plods along after that, and I find myself reaching for the skip button.

I liked the idea of Virus IV in theory, but in practice it fell a little flat. The vocals of Magali Luyten are good - she has a strong, powerful rock voice, but I can't help but feel she was given better melodies to sing on the Beautiful Sin debut. The music is generally good, but just doesn't stick in my head. Another sour note for this CD is the production. I basically hate it. It sounds a bit like a cassette recorded with the levels too high. It just sounds a little "noisy" with the mid-levels pushed and the bottom and high frequencies choked off. Hopefully the band can address the songwriting and production issues with their next effort. In the meantime, I would advise listeners to see if the songs stick with them more than me, if the style sounds like something they'd like.




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