Virus West

Germany Country of Origin: Germany

Virus West
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: July 23rd, 2001
Label: Ars Metalli Records
Genre: Black
1. Hellebarn
2. Sturm Der Katharsis
3. Hetzjagd In Palästina
4. Westwall
5. Fäden Des Schicksals
6. Protokoll Einer Folter
7. Meuterei

Review by Felix on December 29, 2021.

Challenging, confusing, over-ambitious – these are the words that come to my mind whenever I think of works like Virus West. I regret that I do not find access to broad parts of its material, because it seems other black metal supporters don’t have this problem and I wish I could enjoy the album as well. But I can’t, although I admit that the trio had some pretty strong song ideas. Especially the closer 'Meuterei' houses great moments. Whenever the fanfares show up, the track reveals its full force. Nevertheless, even the best track of Virus West should have been shortened to a length of seven or eight minutes. Nagelfar had an affinity for complexity, but they forgot to keep an eye on song-friendly structures. Already the opener makes this problem obvious.

'Hellebarn' wants to be an all-in-one package. Radical attacks, mid-tempo parts and an almost Viking-like “ohoho-melody” are combined, but the overall picture lacks coherence. The rare melodies are rather weak (this problem returns in 'Sturm Der Katharsis', especially the slow part with the clean vocals does not impress due to the pale guitar lines). Aggravating the situation, there is another serious defect. The production sucks. The drums are too loud and they degrade the guitars to a humming background noise during the hyper-fast sections. Moreover, the guitar tone has an unclean, rather noisy than heavy touch. As a result, it takes almost 20 minutes until the first parts appear that make me curious for more. 'Hetzjagd In Palästina' begins with very heavy guitars that mark a pronounced improvement after the first two blasts of inconsistency. However, once again I miss an overarching idea, a leitmotif that gives me orientation and leads me through the song. What remains is a pretty good track which gives me the feeling its potential would have deserved a better arrangement.

Speaking of the arrangement, the band has no liaison with smooth breaks. Some work, some damage the songs with their abrupt appearance. 'Fäden Des Schicksals' is a victim of its breaks, the very amateurish one after 35 seconds and the inadequate one after 2:30 minutes (and the following part delivers terrible vocals). Thank God, the song also presents very intensive, swashbuckling phases and the riffing does ensure a proper foundation. Either way, I would not say that Virus West confronts the listener with progressive black metal, but the band performs an unorthodox form of blackness. The suddenly occurring, keyboard-dominated part of 'Protokoll Einer Folter' underlines this statement. By the way, it’s a great sequence. But unfortunately, it leads to another outburst of senseless brutality and thus the song is devalued. In view of all these details, I do not miss Nagelfar who called it a day after this album. Technical skills and ambitions alone do not necessarily result in a strong record. Virus West demonstrates this.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10