Virulence
A Conflict Scenario

Don’t want to go on the whole free will/determinism riff, but I firmly believe that many of life’s pivotal moments come down to a single choice. For Beantown sluggers Virulence, said moment was when they let vocalist Chris Danecek go anywhere near a microphone. I imagine it seemed harmless enough at the time. Chris: “C’mon dudes, let me sing.” Virulence: “Sure, what the hell.” God, did they fuck up.

Virulence plays an almost absolute form of Dillinger-worship, and while that’s fairly dime-a-dozen now, they do it damn well. The incomprehensible riffs crash and jar quite effectively, the jazzy guitar spurts are cool as hell, and drummer Dan Meath is an all out monster. In fact, all-instro opener “Entrance” is one of the radder songs I’ve heard lately, full of space and whirly noise and ugly-pretty elan. Kind of Mingus via Pere Ubu.

But all good things die, and here come the vocal numbers. Danecek (sorry bro, but this is for the greater good) has the most generic, monotone hardcore holler that I’ve heard since the eighties, when you couldn’t swing your dick without hitting a generic hardcore hollerer. This worthless bark systemically sucks all momentum from the music, and just plain systemically sucks. There are a couple of instances of deep death growls that you’ll miss as soon as they’re over, but it’s mostly just that fucking barking. Literally any vox-style would suit this opaque, forward-thinking music better: black metal screeching, grind gurgles, actual singing, you name it. Shit, yodeling would have been more effective. Shame, because the band display some real talent and invention, but with this line-up, nope. So for Virulence: either get him lessons, or sack him and go instro. And for all you young hopefuls out there: conduct a few auditions before you let your brother’s roommate be the singer.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeff Lamb
April 7th, 2001

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