Virus: Nuclear No Thanks/Fallacy (All The Madmen)
7″ / DL
Release November 2013
A new Virus single – and Dorset expat Nathan Brown delivers a partisan review of a new punk release from the county with no motorways.
Virus were an anarcho-punk band back in the 1980s, whose height of achievement was probably featuring on the Mortarhate Records comp “We Won’t Be Your Fucking Poor” and then disappearing. In the new millenium they reappeared from Gillingham (in Dorset not Kent, pronounced with a Gurr not a J, alright?), playing around the West Country and the South whenever they got an opportunity. Their self released album last year “Virulence” showed an angrier, harsher, more confident sound. With these two new tunes they have matured again.
The first of the 2 tracks “Nuclear No Thanks” reminds me very much of the 2nd Icons of Filth album “Nostredamnedus” – particularly in the guitar sound, but also the simplicity and straight forward nature of the song. They don’t let the message get lost by competing with the music. It’s a comparison I am sure they will be more than happy to bear.
The lyrics conjure up a disaster movie: “Nuclear? Exposure! Nuclear? Exposure! Japanese scientists live in fear. As mutated butterflies now appear”. The mutated butterflies in question grace the front sleeve, following a decision not to use the original picture of a baby born to a woman with radiation sickness. It was labelled “shocking” and “brutal” by everyone who saw it (myself included) and although, as Jaz from the band says: “That’s what the song is about”, the label were keen to go with something a bit less grim and a bit more colourful. The problem is it ain’t no fiction, this shit has happened. A few years ago this might have been dismissed as rehashing an 80s hang up, but Fukushima did melt down, and there are still dangerous levels of radioactivity in the immediate vicinity with no telling what the long term impact will be. Meanwhile our own government is pushing nuclear power options above less dangerous and ultimately cheaper renewables to please the corporates so this song is topical. I never stopped believing nuclear power was dangerous, dirty and a corporate con. I’m in good company with Virus. Consider this: A community can own a wind farm, solar farm or wave power generator (and hundreds are doing so). But only huge corporations can access the capital to build these monstrous power stations that go on polluting for thousands of years after they are decommissioned. Aside from the danger of nuclear power, it is a means for corporations to maintain a hold over ordinary people. Ahem….
The double A-side “Fallacy” features the additional vocal talents of Mel from Warminster’s A-Heads. It starts off with a stompy drum beat and a nice meaty distorted bass. Half way through, the damped guitar gives way to a slightly flanged effect creating a macabre sound reminiscent of Rudimentary Peni or Part1. Yeah, this record is definitely rooted in the 80s anarcho punk scene. There’s no escaping that. With the lyric “In the cold light of day your face has aged/ Lost the faith and you’ve fallen from grace” I wondered if this was a reflection on people who have left behind the shared values of the 80s anarcho punk tribe or something more personal. Given the quality of the production, what’s difficult to credit is that this was recorded in East Stour village hall, not a fancy pants studio. There’s proper DIY for you. It’s the way we bumpkins roll.
Virus can be found on Facebook.