This anarcho punk band from Dorset, not to be confused with the UK thrash band of the same name, originally trod the boards in the early Eighties, splitting in 1986, but have been quite prolific – not to mention in fine form – since reforming in 2006. Pathogens is their latest eight-track MLP, but if you pick up the CD version, you get nine bonus tracks from their last five 7” releases, and it’s a cracking collection of stirring punk rock.
The first thing that strikes you is how great it sounds; the production is rock solid, and the exceptional clarity and power of the recording really helps the songs hit home hard. And that’s the next thing of note: the songs. In the same vein as classic bands such as Subhumans, Instigators and The Mob, Virus don’t shy away from a memorable hook, and Pathogens is full of catchy choruses. And their imaginative arrangements – veering from driving hardcore to upbeat ska – maintain a compelling momentum throughout. Some of the vocal deliveries are a little eccentric, but that adds to the offbeat charm, and it’s worth noting that Dave, the singer that graces this disc, has since left the band and Virus have continued as a three-piece, the other members handling the vocals, without compromising the impact of this material.
If you like almost any of the anarcho punk that’s emerged from the UK these last four decades, it’s a safe bet you’re going to be captivated by Virus who successfully tap the vibe of bands like Rudimentary Peni, Omega Tribe and Icons of Filth – and even Killing Joke for some of the heavier, more tribal moments – and give it a fresh intelligent twist all their own. Pathogens is a prime example of how UK punk has evolved and kept itself relevant without losing sight of its traditional roots, and thanks to Grow Your Own’s wonderful attention to detail, it looks as good as it sounds. If you love any of the bands mentioned in this review, you need to snag yourself a copy of this tout suite. Ian Glasper
Find out more about Virus, and order Pathogens, here