Sunday 2 December 2018

Master Boot Record - Virus.DOS

Labels: Blood Music
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 02 Oct 2018


1. V-Sign
2. Skynet
3. Walker
4. Elvira
5. Virdem
6. Mars
7. Crash

Technology is a divisive subject nowadays. It's been used in recent times to synthesise metal music, which to me seemed weird when I first came across it; however, that was before I discovered Master Boot Record. As much as the purist in me wants to call foul, I've really enjoyed what I've heard by the project and the fact that MBR is now a live two-piece only sweetens the deal, as it makes the music more human (if that's possible). Anyway, the project's newest offering "Virus.DOS" was released digitally via Blood Music in October. This review is written out of appreciation for MBR and with that in mind, I probably won't be featuring any other synthwave/chip-tune music on the blog.

There’s something about MBR that’s caught my imagination lately and alongside the stupid “Deep Web” Youtube videos I’ve found myself watching, I’ve been a bit hooked on the band. It’s a bit of a departure for me but I’m embracing it just this once. The only problem i’ve been facing is how to adequately describe MBR’s music in writing. “Virus.DOS” is no different to the project’s previous work, where synthesisers have taken centre stage with back up from programmed percussion. Album opener V-Sign is a short intro piece, making use of the upbeat nature of the music to get pulses rising. It seems to me that MBR would sit neatly alongside more extreme bands on a festival bill with no problem at all. That thought is evidenced by Skynet, which sounds more extreme in a cyber-grind/industrial kind of way. It’s ambient and atmospheric as well as being fast in tempo, while the 80s sci-fi influence is strong. 

There’s more melody present on Walker, which subtracts the rave-like textures of Skynet and replaces them with neo-classical music and layers of noise that are quite mesmeric. It’s split into movements that are separated by brief moments of silence. The second movement of Walker grows in technicality with a beat that’s akin to dub-step in the background. The music on “Virus.DOS” does take on a more sinister form as MBR progresses through the record. Elvira takes on the horror-film vibe and turns it up with the use of ridiculous amounts of synths and energy. it’s so hard to describe it properly as it’s something you need to listen too to fully grasp. The goth/industrial dance mayhem is back on Virdem and even though describing it as such is doing the song a disservice, there are moments where it would make complete sense for this to be blasting over the dancefloor of a dark and sweaty alternative nightclub. There’s more of an unnerving and twisted plot to the music than  that of earlier release “Interrupt Request” (which has been my main reference point). 

There are still some truly uplifting moments here though and Mars is one of them, with its cinematic melody that sits at the top of the song’s opening bars. It gives way to a verse that again ventures further into the neo-classical/symphonic side of MBR’s being but it’s no less enjoyable because of that. Fun is definitely a word you can use to describe this record, in a genuine way. It’s both heavy and safe for the norms. Ending with Crash, which is similarly as energising as the album’s opener, it’s hard to fully comprehend what’s just happened. Alongside the programmed drums, there is some virtuoso synth work that can be heard. It’s as close to technical, progressive metal as you can get without really being categorised as such and it acts as a great crossover or gateway album. Chances are that if you’re reading this review then you already know and love MBR and I’m just preaching to the converted. If not, then at least give it a chance. 

Stream and purchase "Virus.DOS" as a name-your-price download below:-

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