Genre: Black Metal
02 Sturm der Katharsis
03 Hetzjagd In Palastina
05 Faden des Schicksals
06 Protokoll Einer Folter
Ván Records is probably one of the brightest shining stars in the new wave of black metal that has currently plagued the scene. While almost everything currently being gobbled up and effectively vomited all over the face of black metal is, well, pure untalented garbage, Ván continues to release quality albums from the likes of The Ruins of Beverast, Kermania, and Funeral Procession. Their newest offering, a re-release of Nagelfar's 2001 album, "Virus West" (originally released on Ars Metalli and in 2004 on 2X LP format by Perverted Taste Records) is most definitely no exception. Featuring 7 tracks that clock in at just over an hour long, this release is a rather progressive look into the realm of not only German black metal, but black metal that requires talent to play in general. With a scene stagnated with worthless musicians and false causes, its refreshing to hear a band that actually has the skills required to make truely dark music without the need for any sort of epic or keyboard-laden atmosphere.
The band Nagelfar itself has been laid to rest in 2002, however, a release of this quality and talent deserves to continue to see the light of day, so Ván's urgency to get this album back out in the open is for good reason. A decent amount of curiosity surrounds this band from the time of Virus West's initial release due to the fact that there was fairly little information to be found on them from the time they broke up. A note of interest though is that drummer Rykthius V. Grhabakk von Meilenwald went on to become part of several bands found on Ván Records, including The Ruins of Beverast and Kermania.
The music on Virus West is powerful and dark, pushing forth an intelligent style of black metal that really takes on an identity all of its own. Standing tall amongst other great releases in the scene, the production is clear with the usual black metal harsh bite. Personally, I don't see anything new on this album, or anything that stands out in general other than the release as a complete piece of work. The booklet is thick and the artwork found within is beautiful and sea-themed. The music is top notch, written and performed by true musicians, not just kvlt children attempting to sound grim. It has slight moments of experimentation such as the vocal and guitar mixes in the latter half of Sturm der Katharsis. The album just doesn't particularly have anything to stand out and above the immediate hordes of untalented black metal. This isn't to say this release isn't great, because it is. There is just a slight something missing that could have really given Virus West an edge. Don't let any of these words take away from this release as it is a beautiful piece of blackened dark art that does deserve the support of black metal followers. However, if you are looking for something new, this would perhaps not be the place to start your search.