Review: Under Attack – Virus Alert

Virus Alert is the first full-length album of Italian metal band Under Attack. In their own words:

Virus Alert is a concept album set in a dystopian future, the themes are very current such as the danger derived from a society where finance dominates, a world where mass manipulation techniques increasingly prevail. In this struggle for power all the wickedness that can inhabit man is manifested. In this Orwellian and apocalyptic world, the war for oppression occurs above all on an economic and social level.”

“Those who dominate the market, the banks and the media are those who hold true world power, power which then translates first into a ferocious dictatorship and finally into a world war, a war of the future where conventional weapons are associated with use of nuclear and battery weapons. All this evil seems to have the upper hand but the picture described by the songs lets us glimpse the light of a divine and supernatural intervention that will stop the madness of evil and self-destruction forever.”

So basically a record about a dystopian future, that is partially already happening. Packed neatly in a very retro-sounding musical landscape, somewhere between 80ies rock and metal. While listening to the album, my mind slipped quite a few times to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Most of the tracks could have been on one of the radiostations there.

The album starts off with the rather slow paced Soldier. The track is supposed to be a cry of conscience, “like the cry of a soldier preparing to attack the enemy”. It definitely is a pretty groovy mid-tempo rocker.

The record gains speed with Ready for Escape, but goes back to the mid-tempo again with Secret Plan. It’s the main tempo on the record, which makes listening a rather chill experience. Definitely not a CD to break the speed-limit. The longest song The Rules tackles the issue of fake news. Starting with an a-capella chant, and with a sound, that is heavily focused on the keyboard, it’s a early highlight for me.

Beyond the Sea is the first track, that leans more to the heavy metal side of the 80ies. By now I realised, what hassles my ear a little: the guitar-sound is a tad weird. It suits the retro-feeling, but it irritates me nonetheless.

The band’s “namesake-track” Under Attack is also a comparatively heavy song. While the unconventional main-riff is enticing, it is the enchanting chorus that sealed the deal for me. I couldn’t get it out of my head for some hours after I finished listening to it. And, like most tracks on this record, it has a great guitar-solo to boot. The Sign and the Cross and The Last War get the blood pumping one last time, before the album leaves you on a calm note with the hauntingly beautiful End Of The Road. While I like albums to end with a bang, I can’t deny, that this song is quite the perfect outro for a great record.

Virus Alert came out on January 12th on Sliptrick Records. If you miss the good old sound of the 80ies, or if you’re simply fatigued with your Vice City-Spotify playlist, give this record a listen. You won’t regret it.

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