Now, I will admit, it’s been a long while since I gave this one a spin. Not because it’s bad, but because it got lost in the shuffle of the collection. But, there was no problem at all revisiting it on my end, as Virus West is a very cold sounding album that has a ly depressing tone to it. It’s also just over an hour, utilizing track lengths to get the majestic, yet ly brooding atmospheres across. Rarely are you ever met with any sort of filler thanks to the band channelling their inner Doom Metal spirit guide to naturally keep the song alive. One of the best examples of this ends up being towards the end of “Sturm der Katharsis”. But the one track that stood the test of time in my skull was “Hetzjagd in Palästina”. The tight guitar work and focus on the bass later on in the track were all paced incredibly well to reach heights that felt grand in an honoring manner, as well as romantic at times.
But what a lot of people may not know is that this album’s line-up has some very prominent figures in it. The most notable of these individuals is Alexander von Meilenwald, who you may know from The Ruins of Beverast. His role may have just been the drummer here, but you can definitely tell where that active group’s influence stems from when you really sit down and listen Virus West. But, let’s not forget vocalist Zingultus, who is involved with a few other bands including Endstille, as well as gutarist/bassist Zorn, who is active in Simple Existenz and EgoNoir.
It’s a shame that Nagelfar had such a short, but respectable run. 2002 was too soon for this band to go, especially given how well done Virus West came out. It’s also unfortunate that was almost destined to immediately fall into obscurity. At the time Nagelfar was signed with the label Ars Metalli, which was a small underground label in Germany that eventually closed its doors. Since then, the album was reissued in Russia through Irond Records in 2002, and again in 2006 through Van Records (both in CD format). In between saw a vinyl pressing released through Perverted Taste Records in 2004, which stands as one of the most widely sought after versions, though not that much harder to come across if you’re willing to shell out the import charges.
When it comes to Virus West, or any of Nagelfar‘s releases, you can find them at a decent price if you know where to look. Major retail sites often have the prices jacked up pretty high, if they even have it in stock. If they do, it’s probably a re-issue, making it pointless for collectors who would rather the initial release. In fact, on Amazon.com there’s a copy of Virus West selling for over two hundred dollars (US) used. However, if you go to Discogs.com, you can find what seems to be an original pressing selling for eight dollars plus shipping, as well as the other reissues and full-lengths at a modest price. And, honestly, it’s money well spent as far as Virus West goes.
I haven’t heard the other few recordings, but this one is definitely something I would suggest to even the most hardened Black Metal elitist, as well as one I intend to give a little more love to than I have before writing this article. That is, of course, if the damn thing will work in modern technology. To brush up on Virus West for this series, I threw it in my player to give it a once over and refresh myself with it. The problem, however, was that it couldn’t be read on that device, even though the disc is in pristine condition. So, take that experience as you will…