Record Label:Marquee Records
Release Date:1987 & 1988/Reissued 2013
Talk about a blast from the United Kingdom’s past. I remember these bastards from back in the day. Well Marquee Records have done an excellent job in reissuing Virus’ first 2 albums, Pray For War and Force Recon onto 1 disc. The debut album, Pray For War, I was never particularly impressed with in ’87. It had some crossover/punk thrash overtones throughout and basically the production on the album is really bad, thin, and just does a disservice to the actual songs, which some of them are pretty killer. Thankfully the remaster boosts the levels and makes the album a lot more enjoyable to listen to, however not all is perfect in that department. “Risen from Death to Die” is a little wonky in the remastering department with the song not sounding as great as the rest of the songs, mainly affecting the guitar tone. I spoke to Marquee Records owner, Armando, who stated the original source material production, for some reason, always had this song messed up. The label did the best they could with an original crappy production, so it was the best they could make this song sound.
It’s the Force Recon album that I enjoyed a lot more years ago and the remastering really makes these songs shine even more so. The album saw the band moving more towards thrash metal; still retaining some earlier crossover/punk influences, but making the songs a little more complex and longer, as well. The album really nailed the Virus sound and is punishing in its own unique sound. The musicianship had increased on this album, however the drumming was still by the numbers and not too solid in certain areas.
The bonus material contains some live songs and the booklet is astonishing, as always, from Marquee Records. Nice layout that includes both album covers, restored beautifully. Lyrics, liners and pictures are also included in the booklet. Excellent reissue from Marquee Records!