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f the sound of industrialised thrash with a nihilistic view of mankind’s future in the grip of a pandemic sounds interesting to you, then don’t hesitate to check outVirion. It’s every bit as essential as it sounds.
When not designing logos for top metal magazine websites (TeethOfTheDivine) by day, Kansas boy Brandon Duncan records music by night under the TSOP moniker, specializing in a doom-tinged brand of electronic-enhanced thrash that never removes its black boot from the listener’s throat. Virion is an epic, lyrically frightening concept album about how a single, tiny, infectious microbe (for example, a virion like HIV) can upend massive organisms and whole universes. In other words, this dark meditation on mortality offers deadly riffs and programmed beats that make Ministry’s Al Jourgensen sound like a wuss. Bask in the eco-apocalyptic horror of “Backlit” at your own risk. And whatever you do, don’t spin instrumental track “Icosahedron” after sunset. The crushing drum solo will ice your blood. Download at thesequenceofprime.com. ★★★★★
What can't Brandon Duncan do??? He's an ace graphic designer, musician and producer/engineer. This project is proof. Agoraphobic Nosebleed's half-human/half-robot vibe + shredding thrash/death riffs + smart lyrics + batshit-crazy vocals = The Sequence of Prime. It's freaky, it's fresh and it's free at the band's Bandcamp.
Whereas the riffs cement the many seams of the Virion monster and skillfully programmed drumming greases the joints, it’s Duncan’s swallowed-mike vocals that give the beast power to assail and raze and imbue it with unbound ferocity.
It’s amazing when you take a blind chance on an album, only to have it lovingly rip your head off. This is exactly what happened to me with Virion, the second self-released album by Plainville, Kansas artist Brandon Duncan, who records under the nom de guerre of The Sequence of Prime. I stumbled across his website on the recommendation of another metal writer, and upon several listens, I can tell you Virion is without a doubt one of the most original, incredible, and downright vitriolic records I have heard in a very long time.
This is my wet dream.
Akin to a mad scientist, Duncan strings together bits of doom, grind, industrial and thrash to create an absolute monster of an album. While Virion teeters more frequently between thrash and grind fundamentals, it never settles solely for one above the other. Though it can be difficult to place precise musical comparisons, subtle hints of bands like Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Slayer and Ministry creep into focus from time to time, but not too often. These songs are rife with raucous riffing (see “Cenozoic Anoxia“), pounding programmed drums (“Icosahedron”) and unhinged discordant vocals that are sometimes strongly reminiscent of Aphex Twin’s “Come To Daddy”.
Like any Frankenstein, some may view Virion as nothing more than a pile of parts sewn together without a thought of the consequences (an abomination, if you will), while others will see it for what it is; a beautiful and brilliant work of art that requires a bit of time and patience to fully understand and appreciate.
-Teeth of the Divine
The music is a mix of metal subgenres, with elements of thrash, black metal, and industrial coming together to create a chaotic sound that really fits the subject matter perfectly. Duncan’s vocals tend to vary between creepy spoken word and panicked screaming, the guitar tone is heavily distorted and gritty, and the production is a bit raw without sounding like utter shit. The industrial elements are sprinkled here and there, adding a bit of flavor without overpowering the rest of the instruments.
-The Number of the Blog
What always captures my attention are the lyrics to any conceptual piece, so when a band takes pride in rising above the vacancy of a simplistic or boring storyline I’m always more impressed. When a band also undertakes the daunting task of claiming to want to awaken our senses and scare us out of self-submission I want some clear back-up for that. Duncan’s proclivity to stir the fear in your head is achieved tenfold on Virion. The CD is a lesson in the catastrophes awaiting mankind within the veil of its own manic hubris.
This is a progressive album very hard to classify into a genre. Those liking experiments and a rather chaotic playing which from time to time offers you some cleaner part and then it just pummels you, might like this recording. The overall vibe is somewhere between being "nervous" and "insane". Initial impressions may be a bit confused but the patience can pay off. It is quite impossible to listen to "Virion" without succumbing to it fully. Then you might fall in love with it...
Plainville, KS. I had to look it up on a map, but this town is home to The Sequence of Prime mastermind Brandon Duncan. Virion was written, produced, programmed, and sung completely by Duncan. it is a masterful and dark piece that reminds me of Ministry and is tortured just enough to be intriguing but not trite. The thing thrashes and while it could be considered lo-fi at times, it adds a layer of organic dirt that shiny production just lacks these days.
He stands alone and does everything by himself : from programming to playing and singing. And I might add he is a fresh wind going through the thrash and industrial scene. Not just a mere summation of riffs but great songs. Think SYL, think Slayer meets Ministry and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. ‘Virion’ is the second effort of Brandon and actually is a concept album where a virus is destroying not just worlds but galaxies! Rarely it happens that an album can take you in. It’s raw, it’s loosely arranged, and it’s primitive but very honest and innovative with a vocal achievement many will be jealous of.
-Lords of Metal