One of the most important and enduring genres within our beloved world of heavy fuckin’ metal!!
The origins of thrash are open to question… was it Motorhead? Venom? Who gives a fuck! Thrash spread across the globe like a global zombie pandemic and in 1986 you had quality thrash bands putting out records from all over the world.
British thrash was pretty underrated – never mind the ‘Big 4’ (Exodus, Testament & Overkill were easily as good as them), never mind the German thrash explosion that spawned the likes of Destruction, Kreator, Tankard & the mighty Sodom – we had Onslaught, we had Sabbat, we had Xentrix, Acid Reign and we also had Virus!
Virus were always the underdogs of UK thrash. There was an air of mayhem whenever they took to the stage. Their recorded output was up their with the best of UK thrash – albums like ‘Force Recon’ & ‘Lunacy’ deserved to sell by the bucketload. However, they were labelled the bad boys of thrash metal because most of their gigs ended up in fights, drunken brawls & roadie punch ups……… lots of punch ups! Virus toured with some of the best; Megadeth, Death Angel, Nuclear Assault, Lazz Rocket, Cro-Mags, Kreator,Celtic Frost, VoiVod, Sabbat, Acid Reign, Overkill, Lawnmower Deth, Deathwish, Napalm Death, Sacrilege BC, Carcass but ended up imploding for various reasons in the summer of 1990.
2008 saw the band reform. Guitarist / Vocalist & sole original member Coke Finlay (the most passionate & knowledgable guy on thrash that I’ve ever met) pulled together a line up of like minded thrashaholics and again, started gigging & raging around UK venues and released a new EP, the charmingly titled ‘Raped By Mutants’.
Beset by label muppetry & dog shit management, Virus again find themselves going in to 2013 the underdogs but Coke steadfastly refuses to give up!
Virus are no cash in nostalgia trip. I saw them three times in 2012. They played a blinding set at Hammerfest, supported DRI on their recent UK tour and they demolished the Fighting Cocks in Kingston shortly after I sat down with the ever outspoken Coke Finlay & fellow shredder Scott Lauzon for part one of this interview which comes to you in audio. Have a listen.
We had to cut the interview short as Coke & Scott had to take to the stage and slaughter Kingston. A cracking gig and the new tunes ‘Murder In The Mosh-pit’ & ‘Beyond The Boundaries Of Brutality’ gelled well with the older Virus material yet sounded fresh and exciting; an easy match for any of today’s young thrash bands. Coke & I concluded our chat a couple of days later via email.
What were your favourite thrash bands back in the day?
First & foremost I would say Vio-lence, Kreator, Testament, Nuclear Assault & Sacred Reich & of course the mighty D.R.I too many to mention but these seven stick out to me.
What do you think of the so called ‘thrash revival’? Any new bands you really like?
I think the thrash revival has been heavily diluted with bands who shouldn’t even call themselves a thrash band..but a few have stuck out to me, Havok & Municipal Waste in particular. Pitiful Reign & a little unknown Spanish band called Crisix that you really need to check out…..too many so-called thrash bands of the new age of thrash are just Slayer clones & tend to regurgitate a lot of what has already been done. I like to see young new bands with fresh ideas, I think one is definitely Vortex from the U.S.
What gigs / fests are lined up for 2013?
Well we got Lesfest in June supporting Evile & a Romanian festival. A couple of tours I can’t say too much about at the moment & a headline tour to promote the new album, ‘Multiple Wargasms’.
Any plans to reissue the old material, it’s fucking nigh on impossible to come by?
Well as you say this…we are in the process of finalizing a deal with a Brazilian company to re-issue all 3 albums, the compilations & the last e.p. It will be a distro deal for 3 years & will have a U.S. South American & European outlet.
I would just like to finish by saying we will have a brand new website that will be going up soon; it will be the official Virus website & also I’d like to thank all my thrash fans & friends for encouraging me to continue doing what I love doing best & finally I’d like to thank Mr Mark Eve for giving me this opportunity to get my message to all my thrashaholics worldwide.
- Coke Finlay – guitar / vocals
- Scott Lauzon – guitar
- Darren Rust – drums
- Paul James – bass