Get Back to 8-Bit Metal With Virus.DOS by Master Boot Record

Virus.DOS, the latest album from Master Boot Record came out earlier this month, and it’s a perfect October album. The way that Master Boot Record combines lo-tech chiptune with classic metal — both in terms of riffs, shredding and the prerequisite blast-beasts — is truly amazing. The album is put out by the Finnish label Blood Music, home to synthwave legends Perturbator, and if you like Perturbator’s retro look at horror soundtracks, you’ll likely be all over this album.

Virus.DOS cover
The cover art for Virus.DOS.

According to Master Boot Record’s Bandcamp page, MBR is “a 486DX-33MHz-64MB processing avant-garde chiptune, synthesized heavy metal & classical symphonic music. 100% Synthesized, 100% Dehumanized.” And though that might be hard to picture at first, that’s exactly what you get. The music on Virus.DOS would be straight-ahead metal if it weren’t, well, chiptune. Or, in other words, picture your first computer. Now, picture it slathered in corpse-paint and heavy eyeliner around its floppy drives, stage blood oozing from its ports. It’s an odd album that appeals to both metalheads and synth nerds, but this is it.

Each of the album’s tracks seamlessly flow into each other, making Virus.DOS as much of a mood as it is an album. There’s a sinister sound to it, like it should be the score for a lost 1989 horror film about early desktop computers taking over. Though the album should really be listened to as a whole, the standouts are “Skynet,” “Virdem” and “Mars.” These songs are, like my favorite metal, melodic yet punishing. And “Mars” is almost… hopeful sounding in its buoyant melody, albeit the song has an in-built loneliness that illustrates what it would be like to be stranded on the titular planet thanks to a rogue Packard Bell.

Virus.DOS is only 25 minutes long, but it is a brilliant, cohesive work. And, luckily, if you want more, there are a number of Master Boot Record albums out for your perusal. And if you need more than that, the person behind MBR has another project, Keygen Church. If you like MBR, you’ll like Keygen Church, too.

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