Virulence If This Isn't A Dream... 1985-1989

A lost link in the chain of crossover's evolution, this re-release of Southern California outfit Virulence's first and only full-length offering, circa 1989, proves the direct connection between punk rock and groove metal. Embracing the abrasive exploration of late Black Flag (when they were in their experimental, less-direct years), coupled with the chugging riffs of D.R.I.'s Dealing With It and the relaxed swagger of most Black Sabbath and Pentagram, If This Isn't A Dream... 1985-1989 is as vital to the progression of heavy music as it is simply enjoyable. While displayed here in its unrefined, juvenile form, the end results, which we now know as boogie rockers Fu Manchu (the band switched names right after this album's release), are clearly evident. In many ways, If This Isn't A Dream... is almost more engaging than anything the Fu have been up to since, as we hear the foundation of that band just beginning to gel. Bolstered by remastering, an informative booklet, demos and live tracks that further establish just where and when this overlooked gem comes from, If This Isn't A Dream... 1985-1989 is essential listening for all groove metal fans interested in its protoplasmic origins. (Southern Lord)