Judging from the creepy album cover, Spider Virus' self-titled sophomore effort is not your ordinary alterna-rock album. Although the group has no problem incorporating Sonic Youth's ethereal guitar riffing into their sound, they also can lay down a viscous heavy metal groove whenever they feel like it (such as their amazing cover of Black Sabbath's forgotten classic "Zero the Hero"). Produced by Steve Albini, the album is obviously rough 'n' raw, but the feel-over-perfection approach fits the material perfectly. Alternating between haunting, strummed compositions ("California Tan") and heavy sludge ("Devils Dog"), this will please both metalheads and alternative fans alike. Also present is the humorous "barber gone mad" song "Werewolf Ears," the '60s retro sound of the album opener "Millionaire Magicians," and the pop rocker "The New America." An impressive album by one of the better crossover acts of the late '90s.
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