I’m typing this as the sun rises in the American midwest, throwing soft light through my window. Meanwhile, newcomers Viral Sun bombard my ears with a barrage of hot riffs on their self-titled debut. Featuring members of Capsule and Torche, the project found a home with punk rock institution Rad Girlfriend Records. Their album premiered last week, but today we take a closer look with insights from the band about each song.
The label’s promo text says: “Through subtle homages to a wide range of music genres, Viral Sun seeks out to belay the structural order found in modern rock, and in turn reveal a new portrait of the beautiful beast she has become.” From the chaotic bursts of light and noise in opener “66Psalm,” genres bleed together on Viral Sun’s debut. Melodic but unpredictably dissonant, the songs hug hairpin turns between jagged riffs. Noisy heaviness verging on mathcore, chaotic punk, with a surge of melodic sludge akin to Torche. Pair that with poignant lyrics about the human experience, and you have an energetic debut primed to turn heads.
Press play on Viral Sun’s debut record, and read the band’s thoughts in the track by track commentary below.
Death is exorable and sometimes when exploring thoughts about existence, the unknown can really feel exhilarating. Also, no matter what bullshit religious fanatics spew at you, our “sins” are ultimately what end up making us feel alive. We really wanted this song to encompass those feelings, and In the studio create the same energy as being stoked to savor your last cigarette in a pack. Being the newest written song at the time of recording, we decided it should be first on the record and set the tone for our debut as a band. A psalm for the sinners.
While in the demo stages I decided to slow this song way down to steer away from it sounding like another Capsule song I had attempted before. To my surprise, it gave me a big moment of clarity and revealed what kind of style I wanted to accomplish with the project. Ryan and I worked out some parts and after tracking all of the guitars his solo really brought everything providentially together. Because ultimately, it’s a song about friendships, and we go way back. Good friends are hard to come by, and knowing who and who not to trust is by far one of the most important life lessons anyone can learn. Thanks Commander Chakotay.
We wanted this song to be as heavy and tight sounding as possible yet also come off unhinged. It was the spark that lit the flame for this project and a favorite amongst the band. I wanted the solo to channel a bit of my inner Billy Corgan and the vocals to seem personal. At the end of the day we’re all being appraised one way or another but If you’ve ever been to jail for some dumb petty shit and stood in front of a judge, then this song is dedicated to you fam.
“Jewels for Helmi”
Whether it happens to you or you do it to yourself, everyone gets played for a fool at some point in their life. People can be such pieces of shit and growing up in the punk scene has helped me deal. I’d been jamming a bunch of The Spits and just ran with an idea to downpick this Torche-esque riff once we got to the studio. After going back and forth with guitar parts, Ryan eventually came up with some cool lead parts for the chorus that really brightened the soul of the track. I definitely wanted to keep a punk aesthetic through most the song and then have the end be heavy and climactic.
Derrick and I had jammed on this riff I had in a 4 story rehearsal space/someone’s house deep in the outer city streets of Ho Chi Min while on holiday pre-pandemic. I hadn’t written it all out just yet but it was super fun to play over and over in between smoking joints outside as the locals just stared at us. Somehow they looked more confused than we already were, knowing we had found a place to jam and also had successfully obtained a pocket full of weed in the outskirts of this foreign city. Fast forward to the studio; we still hadn’t yet figured out the bridge part so I decided to hit the pen, get in there and feel it out. Then I suggested Ryan do a solo and it came out sounding great. Ryan Haft ladies and gentleman.
“Shit from Silver”
Even though I didn’t really have lyrics and kinda had decided to vault it, Ryan pushed for us to record this song while in the studio…and I’m glad he did. I stayed sober for lot of the recording but especially while doing vocals. That’s kind of what this song is about…fighting alcoholism.
Life. Death. Repeat. We’re just a fucking speck in a timeline that runs as far as we think we can fathom. Take a good look at your life and absorb it cause tomorrow you’ll be fucking dead.
Order Viral Sun’s self-titled debut from Rad Girlfriend Records HERE
Follow Viral Sun for news and updates HERE