Virus were one of the pioneers of British thrash metal, formed in 1986 by H Heston and Tez Kaylor, members of the punk/oi! band Criminal Damage. They brought in John D Hess in their forming year and called on the services of Coke Finlay in 1987.
Their first recording (PRAY FOR WAR) was completely funded by the band itself, it wasn’t till their second album (FORCE RECON) in 1987 that people really started to take notice of the true potential of the band. The press dogged them, probably because of their strong punk roots, but were favoured more by the skateboarding culture of the late ’80s
Labelled the bad boys of thrash metal because most of their gigs ending up in fights, drunken brawls, and roadie punch ups.
Virus hit the stage for the very first time supporting Suicidal Tendencies and punk outfit Chelsea at the Clarendon in London. They gigged and toured with some of the most influential outfits of the late eighties; Megadeth, DeathAngel, Nuclear Assault, Lazz Rocket, Cro-Mags, Kreator, Celtic Frost, Voivod, Sabbat, Acid Reign, Overkill, Lawnmower Deth, Deathwish, Nalpalm Death, Sacrilege BC, Carcass etc.
Virus split up in 1990 and Heston and Kaylor made a failed attempt to reform the band in the USA that same year.
Moving on to 2008 and after much deliberation Coke Finlay decided to reform the band to do a one off show. Unfortunately the other members of Virus declined his offer, so he was forced to find “new blood” that came in the form of Dave Sherwood (Amulet), Matt Cooper (Cellbound), and Sam Brandon (Matron). This ensemble was later changed with Matt Cooper going on rhythm guitar and bringing in Steve Taylor on bass. After a short time Steve Taylor was replaced by Max Edwards. The band played several shows that year namely with Lawnmower Death, Gama Bomb, Savage Messiah, and Discharge, and in 2009 released their first recording in over 25 years entitled “Raped by Mutants”. This was very well received by the press namely “Terrorizer” and was the shape of things to come!
In 2012 the band started touring outside UK after more than two decades (Malaga, Spain Oslo, Norway Sofia, Bulgaria) and a third slot on the second stage at Hammerfest 2012, The Bulldog Bash 2012, and 2 shows supporting D.R.I.
In 2013 the band was chosen to open for Suicidal Tendencies’ only UK date that year at the Electric Ballroom in London, also sharing the stage with Evile.
In 2013 we saw the band stabilise their line up with Lukasz Kozlowski on drums, Adrian Serrano “Litro” (Itself, Cypher16, Chaosanct) on bass, and Tommy Jacobsen on guitar (Konsortium).
The current lineup shows the band to be an integral part of the thrash genre today.
2019 and current line up: Coke Finlay- vocals/lead guitar: Stewart Grassie- Bass/backing vocals: Rob Edwards- rhythm guitar: Mike Devlin- Drums
“A force to be reckoned with” – Metal Hammer, Sept 2012
With the release of their EP (A new strain of an old disease) in 2014, the band were ready to contaminate the planet with a new strain of thermo-nuclear thrash metal!
Moving onto 2018 & the band headed a full European tour to celebrate their second album’s 30th anniversary, “Force Recon” with support from Hateful Agony (Germany) and Sahon (South Korea)
2019 will see the band complete their 4th & long awaited album “Evolution Apocalypse” which promises to be their best work in decades…already fans are eagerly awaiting the birth of this monster!