electronic quick review

Quick Review: “Virus.DOS” by MASTER BOOT RECORD

The best description I’ve read so far for MASTER BOOT RECORD is the one I came across on Bandcamp Daily earlier this year on the occasion of another release from the same artist:

“If Yngwie Malmsteen had grown up with computers instead of guitars, MASTER BOOT RECORD’s synthesis of chiptune and baroque metal might not be such a wonder.”

As a matter of fact the music produced by this mysterious Italian electronic artist is so baroque, mannerist but at the same time damnably enjoyable as the one played by the talented Swedish guitarist. And just how it happens when I listen to Malmsteen’s neoclassical metal music, I can get excited by one or two songs, but after the maximum timeframe of ten minutes I need to take a break and recover from the thousands of notes, the endless scales and the baroque melodies that were projected into my hears.



Virus.DOS, the new album released by MASTER BOOT RECORD, shows however some sign of evolution from the previous releases (I would say “improvements”) and if we compare this record to the others published in the last couple of years, we may appreciate an enhanced compactness and consistency of the music which results, in the end, in an enhanced overall enjoyability of the album, which I eventually managed to listen in a single run, from the beginning to end, that’s something I never succeeded in the past.

For those who’re not familiar with MASTER BOOT RECORD, this is in a few words a musical project conceived as the artificial generation of synthwave baroque music through a simple 486 PC processor chiptune (the one that I used when I was a teenager, which gives me clear hints about the age of the author). MASTER BOOT RECORD describes himself as “a 486DX-33MHz-64MB processing avant-garde chiptune, synthesized heavy metal & classical symphonic music. 100% Synthesized, 100% Dehumanized.” Another way which is often used to characterize MASTER BOOT RECORD’s style of music is “metal made with synths“, and this description is even more adherent to the feeling you get when listening to his tracks. It ‘s heavy, obsessive, rhythmic and overwhelming as only the best metal albums can be, with the crucial difference that everything you hear are synthesized electronic sounds and simple but effective electric drums.



The music in Virus.DOS is in many sections extremely melodic and it’s deeply inspired by those baroque harmonies that are so appreciated by many other synthwave musicians. Most of the songs, however, convey a sense of profound desperation, like being dragged down, inexorably, by a flooding river of notes. As already said, such improved stylistic coherence makes the album – maybe for the first time – valid even as a complete work, beyond the qualities of the individual pieces.

I don’t belong to that family of fans (or cult) who get excited at each new release by MASTER BOOT RECORD, which are indeed really numerous: someone has counted 19 albums in just two years. However, I must admit that this specific album, among all of those I listened from the author, managed to capture my attention thanks to the enjoyability of the songs and the efficacy of the musical impact, which is at times out of the ordinary.

I still prefer different and more sophisticated approaches to electronic music, but it’s evident to everyone that MASTER BOOT RECORD has created, in just a few years, a signature style which is at the same time unique and easily recognizable, something that only few artists have managed to achieve even after many more years of musical career.

Virus.DOS is available on Bandcamp and can be streamed also from Spotify.

My highlights: Mars and Walker.




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