Thursday, July 14, 2016

VHS "Screaming Mad Gore" 2016 Splatter Zombie Records

This is such a good year for death metal. Surgikill, Embalmer, Torture Rack, Smut, and so many others have given us excellent albums, and they just keep coming. The analog-horror-obsessed VHS is one of my favorite bands going right now, and I purposely held off on this review after I found out about a tape version being released through Sulfuric Diarrhea Records (hand numbered, limited to 50, so act quickly and get ahold of the band because they're basically gone). The tape lives up to my lo-fi expectations, giving the album a dirty sound that adds another layer of filth to the tunes, at least in my garbage stereo. As far as the music itself, VHS has further refined their thrash/death/grind amalgam, and here and there throughout the record the listener will find doom and traditional heavy metal welded to this steel beast as well. The songs are short, catchy, well-written, and vicious. Everything is tight, well-performed, and audible, but not over produced and robotic like so many death metal albums today. It has an old-school sounding production job, and I prefer this. My personal favorites are "Room 36," "When Sleeping Bag Meets Tree," "There Shall Be Nights of Terror," "Island of Death," and "Carnivorous Lunar Activities." As if a full-length from VHS wasn't enough to get your gore glands pulsating, there are some guest appearances here that will titillate and thrill as well, including the likes of Kam Lee and Stevo lending vocal flourishes to the tracks "Hairspray and Bloodspray" and "Island of Death," respectively. How's that for pedigree? I'm warning you, death metal scene, pay attention to VHS. They're one of the best out there right now doing horror-influenced metal, and for the old-school freaks like me, they're a welcome noise in a polluted scene.