VHS - We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs

I am always very nostalgic when it comes to the 80's. Probably because this was the decade when I was a little kid and everything was fresh and new. The memories I have from the 80's are really big. One of them is the videocassette tapes (aka VHS). VHS was the only way to watch a movie in your video player at home exactly when you wanted to. (The Greek TV had only 2 local channels at the time). I remember people borrowing VHS horror films from the local video clubs. I got my first VHS cassettes a little later and that was really big. No DVD/Blue Ray and of course no internet existed.

All these memories came back to me after reading the band's name VHS. My guessing was right and the band loves horror films! The Canadian horror movie freaks strike back here with their 3rd full length album entitled "We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs" which is a straight reference to Steven Spielberg's movie "Jaws" (1975) and to be more precise to the infamous scene on the boat when as the shark approaches Roy Scheider (1932-2008) sighs to Robert Shaw (1927-1978) the phrase "You're gonna need a bigger boat".

VHS is a power trio (drums, bass and one guitar) and they play a filthy mixture of old school death metal frenzy, punk in the ways it affected the sound of bands like Impetigo, Autopsy, Macabre, Exhumed or Haemorrhage, thrash metal and grindcore, having heaps of fun and most of all exploring the horror movies themes like giant octopuses, killer whales, hungry sharks and bloodthirsty creatures of the night and sea or extraterrestrial lifeforms that have just landed to Earth.

Their songwriting although diverse it is focused on their basic idea and is catchy and memorable. Their basic idea is producing a music based on a tasty mix of punk and heavy riffs. The result is very interesting and direct. So, they do it successfully! The vocals are dominant in almost every part of the songs. Most of the songs are short, some of them being even under one minute long, yet nothing seems to be missing because they complete their ideas every time.

In 'Rooting For The Villain' (feat. Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder on additional vocals) VHS show their heavier part with some excellent doom riffs that mingle in their horror atmosphere nicely enough to make it a standout track for me.

I loved the Abscess/Autopsy tone of the lead guitar opening theme for 'An Old Lady And Her Crocodile'. The punk riffs are dominant in the song offering pure energy and freshness, then when the same riffs are played slower they change the song's feeling making it heavier. The rolling guitars are excellent for rushing you to the VHS mosh pit and the palm muting balances the song right. Mike Hochins vocals perfectly fit in for the genre. He basically uses mid to low grunts with some high pitched squeals sounding just perfect to me.

'Oozing, Bubbling, Black Mass' is so Abscess influenced, you can understand it just from its title which actually speaks for itself. The basic riff is Discharge oriented and James Laukka's basslines sound very cool throughout the song. Mike Hochins lead guitars have that late 80's-early 90's Paradise Lost (or should I say British?) tone and the song ends with a brutal outburst. Surely another standout track for me.

'Death And Carnage Coming in Waves' (feat. Matt harvey of Exhumed fame on additional vocals) has more of a hard rock/heavy metal attitude. The riff and solo took me to early Iron Maiden days and the result is fantastic. The Iron Maiden influences are also present on 'Savage Streets' opening riff which could be a "Killers" lost riff. Maybe it's the punk attitude Iron Maiden of Paul Di Anno era had, which is continuously present in VHS, that make the connection in my mind at their more hard rock/heavy metal themes.

'Face Full Of Worms' brutal overtone and punk to grind attitude are more than enough to make another excellent live song. It would surely get me into the pit. 'Bringer Of Death' is the most death metal song of the album. The double vocals kill, bringing to mind a filthier and horror film influenced version of Glen Benton (Deicide). 'Marine Monstrosity' is the last song of the album. It has the sickest rocking lead I've heard in a while. Check it out! Andy Middaugh's drums through the whole album are absolutely steady and come with a nice tone on the snare.

VHS want to bring their audience closer to the aesthetics of the 80's, of horror films and of the fun side of metal. However, I can assure you that they are very serious with their music. They are excellent players and I'm sure they have listened to tons of music as well as watched tons of horror VHS films. The small length (around 30 mins) of the album is considered for me as another asset. Rotten Roll Rex released this delicious item on CD. Although I don't actually like the cover artwork because I prefer other themes, I will have to compromise with their sense of humor.

Their music is great anyway and that's what matters the most. So, I don't think VHS gonna really need any bigger riffs. They already write excellent riffs and they use them in advantage of their music. They are the proof that riffs don't actually have to be "big" as long as the band is honest, has nice ideas and works on them. On the contrary, I think we're gonna need to see this excellent band live soon and witness for ourselves their horror punk metal! Proceed!


1. Full Scream Ahead (Intro)
2. Zombie vs. Shark
3. Let's Get Gruesome
4. Voracious And Violent
5. Rooting For The Villian
6. An Old Lady And Her Crocodile
7. Oozing, Bubbling Black Mass
8. Death And Carnage Coming In Waves
9. Savage Streets
10. Face Full Of Worms
11. Bringer Of Death
12. From The Murky Depths
13. Cruise Ship Carnage
14. Marine Monstrosity