Album: Deep Gashes and Long Lashes
Release Date: 31/10/2022
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Canadian horror metal outfit VHS have been an ever-growing force in the extreme metal scene the last few years. Not only have they presented us with several incredibly fun themed albums, but their sound and style has varied consistently across these albums.
The band’s latest offering Deep Gashes and Long Lashes may just be their finest work yet and not just musically. This release, just as the previous EP Lenzi (read our review HERE) did, this album focuses vintage horror influences. The album pays homage to classic Giallo films from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. If you aren’t familiar with this genre of horror, in Italian cinema, Giallo is a genre of mystery fiction and thrillers and often contains slasher, crime fiction, psychological thriller, psychological horror, sexploitation, and occasionally supernatural horror elements.
It isn’t just the album’s themes that are fresh and innovative, the band have completely changed their sound and style. For this release they’ve gone in a heavily synth driven direction. They’ve essentially taken an old school horror/thriller synth soundtrack and then woven it together with filthy deathgrind. The combination of these two vastly different elements makes this one of the most enjoyable and fun extreme metal listens of 2022.
The combination of pulsing, swooning synth, deeply guttural, filth crusted vocals and heavily downtuned crunchy guitar tones work surprisingly well together. When you throw the semi-whispered and haunting distorted vocals at numerous points it makes the album that much more captivating and immersive. I really have to hammer home for you though just how rich and deep the synth elements are on this album, it creates an amazing atmosphere and makes the album impossible to turn off.
Then of course you have the lyrical content of the album, an area where VHS have always excelled. The band manage to weave together a respectful celebration of horror classics, while also maintaining a great sense of humour in the process. It’s this balance between horror violence and gore and humour and fun that makes the band such an enjoyable listen (aside from the music itself of course. On this particular album each track pays homage to a particular classic Giallo film, and half the fun is figuring out which movie each is talking about. Some are definitely easier to figure out than others.
As far as favourite tracks go, the whole album is an enjoyable listen, but I definitely had two overall favourites. For me one of the two strongest and most memorable songs on the album is track 5. Solange due to both the fantastic synth elements (particularly the start of the track), the catchiness of the rhythms, verses and chorus and just how evil and haunting the vocals sound. The other contender for top song is track 7. Six Women for the Murderer due to how catchy the main riff is on track, the headbangability of the drum work, the aggression and bite behind the vocals and how much it reminds me of Necrophagia (one of my favourite death metal acts of all time).
Another factor that makes the band so unique is their dedication to their visual outputs and by that, I mean the ‘killer’ (pun very much intended) videos that they put together for their tracks. This is something that they’ve been doing for a while now and honestly, they’ve only gotten better over time. I mean I couldn’t help but include all of these in this article. I feel that you can’t fully appreciate the album without them.
Overall, I think that this is my favorite output by the band to date and I feel like there will be many out there who agree with me here. If you’re an extreme metal fan or a horror fan (especially if you’re both like myself) then this is an album you don’t want to miss. Even if you aren’t a fan of the band’s previous outputs, I think you should really give this a serious chance, it may help you to come around.
Listen to and order the album: