Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Album Review: VHS Quest For The Mighty Riff

9.5 Reviewer

This is a great metal record. It's also the most fun metal record of 2023. There's a few key reasons for this. First and foremost, the riffs really are fantastic. Second, there's a freewheeling levity to the compositions. It's as if the band gathered and had an epic brainstorming session saying: "Ok that sounds good, that'll be a song. And that. And that. And that too." Third, while it's a fun and tongue-in-cheek, there is zero stuck-up ironic snark in the delivery. Just as they're genuinely devoted to quality flicks, VHS has genuine reverence for their sonic subject matter. The subject matter here being sword-and-sorcery films from the 1970s and 80s.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

"Cleave 'Em and Leave 'Em" actually starts off in a more punk-rock direction, almost a pop-punk one, if it weren't for the gutteral vocals. From there, Quest For The Mighty Riff is like a non-stop marathon of thrash and death metal excellence. "Dagoth Must Die" absolutely slays, "Illias and His Magic Bow" sounds like an army's rallying call, and "Hail King Arthur" combines everything great about VHS into one track. I love that they chose samples from the fantastic 1981 classic Excalibur. In fact, I think I need to rewatch the film now and put this album on as background.

And this gets to why VHS is such a great band. As they showed with last year's Giallo-industrial combo Deep Gashes and Long Lashes, VHS both understands the kitschy over-the-top nature of the art they love, but they don't use this to patronize the audience or subject us to distanced, art-school-dropout-style posturing. ("Ha ha, metal is hilarious, isn't it, my dude???")

The other reason the album succeeds is the picture-perfect production that propels the crunchy guitar tones, rousing drums and bass lines, and the ever-present gurglings of Mike the Merauder. The talent on display here in terms of musicianship and songwriting is deadly serious.

It's an intensely enjoyable and heavy listen. Seriously, if you can't rage to "Adventurers, Heroes, Brothers" you're probably just really lame. Or you don't have a pulse. There are funny moments, sure, but you're laughing with the metal and movies, not AT them.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

OK, I lied, there is one possible exception. If you happen to get the complete edition, you'll receive the band's baffling cover of Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do it For You)." To be fair, it's no more absurd than the song's use in the 1991 film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It's totally bonkers, but I salute the band's panache in going for it.

So, anyone up for movie night?

Show Comments / Reactions

You May Also Like

Back in the Day

"Right from the beginning, it was girls, money, and drugs. From the first moment we put our guitars on."–rhythm guitarist and co-founder of Anthrax,...

Music Videos

The death metallars in VHS are gearing up for the release of their new album, Gore From Beyond the Stars, and we're stoked to...