Ahoy, an accurate title! Our local horror degenerates are back for more auditory bloodshed, and this time, they’re taking their splattery metal stylings out on the high seas. Three albums in (as well as umpteen split releases) and this trio continues to refine their approach and execution to grind out some of the sloppiest, silliest, and most sickening 80s horror movie-themed metal around. Axeman Mike Hochins is using everything in his extreme metal toolbox to the greatest effect, as these 13 tracks range from punked-off gore metal to ocean-deep doom and everything in between. Riffs isn’t just Hochins’ show either, as new bass player Curt Mills and the ever-reliable Andy Middaugh on skins battle it out thanks to a warm, heightened production. The band’s stature and skills continue to impress with Riffs, to the point that the guest spots from The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad and Exhumed’s Matt Harvey simply seem to fit, rather than stick out—that’s the level VHS is currently at. Deadly fun isn’t a contradiction in the case of VHS, and the songs are the reason.

-Justin Allec

5 / 5