Currently comprised of Josh Hageman (vocals, guitar), Morgan Travis (guitar), Chris Costalupes (bass) and Gavin Tiemayer (drums), Seattle, WA-based (by way of Reno, NV) band Violent Human System or VHS have developed a reputation for a grainy, abrasive 80s leaning punk rock sound that’s been compared to the likes of early Killing Joke, Big Black, Christian Death and others — and for eschewing proper studio recordings for home-recorded cassette tapes.
Gift of Life, VHS’ long-awaited, full-length debut slated for a June 17 release derives its name from Hageman’s personal experience working on the periphery of the medical field. As Hageman explains in press notes the album title “came from some generic blood donation poster I saw in one of the hospitals. It said ‘give the gift of life’ with a photo of a happy family at a park on a sunny day with some pamphlets under it. It was a visual image that stood in stark contrast to the somber surrounding environment. Other songs on the album focus on addiction, the misery and tragedy within the sanitized walls of a modern Western hospital and more — or in other words, the material pulls back the curtain to reveal the rot and grime underneath everything. The album’s latest single “Public Act” is a tense and abrasive punk/post-punk song that conveys a creeping and uneasy paranoia thanks in part to slashing, angular guitar chords played through reverb and effects pedals, shouted lyrics, anthemic hooks and propulsive drumming.