A Genuine Gift
Violent Human System’s fast, winding, garage, analogue sound is like no other. The punk band, better known as VHS for short, begin their story with two Reno, Nevada natives and buddies Josh Hageman and Chris Costalupes who reconnect in the city of Seattle, Washington. Naturally, after the hugs and kisses of an embracing hello, they lock themselves in a basement (because it wouldn’t be punk music if they didn’t) and produced their first cassettes: Art Decay and Vultures.
Now VHS has blessed us with the Gift of Life – a full length album of what can only be described as… well… pure goodness. Its like that moment of blissfulness when that worthy combination of grit, grim and grain ( the three G’s) creates that surge of movement in the body, causing one to nod ones head in rhythm and approval. With serious undertones of darkness throughout the album, “Wheelchair” describes a man’s struggle and constant battle with chronic pain and the use of drugs to numb himself, hence landing him in a “ wheelchair ride through the hallway.” This paints a detailed image of what can happen when a person dabbles in the devil’s dance of such things like drugs – even if it is to manage pain.
This leads us ever so appropriately to “Hospital Room”. The title is self explanatory. Any serious addict is likely to have seen the walls in a hospital room and might relate all too easily to themes of this album. It is quite evident that name Gift of Life is no accident and chosen strategically. Is life truly a gift when in constant pain and spiraling cycle of drugs? Or is the gift of life given in what you make of it? Truly something to ponder.
A personal favorite is “Fully Realized”. It touches on how confusing, lost, and how deep addiction can become. With unforgettable riffs and screeches put together so well its just enough to make one feel uncomfortably wonderful. This album will most definitely hit home for the ones who know this reality well. There is no question that these tracks were came from a place of authenticity- for lack of words. It truly is a reminder of the gift of life.