by Aaron Gidney
VHF is a side-project of touring giant, Drummer Todd “Vinny” Vinciguerra, Guitarist Joel Höekstra (Whitesnake/ex-Night Ranger/TSO) and legendary Fretless Bass legend Tony Franklin. Very High Frequency was originally released in 2014 and is now available digitally as a re-release via Golden Robot Records in 2021.
This is hard-hitting, grooving, instrumental Hard Rock/Metal. At first glance, there perhaps isn’t anything obviously off-the-wall here or much setting it apart from other instrumental supergroup journeys, however, there does appear to a deliberate method to the madness here…
Apparently, the band utilises the unusual song-building technique of writing the music based on the drum groove first, before passing to the Bass to develop the groove and install chord progressions, and then finally to the Guitars to build on the chords and add the melodies. An interesting concept and not one I suspect many bands use.
Each of the musician’s involved in this are monsters in their own right, however, it’s the chops of Joel Höekstra that really comes to the fore, given the lack of vocals. Joel utilises all kinds of weird and wonderful guitar techniques to keep this interesting enough – tapping, slide guitar, harmonies and use of interesting scales and modes. Perhaps the most interesting experimentation on the record is the 2 minute ‘Conception To Death’ which appears to be for 8 guitars – a Ballerina 12/24 for the modern age perhaps?
‘Backside of Your Eyes’ is the only track to feature vocals, although it quickly descends into an extended outro jam with a fabulous groove.
Some interesting ideas on here, but perhaps not enough to warrant more than a side-project gig for the musos at the NAMM show.
1. Shattered Insomnia
2. Whispers of the Soul
3. Suspended Animation
4. Conception to Death
5. Invisible Thread
6. Backside Of Your Eyes
7. All Is Within
Joel Höekstra – Guitars
Tony Franklin – Bass
Todd “Vinny” Vinciguerra – Drums
Thanks for this! I don’t have much prog rock in my collection, but you painted an interesting account, so I checked the album out. Amazing stuff! Good dramatic rocking without sounding what I sometimes feel is a bit pretentious about prog rock.
With my limited knowledge, I’d say it reminds me of Monkey 3, a couple of albums of whose I do have.