Friday, April 5, 2013

Under The Radar: Vog

Deep in the thick foliage of the Virginia woods, some crazy/genius bastard fertilized an Acid Bath egg with 'Dopethrone' - era Electric Wizard. The seed germinated, spawned and only lived for a short time as Vog. These guys truly are a hidden gem, ritualistically dancing within the realms of Stoner/Sludge-Jam-band-satanic-voodoo thrash ( what? is that already a genre? dammit.) I seriously cannot describe their music any better than that first sentence. They wear the Acid Bath influence heavily on their sleeve in both their writing as well as the vocal stylings of crooner Steven Kerchner, who at times sounds almost exactly like a less distorted Dax Riggs.
I stumbled onto these guys a few years ago deep within the trenches of Myspace before it became the Detroit of social networking sites. Even a google search brings up sparse results which in turn need to be even further refined and combed through to weed out the half dozen Japanese Ambient-Electronic acts that share the same name. I was finally able to track down some of their discography on the Shifty Records site. From there I ordered the 'Colors Of Infinity' EP which consists of one 23 minute track (which was sent to me in DIY packaging burnt onto a Spykids CD-Rom - fuckin' awesome.), it's good but kind of sounds more like a bunch of ideas jammed into one song and isn't as cohesive as I might have hoped, from what I can gather it was probably a demo the band sent to the label before they were even on it (but then again, what the hell do I know?).
The real bread and butter from Vog comes in their one and only self-titled full length. 7 tracks (and not a one of them under 6 minutes) of dirty-ass, slightly underproduced Stoner/Sludge/Thrash dynamics, high on the treble and heavy on the Sabbath swagger. Seriously, if Dax Riggs and the boys in Acid Bath took some bad shrooms in the NOLA swamps and then decided to record a jam session pre- "When The Kite String Pops" I can't help but imagine it would sound alot like this. Yeah I'm an Acid Bath fan, but what I am not is one of those people that tries to find another band in the same realm to latch onto when they're favorite one goes defunct. While Vog does offer a sliver to help fill the void that AB left when they went tits up, they also infuse enough of their other influences into the music to actually make the end result sound original. And honestly, the more you listen to it the more it begins to sound like it's own thing. So I guess this recommendation goes out to those people who have reverted to settling on exhausting the Buzzoven dicography as an unsuccessful means to get their caustic-stoner thrash fix since AB called it a day some dozen-or-so years ago (you're doing it wrong - sludge!). Does it offer a certain average-looking-girl-becomes- all the more - hot-because-she's-a-libarian kind of aesthetic because it's so off the map? Sure there's a little bit of charm there, but it's honestly cool shit, and when you think it's going to zig where it should zag it does neither, it zogs (clever). In fact, whilst doing a bit of research for this bunch of inane babble I discovered that Vog's self-titled has been remastered (possibly even re-recorded in spots) and made available on Itunes, I didn't see that coming. The remaster has an additional track smack dab in the middle called 'Sad Girl', which was originally released as a single and was, up till now, the only thing available from them on Itunes. Important note here: If you do decide to buy the album via that route I'd strongly recommend also buying the 'Sad Girl' single that's available also, as they include an acoustic version of the track that's not available on the remaster and is definitely worth having. Listening to the acoustic 'Sad Girl' into the original version can be an awesomely intense experience ala Pantera's Suicide Note parts 1 & 2.
So come and dance within the remains that once was Vog, and long for what once was and what could have been, for such a small, unlabeled and thankfully mostly untreaded genre. Check out the video below for a brief showcase of the Vog's sound:

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