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STANDOUT TRACK: No. 2, “Odin’s Will,” a thunderous epic that artfully blends the powerful D.C.-area doom sound with an over-the-top, frenetic Southern sludgecore vibe. Vocalist Steve Kirchner II says VOG’s name refers to the “volcanic smog after an eruption that causes nausea among a great deal of other painful quirks of the human body. We believed this description would also suit the music we set out to create.” Listening to Ben Blanton’s searing guitar battle Kirchner’s death-rattle vocals, which describe the harshness of reality as dictated by the Allfather of Norse mythology, it’s hard to disagree.
MUSICAL MOTIVATION: “Lyrically, the song confronts the single most trying experience of my life,” Kirchner says. Asked to clarify, he balks, saying only that he had “a devastating realization about the directions I was headed with my life.” But, reluctantly, he e-mailed the lyrics, which include otherwise indecipherable lines like, “It makes my head hurt, but I just can’t stop/ It’s a persistence of vision at any end.” Kirchner says listeners shouldn’t hunt for specific meanings. “I encourage everybody that listens to VOG to drift with us through states of consciousness,” he says, “and hear the words for themselves without any more guidance but their own understanding of the world we co-inhabit.”
Whole Lava Love: The violent intensity of “Odin’s Will” is signaled in the intro, a lengthy recording of wrestler Sid Vicious, who intones, “You are facing a fuel-injected suicide machine.” Blanton says VOG’s songwriting process, which starts in their practice space in Lucketts, Va., is mellow, even if its results are not. “The room becomes smoke-filled, and then we jam. The volcano erupts.”