vod is a one-man experiment aiming at using the sub-bass frequency range to make utterly terrifying and tremendously heavy music.
The first full-length album, deciduus, was written and recorded in under two days completely. In order to play that low, the guitar parts are played on bass. And even then the string is really flubby! The tone on which most of the album is played to is A-1. To make sure you all understand well what this implies, let’s do some explaining.
The standard A string on a guitar is tuned to 440 Hz, it’s called the concert pitch. That A in particular is called A4. Why? Because it’s the fourth A to happen on a grand piano, starting from the lowest note, which is C0. So, vod is tuned to A-1. Let’s do some maths! Each time you go down one octave, you cut by half the note’s frequency. If A4 is 440 Hz, then A3 will be 220 Hz, A2 110 Hz, and so on, until we reach the -1 octave, which is even lower than a usual piano can go, and is at 13,75 Hz.
The human hearing range is on average from 20 Hz to 20 000 Hz. That means that what is played there is below the common hearing range. How come you can understand it? Well, depending on what you’re listening this on to, you may have different experiences: on any regular headphones or ordinary speakers, you’ll hear the distortion and the harmonics of the note, but not the umpff. Now, try listening to this on a good sound system, preferably equipped with a subwoofer, or which has a good bass response. Although you might still not hear the note, if you crank the volume up a bit you’ll definitely feel it through you.
So that’s what the album is about: using unhearable frequencies to deliver the ultimate heaviness. And it’s even worse when you go to the Richard Wagner cover of the Prelude to The Rhine Gold (one of his famous operas), which is in Eb-1, at 9,725 Hz! That means the string doesn’t even vibrate 10 times each second, and you can actually hear that really well thanks to the distortion!
Now that you know the science behind the heavy, let’s see how the album fares.
The whole point of the album is to be heavy, and it does it well. If you’re reasonably well-equipped to listen this, you’ll have a good time. There’s a lot of bass frequencies on this album. In fact, the drum kicks and the guitars – basses, so at times it’s kind of hard to tell apart, but luckily there’s the “click” of the kick which can help.
The album is quite varied for such a restraining premise. First, there are those slow polyrhythms that resolve at various times, reminiscent of Meshuggah at times. Then there are the low, incredibly immense notes, most noticeable at the beginning of plasm and ichor. Hearing strings vibrating as such just gives me goosebumps! Maybe it’s the whole setting, too: The vocals consist of whispering ran through distortion, there is some eerie sounds in a few tracks, and the lyrical subjects are sometimes chilling!
Oh, and did I mention there is a Richard Wagner cover? I guess that the composer of the longest and most well-known classical drone piece in history deserved it. The piece is all played on bass, with the exception of the drums, obviously. While in a sense desecrating his work, this piece is also in honour of Wagner and all his musical achievements.
TL;DR: This album isn’t for the faint of hearts, but is a novel experiment and probably an end to the current “race to heaviness”, or “race to the lowest tuning” that is happening in the metal community. It’s heavy, but varied, and fear-inducing, yet at times awe-inspiring (I’m thinking about the Wagner cover).
It’s free, so just reach out and grab it!