REVIEW: VOD - ᑑᕐᖓᐃᑦ (Tuurngait)

VOD - ᑑᕐᖓᐃᑦ

As a reviewer and long-time fan of Metal, I have been feeling the very real wear of over-saturation when it comes to my favorite genre. If you didn't know (which unless you've been living under a rock I don't know how you haven't) the easier, cheaper, and more available gear and software for artists has lead to a unholy stream of bands popping up almost daily. I'm all for the little guy getting their sound out there, its great and I'm sure its a huge accomplishment - its what my blog is all about. However, the sad truth is that nobody really has the gull to do anything too ground breaking or new with what they have. The sheer amount of same-same bands I have to hear daily is equivalent to a endless supply of tonic water - bland; plain; unappealing. Thankfully, some people have some imagination left and we get genuinely interesting things like VOD's Tuurngait.

Interestingly enough, this whole project is done on bass (the guitar bits at least). This is something I can get behind as I used to play Bass and the sheer amount of 'you can't do shit with bass' mindsets is enough to turn away almost anyone from the instrument. Dave Tremblay, the mastermind behind Tuurngait, somehow surpassed the naysayers - the result is some unholy oddity as odd in execution as it is in presentation.

Firstly, I have to mention that the choice to implement a hefty amount of mysticism into this package only strengthens how much I enjoyed it. The choice to use foreign characters instead of universally known English titles helps elevate the general sameness even the most clever song titles have anymore. Seeing these strange characters and the artwork -a enormous eagle overshadowing a woman in the darkness- all really helped me warm up to the album. The reason I mention this is because, guys, sometimes good Artwork and Presentation really does matter.

The meat of the album, the music (obviously), is something a tad different as well. Instead of the Djent approach, which would have been so easy with a 6 string bass, Tuurngait is more of a progressive experimental affair. Of course, there is a hefty Drone influence but compared to most Drone I listen to the overall sound isn't akin to Drone. What you can expect is a lot of layered, extremely heavy, riffs coupled with ambient pauses and sometimes complete drop offs from heavy to quiet. VOD doesn't like to keep itself typical either. Any approach that seems somewhat familiar or typical is usually uprooted instantly by the inclusion of odd timing or seemingly off-tune riffs. This entire album seems to be a deliberate attempt to do something far outside the norm or known. Vocals, as well, seem to consist of long airy distorted bellows and howls, which would be haunting if not for the fact that they sort of exist behind the music.

All is not well with this album, however. As much praise as I'd like to give it - there are some flaws. Really, when you unravel the album after several listens - you realize the whole thing isn't too far out as to not be digestible. Its not like I'm asking the album to be so different as to be too much to the average person, its just that for all it does to be mysterious or different - its not too different then some of the odder tracks you'd hear back in the day. At times, it even feels as though I'm experiencing some of the rarer and more serious moments of Primus. That isn't too bad for me but it shows that the experimentation isn't really as far out as initially believed. Also, the vocals and lyrics are barely there and completely unneeded. I'm aware instrumental albums have a really difficult time standing out but the vocals really don't do much for me on this one; they don't do very much for the album at all.

Tuurngait, though a sizable and much needed difference in the genre still has its flaws. But, I can't deny that this is no doubt one of the better things to hit my inbox in some time. The Bass-only approach only makes everything more deep and unique. I couldn't imagine this album being done any other way but I can't help but feel that maybe there are some aspects that could be improved - if only slightly.