Thursday, 16 June 2016

VIII - "Decathexis" (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/6/2016
Label: Third I Rex



The technical performance is often excellent, and I’d even go so far as to say that from a stylistic standpoint, VIII are on the cusp of something truly fantastic. The more they leave the Deathspell Omega worship behind and focus on the more bizarre, theatrical elements they work with, the better they’ll be for it. If they focus on what they excel at, and on those stylistic elements that very few others are working with, the sky’s the limit.

‘Decathexis’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. Symptom
2. Diagnosis
3. Prognosis

VIII is:

DrakoneM | Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synth
Mark | Drums

The Review:

VIII, and their album ‘Decathexis’ are a classic example of a band trying to find their voice. Their first and only demo, ‘Division Hate’, was punishing death metal, with programmed drums. It was well-performed but kind of rough around the edges. Then you have their debut album, ‘Drakon’ which was an abrupt shift away from the previous style into a deliberate, doom-informed take on black metal. The production was much stronger, and the songs were better written, but ‘Drakon’ was still in stark contrast with the material before it. ‘Decathexis’ represents a blending of the two, in a sense, but also taking up a very different character in terms of the songwriting style.

This time around, there’s a pretty clear cut influence from post Deathspell Omega at work. The style of eerie, dissonant chords are very similar, and even some of the rhythmic aspects sound familiar. That’s not to say this is by any means a direct rip off, but it’s sort of like trying to listen to Sacramentum without thinking of Dissection. In VIII’s case, they do put effort into adding in elements that DsO haven’t worked with, specifically including a lot of synth (including what I believe are saxophone solos), and distorted noise.

Some of the more adventurous sections work better than others. The noise/industrial sections in “Symptom” are mixed much louder than the actual black metal parts, which make it seem like the black metal is a comedown from the noise peak, when those roles should probably be reversed. Then there’s the prolonged synth break in “Diagnosis” which builds nicely, and works exceedingly well in a vacuum, but seems a bit out of place in context. It resembles something out of a Full Moon Entertainment movie soundtrack (Think ‘Puppet Master’ or ‘Subspecies’).

Though I’ve been critical to this point, it needs to be said that I think there’s a ton of potential here. The technical performance is often excellent, and I’d even go so far as to say that from a stylistic standpoint, VIII are on the cusp of something truly fantastic. The more they leave the Deathspell Omega worship behind and focus on the more bizarre, theatrical elements they work with, the better they’ll be for it. If they focus on what they excel at, and on those stylistic elements that very few others are working with, the sky’s the limit. Pair that with some adjustments and upgrades on the production front (less digital-sounding drums in particular), and VIII is going to be a band that takes the genre in some exciting directions for years to come.

You can pick up a digital or CD copy here.



Band info: Facebook

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