If you are one who lurks in the Black Metal underground you’ll most likely be familiar with ‘VIII’, who, after a self titled demo under the name ‘Division Hate’ in 2011, crunched their name down to its current form, a contraction of the word “eight” for its likeness to “hate”, and this ability for creative and experimental thinking reflects in the sound of their newest release.
This latest offering , titled ‘Decathexis’, is the follow up to 2014’s debut full length ‘Drakon’ from the Italian duo, both former members of defunct Black/Death outfit ‘Crowned in Thorns’ and is their most experimental offering to date, a sound that is initially reminiscent of ‘Khold’, adding Doom elements along with ritualistic sounds and really pushing through the boundaries on this release with the inclusion of a lot of Jazz elements and ambient/industrial soundscapes. The result is a dark and fascinating listen.
The band describe ‘Decathexis’ as; “The regression stage in which the patient detaches from reality by losing interest in everything”. The concept behind it being; “Terminally ill, eroded by an existence condemned from birth as the son of a gangrenous uterus. The protagonist in this concept album suddenly awakes in a decadent reality. Creeping maggots and ruins’ dust mark the passing of time like grains in an hourglass. Feeding in decomposition and walking slowly a path towards the Void, the protagonist craves for freedom and true liberation.” The aim also, to channel in a unique experience, the high thoughts of philosophers and authors such as; Nietzche, Cioran, Caraco and Bataille and explain; “As a metastasis, devouring every cell of a dying organism, we found in nihilism “the noose” to hang ourselves, releasing the true Self from rottenness.”
The fifty minute offering is divided into three substantial chunks, the journey through the “stages of decay” beginning with; ‘I-Symptom’, where the opening ambient soundscape is punctured by a searing scream like sound , allowing for an intense barrage of riffing and pummeling drum work to break through. The thing that immediately impressed me was the vocals which, although deep and gargling have an impressive power and clarity to their lyrical delivery, no need to consult lyric sheets here. There’s also a fluid rise and fall to the tempo, one minute manic and crushing, the next, slower, dark and haunting, the high point here being the arrival of the saxophone work. There’s also a curious interlude midway that you’d be forgiven for thinking was the start of a second track particularly as it takes on a hypnotic Khold- like, off kilter repeat to the guitars, coursing beneath the rapid vocal delivery , a complex, varied track that’s full of surprises throughout.
‘II-Diagnosis‘ begins on a plodding, slow and sinister opener, with haunting protracted voices , this makes up the backbone but is again punctuated with manic segments. There are some great jazz bass lines coursing beneath this track along with more of the superbly haunting sax work, again a curiously partitioned, my guess, at this point is this release is separated into categorized track clusters, whatever it is, it works, in no way affects listening pleasure, just makes reviewing a challenge. The second half begins with an eerie piano build before a return to hypnotic, blackened, off kilter riffing and deep rasping vocal delivery, along with spoken elements this time, for added dimension as well as some great closing lead work.
‘III-Prognosis’ opens on some crushing yet groovy guitar work that has a mesmerizingly addictive quality, in amongst the pattern of the composition style established across this release, which includes the intriguing segmenting of the tracks, on this track, there is the addition of some Spanish style guitar and haunting backing vocals adding a further aspect to the sound.
It’s hard for me to do ‘Decathexis’ justice in mere words, it is an impressively crafted and rather unique album that’s hugely listenable.
———–By: Jools Green———-
STREAM & PURCHASE Link:
Release Date: June 26, 2016
Label: Third-I-Rex (CD & Digital)
DrakoneM – Guitars, Bass, Synth, Vocals (additional)
Mark – Drums
WLKN – Vocals (Guest)