Enigmatic Italian black metallers VIII have descended from their black, otherwordly throne to deliver ‘Decathexis’, a piece of blackened avantgarde art of supreme darkness and oddness. A concept album based upon a protagonist who regresses from reality by losing interest in everything, it makes for an eerie otherworldly record of twisting extremity. Think of Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega, but with added weird.
Dissonant torrents of black metal rage from the start of ‘I: Symptom’, with an uncomfortable atonal melody lurking within the hatred. Jagged saxophone appears later which, mixed with ambient and almost industrial moments adds to the soundscape that VIII weave. Still harsh black metal at heart, their unorthodox take on the genre is refreshingly different. ‘II: Diagnosis’ takes us on a winding journing through jarring black metal and smooth, jazzy ambience. I’ve said it a few times, but there’s something that makes VIII seem out of this world, like from a universe just left of here where the jazzy Shining and Watain merged to become this ugly, broken version of black metal.
An album of this complexity takes a number of listens to get into, and to appreciate. The twisting progression of ‘III: Prognosis’ is a dissonant piece of extremity, and reveals itself in parts to a listener that dedicates time. A relatively straightforward riff opens up and it slowly evolves with glacial tones and industrial ambience before the return of the jarring black metal. Each song adds to the decaying tapestry that VII have woven from the stranger outreaches of the black metal universe, and for that they should be praised. Unorthodox, jarring and excellent, ‘Decathexis’ is an album you should strive to hear.