Hands Across Black Metal: A Review of VIII’s Decathexis

Decathexis, the second-full length from Italy’s VIII (formerly Division VIII) is a black metal Cadbury Creme Egg. Though it possesses a dark, tough, and mysterious exterior, lurking within is a delicious, decadent, and wholly worthwhile cream filling. And like Cadbury Creme Eggs, Decathexis is the kind of rare album that can end wars, destroy borders, and usher in a glorious global civilization of multicultural splendor. Don’t believe me? Take a bite out of this morsel below and let that gooey goodness seep into your mouth and ears.

As the inevitable, indomitable march of globalization sallies ever forth, black metal as a system continues to grow in complexity and specialization. Although this increasing genrefication of the music we love may be off-putting to neophytes, it certainly serves its purpose in allowing us to have meaningful discussions of specific techniques and enables us to provide accurate recommendations to like-minded listeners. The downside of subgenre gerrymandering though is that many fans become locked into a specific district, unable or unwilling to truly enjoy the full spectrum of diversity within the heavy music family. Rare is the album that transcends genre boundaries, and rarer still is the album that blends distinct flavors from different subgenres into a cohesive and interesting tonic.

Decathexis is that kind of album, and though it was technically birthed within the dank, obsidian gates of black metal’s Mordor, VIII paint liberally with all the different hues of the metal spectrum. Does it work? Absolutely. Don’t believe me? Press play below and listen along to the 50-minute or so flight of fancy. Still unconvinced? Assemble your subgenre tribe for an Entmoot, then, and just see if there won’t be something that appeals to you and your individual snowflake sensibilities.

Trve, black-hearted kvltists, listen up. There is no need to to put on your Norwegian cosplay and break out that replica battle axe to defend lady black metal’s honor wherever it may be impugned online. Despite all of its progressive elements and genre-blending wankery, Decathexis is a vicious album, one with an organic production and more than enough blast beats and tremolo riffs (particularly in the first five minutes of “Symptom”) to dry all those raw tears running your mascara corpse paint. Plus, you can rest assured that never once do the vocals start showing any hint of melody or emotion. All of the shrieks are pure, unadulterated rage, even when the music loosens up a bit. Fret not, left-hand pathers; this album will not destroy your cred.

If your heart isn’t made of frozen pagan fire and/or you don’t call your parents your roommates, there’s plenty here for you too! Jaded old heshers who headbanged away the ability to form short-term memories and still pine for the days when we were united against the common foe of censorship and the man, man, grab a pen and paper and write this down so that you can remember it later: this album has riffs. Sure, those riffs are interspersed between a bunch of weird artsy-fartsy stuff that has no place on your leather jacket, but there are definitely riffs. Killer ones too. Fastforward to about 13:45 in “Diagnosis” to hear a ravenous riff that sounds like a shark circling in on an injured surfer. Let us headbang as one to the glorious riff.

Scenie weenies rocking your Invader Zim backbacks at BTBAM concerts, prepare to completely flip your swoopy haircuts over the lolsorandom zaniness of the diverse elements interwoven into Decathexis‘s ornate passages. After you hear that totally rad dub beat at 5:40 in “Diagnosis,” stick around to see how deftly VIII transition in and out of these unique little flourishes without ever losing momentum or dropping the sonic ball. Sure, there are a lot of weird things afoot at the Circle K Inn, but each record hiss, spoken word passage, piano tinkling, or sax riff is incorporated so well that you’ll never have to fear a jarring transformation will pry you out of your skinny jeans.

Speaking of those utterly sexy sax passages, prog nerds who misspent their youths trying to zoom in on Andariel’s pert, pixelated boobies in Diablo II will have much to raise a goblet of Mountain Dew to here. Like Andariel’s low-resolution, infernal sensuality, Decathexis offers a titillating blend of sexiness and danger that fulfills all of your deeply shameful fantasies without ever once asking you to step foot out of the security of your basement lair. Just listen to that horrifying start-and-stop riff that evokes Altar of Plagues immediately after touching you tenderly with a red hot sax riff around the 5:30 mark of “Diagnosis.” You’re welcome.

Let’s not forget the way VIII’s heady concept of self-alienation and their flagrant use of polyrhythms (check out the 7:00 mark in “Symptom”) panders to the avant-garde pseudo-intellectual weird music fans like me who are unable to achieve climax without having our delicate pineal glands stroked. Those big, triumphant Enslaved-esque riffs and weird tribal drum patterns in “Prognosis” are sure to destroy all your impotence and make you feel really smart for liking such intricate, challenging music. You can put that copy of Infinite Jest down because those weirdo jazz beats and Tomas Haake-like spoken word passages in “Diagnosis” have you covered.

Even the weight-crushing, Deadspin browsing meatheads with tough online usernames with “kill” in them will be enticed away from their usual fare of breakdowns and HGH by Decathexis‘s disarming accessibility. An album composed of three 15-minute-plus tracks has no right to be this catchy or to hold your tiny attention span for its entire proggy runtime, and yet it does just that due to VIII’s peerless musicianship and attention to songcraft. The frequent shifts in mood and style, from coffee-house prog to smooth jazz to flamenco guitar (in “Prognosis”) to unholy black metal actually serves to keep listeners entertained throughout each track, yet the band is able to maintain the tone and momentum through excellent use of dynamics and hooks throughout. It may not cause you to spinkick, but you’ll definitely want to crush some Jager bombs during the fast parts.

If you read all of the above and thought that all of it sounded wonderful, congratulations! You’re probably an “I Listen to Everything” snob and have now discovered your latest talking point for when you have your old MBA buddies over to drink IPAs and look at your new coffee table book of tasteful nude photography. I hope you enjoy your newfound line item on your portfolio.

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As you may have noted, Decathexis does a damn fine job of uniting pretty much every pole of the extreme metal spectrum. Reaching the climax of this album is tantamount to the triumphant conclusion of Independence Day, except rather than us all bonding over a jingoistic annihilation of a sentient life-form seeking natural resources, we’re holding hands over the glory of a truly progressive, downright fun extreme metal album that manages to be both smart and entertaining. What a rare treat. Really, the only downside to this whole thing is the small but noticeable lack of bottom-end. A bit more grit and a little more grime, and perhaps we could have even reeled in the crust kids and sludge-guzzlers. Lord knows they need to belong somewhere.

4.5 out ov 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

 

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If you found yourself mentioned somewhere up above, head on over to Third I Rex‘s Bandcamp page to order a copy of Decathexis. While you’re at it, go give VIII a hug on Facebook.

(Photos VIA)

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Published on: July 19, 2016

Filled Under: New Stuff, Reviews

Views: 917

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  • Eliza

    Thanks for pointing this album out, this seems to be right up my alley. I’m listening to the first song while writing this comment, and I’m loving what I’m hearing. Top notch review, by the way.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I don’t know what MBA is, IPA’s taste terrible, tasteful nuse photography is overrated and this sounds awful. All of it.
    A horrid review Dubbz, a horrid review.

    • Howard Dean

      MBA = Masters of Business Administration. “Business School.” A (usually) terminal professional degree for people employed in “business” (quotes because that is far too broad of a term, but you get the gist).

      • Dubbbz

        I’ve actually thought about getting one at some point in case I go into industry for a bit or head a research group some day.

        • Howard Dean

          Could be valuable. Although with a terminal degree in a hard science already under your belt, the value add of the MBA might be negligible. Depends on the cost. If you could get it discounted or paid for (and there wasn’t a significant opportunity cost to pursuing it), it might be worth it.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      “IPAs taste terrible”

      You take that back!

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        NEVER!!!

        • CyberneticOrganism

          *uses bear spray on you*

    • Count_Breznak

      Since I agree on the IPA part, I can savely assume you are right on the others, thus saving me the time actually reading the review.

  • Howard Dean

    My fuck do I want to eat about three dozen Cadbury Creme Eggs right now. Diabeetus!

    Solid review, Dubya. Might have to give this old girl a full listen.

    • Joaquin Stick

      I only like the peanut butter ones. The classic creme gives me the howling fantods.

      • yeah the Cadbury company found some way to concentrate crystalline sugar into a … Whoa, it’s like slime! Cadbury Corp takin it old school (90’s, the only true decade)

      • Hans Müller

        I assumed you meant diarrhea. Maybe I should read Infinite Jest.

        • Joaquin Stick

          I was hoping no one would get (or look up) my snobbish joke haha

    • Dubbbz

      Even if you don’t like this, at least you’re left with some Cadbury Creme Eggs.

      • Howard Dean
        • Dubbbz

          That would be me every Easter.

          • ….i really want to bring back vomit gifs

          • Howard Dean

            Do it!

            https://media.giphy.com/media/1mXkH6EeAEq1q/giphy.gif

            (puppet so it doesn’t count)

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Such a good movie.

          • Dubbbz
          • MAN that is gnarly. Why the aquarium?!

          • Dubbbz

            It had something to do with the slurpee, but I don’t recall at this point. Maybe he stuck his head in it?

          • I know some don’t miss these GIF’s, but I do. Even through all my vomit nightmares in June.

          • Dubbbz

            I still have a bunch saved, biding their time.

          • Oh, I bet you do. I bet you do. Haha!

          • I think puke is really, really funny. That’s all I got on the subject.

          • Dagon

            I finally watched The Hateful Eight last Saturday. It had fun vomits just like the ER.

          • Scrimm

            You are correct sir

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Those poor fish.

          • Dubbbz

            I don’t think there were any fish in there.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            If there was they’d be dead. Fish can’t handle acid.

          • WHAT. THE. FUCK, W.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            NEGATIVE

          • Waynecro

            Cadbury makes Halloween-themed creme eggs sometimes. The slime is neon green.

      • Waynecro

        I fucking love those mildly revolting sugar bombs.

        • Dubbbz

          I love the way they erupt in my mouth.

          • Waynecro

            Nothing sexual.

          • Scrimm

            I love the way they taste like crap

  • Joaquin Stick

    *flips swoopy haircut, kills Baal for the 100th time, using IJ as a mousepad*
    “This review doesn’t address my point of view accurately, how about writing something that I can understand for once?”

    For serious, great approach to a review! This sure is some complex stuff, enjoying it so far!

  • First track is pretty rad so far. Despite these tracks being long, they do however keep your interest though (The first one at least), which is good. I guess the first track could technically be split into two songs with that interlude at the 8 minute mark, but whatever. It would be more impressive if they could have kept everything going for the full 15 minutes. This is really cool shit Dubz, I’m still pushing through this.

    • Dubbbz

      The slowest part it hits on the whole album is a piano interlude midway through the second track which more or less splits it into two.

      • The drumming really reminds me of the drumming in Kriegsmaschine. It almost comes off as jazzy at times. Lots of odd drum patterns and closed high-hat skillz.

        • Dubbbz

          I’m a big fan of Kriegsmaschine. New EP this year, yah?

          • I totally forgot about that. Is that happening still? Haha, I haven’t heard much about it. Same goes for that new Voidhanger album.

          • Dubbbz

            Hmmm, I haven’t heard anything about it in a while.

  • WOAH!!!! Shit just got Sexy with that Sexaphone on track two. Haha!

  • Dagon

    I am going to listen to this in its entirety very soon. Sparked my interest.

    I am a fan of both tasteful nude photography and distasteful nude photography. I look at all nude photography snob.

    • Guacamole Jim

      That’s the best type of snob to be!

      • Dagon

        It all started with male bruised booty pics in a metal blog

  • Awesome review, thank you!!

  • Waynecro

    Thanks for this excellent review, Dubs. Also, I think you gave me the perfect title for my memoirs when you wrote “infernal sensuality.”

  • Hans Müller

    “the small but noticeable lack of bottom-end.”

    I’ll say, sounds a bit like someone is playing this to me over the phone. Got used to that quickly though. Very cool review that doesn’t promise too much; I’m about halfway through and it all seems to work really well. Foulest of witchcraft is undoubtedly at work.

    • Dubbbz

      Right. I didn’t notice it at first, maybe because a lot of black metal sounds relatively thin as is, but once Joe mentioned it, that missing rumble was apparent.

  • Just finished it up Dubz. That was certainly a roller coaster ride of a black metal album. This usually isn’t my cup of tea with all of the experimental stuff and what not, but I really did enjoy this a lot. Thanks!

    • Dubbbz

      I’m glad. There’s a certain X-factor to it that makes it flow really well. Normally, all the stuff I mentioned jammed into just one album would be a disaster.

  • “Symptom” gets a little . . . uh . . . Kayo Dot-y toward the end there. I like. The only thing that really rubs me against the grain here is the vocalist. Not digging his style.

    Also, insanely well-written piece, Dubz.

    • Dubbbz

      Thank you, Richter!

  • it looks like a bumhole

    • Dubbbz

      I don’t think your bumhole is supposed to look like that.

  • CT-12

    Maybe someone already posted this, but figured I’d share. Skronky/Botch-y, check er out https://spurn.bandcamp.com/album/comfort-in-nothing

  • I’m gonna have to check this out when I return home from the void of work. You make it sound so delicious I might even bake a cake. Just kidding I can’t cook/bake for shit. Microwaved burgers ftw.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    You can get Cadbury’s in the states?

    • Dubbbz

      Yup!