The PR notes accompanying Decathexis (Third-I Rex), the second album from Cagliari firebrands VIII, advise comparisons with Extreme experimentalists Deathspell Omega and Manes. The reality, however, is a progressive aural violence full of invention.
Opener ‘Symptom’s early exchanges see a stripped down, Blackened underpin, quirky in its structure and graced by WLKN’s snarled growl, suddenly tempered by maudlin drops which lend themselves to a Shoegaze feel. That Manes comparison manifests itself with a Jazzy sax, which introduces a dream-like sequence: a piano-led ambience; a street walk followed by a nightmarish descent through rapid atonal chords, Freeform pace changes and hostile growls, with those ivories beginning the road to a sample-laden coda in hair-raising fashion.
The early stages of the ensuing ‘Diagnosis’ beautifully blend an emotional, atmospheric Doom with more of that wistful saxophone and the kind of Deathly, downward spirals perfected by the likes of Pyrrhon. A meander through eerie gentleness is followed by a rampant, horrific explosion, the throat morphing from growl to Blackened rasp in a terrifying escalation of anger. This is the depiction of a war zone yet, replete with a subtle piano centrepiece, the apocalyptic, heartbreaking aftermath of battle is gloriously displayed also.
There’s a Blues-Punk edge to the bludgeon of closer ‘Prognosis’ which lends a more traditional edge but the experimentation is still evident: the sparing, neurotic riffs given a tremolo effect; the atmospheric blast of classical acoustic; the brief, gradual drop once again full of melancholy and portent. It’s WLKN’s voice which again provides the savagery, especially in the tolling, Avant-garde atonality of the second movement: his screams and whispers demonical in accompanying the hydraulic Industria and Marco Porcu’s staggering stickwork.
This constant movement through disparate fundamentals can lead to ‘Prognosis’ occasionally feeling a touch difficult to engage with, its cosmic yet serene finale an ineffectual end to the urgency of the previous 45 minutes. The whole is nevertheless an absorbing tour de force, its manic nature running in perfect tandem with a moving ambience to incite all manner of emotion. By no means an easy listen, Decathexis is nevertheless a hugely rewarding journey.