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Exclusive Premiere: Black Metal band VIII from Italy

VIII-bandcamp

It’s always a pleasure keeping track of releases on the stellar UK label Third-I-Rex, because of the soothing and usually unconventional nature of its releases. Starting from the excellent Sonance release that I discovered on the label, to Slow Worm, The Nepalese Ball Temple and others, there’s a rich variety of music to be found here. Although usually of a doom/sludge nature, the latest release of the mysterious Italian band VIII is more rooted in the black metal style than doom, despite the lengthy and atmospheric nature of the songs.

The song that’s being exclusively premiered here is titled Diagnosis, and simply put, it’s just mind-blowing. There’s not a lot happening initially, when the band begins in a stylish slow yet hypnotic manner, but soon enough, it picks up pace and resembles the dissonant genius of the established bands in this black metal genre such as Blut aus Nord, Bolzer and Deathspell Omega. It’s very competent and seems effortlessly done, but where the band goes from there is something very few would expect – they delve into a subtler jazz territory (reminiscent of the perennially underrated band Disharmonic Orchestra) with the introduction of what sounds like a saxophone and just then everything turns into magic. It’s not often that I hear what I can call a jaw-dropping part in music after two decades of listening experience but this section in particular is out of the world. Brilliantly, the black metal music metamorphoses into jazz while ostensibly retaining the original ambiance – you will have to hear it to believe it. From around the seven minute mark, you’ll hear what can be deemed the best saxophone part in a metal album, in all probability. The song could’ve ended on that high note, but no, this is an 18-minute song and after taking a bit of a break (admittedly affecting the momentum), it goes on to employ piano and just turns it into an epic. Black metal eventually surfaces in the song and the same level of sublime Blut aus Nord-esque dissonant riffing continues, reminding me of Grey Heaven Fall in the manner it effortlessly weaves in many subgenre styles, and goes on to win you over completely.

Based on this one song alone, we’re looking at what could prove to be one of the best albums of the year. A definite year-end contender from this writer. Don’t just keep staring, listen to this song and don’t forget to support the label and the band (I hear the physical copies are very limited) –

Third I Rex Bandcamp | VIII Facebook | Third I Rex Facebook

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