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VIII - Drakon

by Erika Kuenstler at 13 September 2014, 5:22 AM

Italy is increasingly becoming more and more noticed in the metal scene, showcasing excellent bands such as HOUR OF PENANCE, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, and HISS FROM THE MOAT. And it seems that this flood is far from over: what initially started out in 2010 with a demo released under the band name DIVISION VIII, this Italian Black/Death Metal band soon dropped the “Division” part of their name, and this June saw the release of “Drakon”, their full-length debut effort, flying under the moniker of VIII.

Starting off with “Ode To Qayin”, this track has an eerie opening that is suddenly shattered by a very Black’n’Roll tempo. Soon joined by gravely vocals, this song is a particularly catchy opener that hooks the listener in with its undeniably Black Metal riffage underpinned by a groovy drum rhythm and a chunky bass, although some of the changes between the various sections of the composition are a bit coarse. “Chalice With Blood Poisoned by Snake Bite” sees the tempo being taken down, lending the song a much gloomier feel. This Doom melded with Black Metal, intertwined with piano melodies and mystical chanting creates an ominous but beautiful track: definitely one of the highlights on the album. Things pick up when the third track “Exequias Itinera” kicks in with its faster tempo, although this too is tempered, leading into the funerary dirge-like melody that sucks the listener through the pits of sepulchre despair in “In Utero Matris”. Perhaps my favourite track on “Drakon” is “Meta Stasis - Carcinogenic Cell”; it is on this song that I think VIII’s own particular style of composition is at its best, with just enough of each of Black, Death, Doom, and Thrash influences to make for a truly devastating song.

One of the things that really impressed me was how much variation “Drakon” contains. Each song has a unique feel to it, and VIII have not been afraid to explore their abilities to the full on this album, amalgamating all the hostility and aggression of Black Metal with an asphyxiating Doom influence. On the downside, the recording quality isn’t all that great, which does detract from the overall sound. Granted, a certain rawness is accepted, if not expected, within the Black Metal scene; nevertheless, I still feel that with a little bit of tweaking, “Drakon” could have gone from being a good album to an outstanding one. But this aside, if you enjoy your Black Metal with a strong experimental dose of Doom to darken things up a bit, this might be just what you’re looking for!

3 Star Rating

I. Ode To Qayin
II. Chalice With Blood Poisoned by Snake Bite
III. Exequias Itinera
IV. In Utero Matris
V. Drakon
VI. Meta Stasis - Carcinogenic Cell
VII. Descending the Abyss
DrakoneM – Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Mark – Drums
Record Label: Black Plague Records


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Edited 08 February 2023

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