CD Review: VII Days Clean “The Final Performance”

After six years, VIII Days Clean is calling it a day. But not before offering fans one last CD. The aptly titled “The Final Performance” will be released this weekend at their final show. The Tacoma rock band, which has released four full-length CDs, offers five new songs on this fifth album and three songs from their back catalog.

After not appearing on the last album, “Parasite,” guitarist Sean Van Dommelen is back in the fold. Ron Walvatne has set his guitar aside for this CD to concentrate on vocals. Jeff Welch is on drums. On bass is the late Tony McDougald, who died last May at age 36.

The band does not disappoint on this final offering. The five new tunes have the heavy music and dark lyrical themes that are the hallmarks of VIII Days Clean’s style.

“You never had to work so hard before/ so bow and bend your knees before you love,” Walvatne sings on “Bow and Bend,” the leadoff track. “I know it’s really hard to tell/ what’s the difference between the living and this hell?” The blues influence is apparent in the guitar solo.

“Nasty” has a bit of a groove to it, with the bass punching through the mix. The lyrics start with sexual imagery, as the title might suggest. Then they shift to drug imagery. “I’m a symptom of self-destruction/ my disease is running through your veins/ so tick tock of the clock/ you’re on my so much desire,”

“Unheard” has a pace that plods along, reminiscent of heavy rock bands of the Seattle scene of 20 years ago. The lyrics delve into a bleak view of religion. “Approaching stranger, elder and wise/ he said I’m unclean and dead to Christ/ he said God ain’t hearing your prayers/ your faith is based solely in fear/ believe in all the lies that I hear/ my hopes and dreams slowly disappears.”

The bass on “Skeletons” is run through an effect that makes it stand out in the mix. Walvatne sings of a man going through severe anguish. “Demons in his head they think they know/ telling him some lies they steal his show/ digging up the dead is how they go.”

“Waiting” has a lot of attitude. “Sometimes we like it when darkness falls/ sometimes we hide like it’s nothing it all/ I know I’m way too deep I’m falling apart/ can’t help what’s killing me from deep within my heart.”

The CD closes with live versions of three songs that have appeared on previous albums: “America” from “Second Column” in 2008, “Angels of Nothing,” the title track of their third album, and “Open Up,” also on the third album.

VIII Days Clean made their mark. Their backgrounds in drug addiction and ongoing journey through recovery are evident in the lyrics of many of their songs. Their fans in recovery could very much relate and the band had a devoted following. “The Final Performance” is a fine farewell.

VIII Days Clean plays their final show Louie G’s in Fife at 8 p.m. on April 20. It is an all-ages show with no cover charge.


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