Shostakovich's 8th, as well as the 5th, is an engaging and listenable symphony. I own many versions but Jarvi's is the best, both from sonic and interpretational perspectives. The sound is luminously captured so that one feels immersed and the Scottish National Symphony under Jarvi has mastered Shostakovich and gives a performance that I do not believe has been exceeded on a technical level.
Is this your type of symphony? Shostakovich's representation of the approach of war and the first conflicts of the armies give me the goosebumps, followed by wars first thunder. But what follows is much more moving and has a feeling of terrible inevitable progression. Muted trumpets begin a sniveling, repetitive pied-piper theme. One feels the fevered response of the masses and then visualizes the assembly and marchings of the great masses. It all ends in a conflagration of sound and conflict, and the residue of dispair and destruction. If the Russian experience of World War II (20 million dead) was worthwhile in any way it was to inspire Shostakovich's great work. For something more uplifting, try Shostakovich's 5th. Better, get both.