ALBUM REVIEW: Deviloof – Oni (鬼)

Release Date: June 19th 2019
Label: 9th Records


Japan’s Deviloof gained some notable attention with their debut album ‘Devil’s Proof’ back in 2017, and now they’re back to deliver its follow-up, ‘Oni’. If you know anything about this deathcore quintet, it’s that you should expect the unexpected.

They certainly know how to catch your attention with ‘Goujin Sangoku’, opening with what sounds like a Theremin. We’re then quickly greeted with their haphazard, but well-controlled brand of metal. A harp sample manages to also keep us intrigued;; their visual kei style features many callbacks to Dir En Grey‘s approach, and not just with the music.

There’s also a sense of fun with ‘Kaika ~Oni no Maki~’, with its breakdown coming in with something of a surprise in the middle. ‘Kodokushi ~Oni no Maki~’ is a more straight down-the-line metalcore-styled number, but the chorus manages to peak some interest still.

A definite highlight comes in the form of ‘You’, which is a seemingly free-form track that changes tempo many times, driven by some electronic percussion and a flute melody. Deviloof‘s ability to mix things up is undoubtedly bolstered by their eclectic sound palette.

‘Dusky Vision’ provides more immediacy, with the vocals resembling a melodramatic wail which frankly wouldn’t be out of place in power metal. While this terrain can often be on the cheesy side of things, Deviloof manage to pull this off and make it work. Electronic interlude ‘Waku’ is cleverly timed, keeping up the variety and feeling like it’s building to something.

After ‘Kumo No Ito’ providing some more metalcore stylings, the appropriately titled ‘Creepy’ has an intro that’s a return to the more haphazard, scatterbrain approach as heard earlier on ‘Goujin Sangoku’, completed with a crushing breakdown. This record is certainly an enthralling listen, but sometimes you’re feeling it would be better if they featured more tracks like this – even for a band that are crushingly heavy and unpredictable, they’ve still got some potential yet to tap into.

And they can certainly go for broke for album closer, ‘Ruten’. Moving between thrash, deathcore, and an interesting yodelled vocal delivery, this is another solid exhibition of what Deviloof can do. The galloping build-up into the final riffing section at the end helps to close the album up very strongly.

Whilst parts of this record could be described as deathcore and metalcore as you’d expect, Deviloof definitely know how to mix things up, and ‘Oni’ should be an album that keeps you entertained all the way though.