Review: “Self Titled” by Yokai

Strange and supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore. Yokai is a combination of the characters 妖 (yō) — attractive, bewitching, calamity — and 怪 (kai) — mystery, wonder). That is the name that this Japanese themed Deathcore collective from Detroit Michigan have chosen for themselves. Formed in late 2018 by guitarist and programmer Jordan Lawrence and vocalist Jacob Myers, both members of Detroit powerhouse Until Solace, they are joined by bassist *ahem* Christian Miracle and drummer Tim Gorman. They’re building up to their debut album “Sacrafical” and having dropped a pair of impressive singles in “The One That Dwells” and the album title track, we’ve gone back to check out their 2019 debut EP and cover of “Bludgeoned to Death” by Suicide Silence for a review.

…The sinister churning introduction to “Malice” lingers underneath the punishing staccato riffs and pulverising percussive patterns of the Deathcore bounce that tears up the opening verses, while Black Metal fills and the beast like vocals tear a hole in the time space continuum during this introduction to a brutal band. When Myers roars “You’ve met your maker!“, the ground shakes beneath your feet. Building a dark oppressive atmospheric dynamic before cutting the tension with brutal slabs of riffage,  “Forest of Death” is every inch the horror film soundscape that the band are looking to build. An ambient break is smashed into a million pieces by monumentally huge blast beat section of venomus intent and if you heard segments of this in isolation, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a Black Metal track and that is something that goes for the entire EP. Oni ( 鬼 おに ) is a kind ogre or troll in Japanese folklore, usualy portrayed as horned hulking figures and it’s the subject of an absolute skull crusher of a cut with Myers depicting himself as one such beast, which the cover art of the EP ties in nicely with. His elongated roars across segments where the music drops out are a real demonstration of his vocal prowess, his range is brutally impressive, a match for former Lorna Shore vocalist CJ McCreary to name but one. The horror soundscapes continue into “Abyss Crawler” which sounds huge and epic with those Black Metal leanings giving added depth and texture to the pulverising brutality that also shows off some downtempo moments that are jaw dropping. At this juncture we’ll point out that the bands Suicide Silence cover isn’t on the EP itself but was released as a stand alone cut. We’re including it here to share our thoughts, which are that it’s a fitting tribute to the dearly departed and much missed Mitch Lucker with enough of the Yokai stamp on it to make it a glorious addition. Gimmie more.  [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Malice
  2. Forest of Death
  3. Oni
  4. Abyss Crawler
  5. Bludgeoned to Death (Suicide Silence cover)

Self Titled” by Yokai is out now and available over at bandcamp


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