Album Review: WITHIN DESTRUCTION - Yōkai

Artist: Within Destruction

Album: Yōkai

Genre: Slamming Deathcore

Review by Anthony Melbourne

Slamming Deathcore veterans WITHIN DESTRUCTION, are set to change the game with the release of their much anticipated third record ‘YŌKAI’, marking a drastic departure in sound and aesthetic, and given their history for ‘tongue in cheek’ humour, you’d be forgiven for thinking, is this for real? And if so, will it be any good? The answer is simply: Yes.

Eight years in the making, from their early days as Melodic Deathcore upstarts with 2012’s ‘From the Depths’, then taking a massive leap forward musically with 2016’s ‘Void’, propelling them into the global spotlight, becoming a hit with young Slamming Deathcore fans the Internet over, and solidifying their rightful place on top of the heap with the release of 2018’s ‘Deathwish’, alongside peers ‘Vulvodynia’, ‘Slaughter to Prevail’, ‘Signs of the Swarm’ etc. – but the 2020’s ‘YŌKAI’ marks a change in the guard, not merely content with sitting still and repeating themselves, WD are determined to carve themselves a path, on their terms.

Handling the bulk of the production of the record themselves and putting it out on their own Label, ‘Ultra Heavy Records’, beginning with the promotional photos and teasers leading up to the release of the first singles and its accompanying media with over the top and brightly coloured, neon Anime imagery and a departure from their defining sound, adding welcome splashes of vibrant colour to their palette, as well as an unlikely shade– Trap Rap. Hip-Hop and Metal have had a checkered past to say the least – one could say a love/hate relationship, but splicing Slamming Deathcore, Metalcore and Trap probably shouldn’t be done, but WITHIN DESTRUCTION have achieved the impossible, thy made it sound good! This move may alienate some fans in the process but gain many more, as well as possibly start a movement and a sea of imitators and naysayers alike.

Starting the album off with a short intro track, ‘YOMI’ with its slow bass heavy Trap beats and tranquil Koto – a traditional Japanese string instrument plucked sparingly in the background, gradually, building up until the title track ‘YŌKAI’ kicks in, full of bouncy groove-laden Metalcore chug riff that evokes comparisons to bands like ‘Wage War’ & ‘After the Burial’, and a cheeky Slam breakdown, then mid-way through the band takes a hard left turn and slows the song right down and evoking ‘Architects’ vibes with the assistance from Crystal Lake’s Ryo Kinishita, ending the song with a ‘lesson’ in expert level Slam Breakdowns.

HARAKIRI’ begins on a slightly sombre note eerie, ominous beats with vocalist Rok Rupnik whispering “Kill yourself, Kill yourself” over and over, then blasting our senses with brutal gutturals, blast beats, Slamming guitars and confronting, straight to the point lyrics like “No one gives a fuck about your life so step up and make a choice for yourself, or be a slave in a herd of sheep…”, that give you an idea of what motivated the band to step so far outside of the box and collaborate with rapper ‘BILL $ABER’ and experiment with new sounds and textures. And in their own words – ‘Don’t be a pussy-ass motherfucker”.

On tracks like, ‘NO WAY OUT’, ‘MALEVOLENT’ & ‘KINGS OF DARKNESS’, the band seem to be in their element, these songs bare a sound that closely resembles what they had already perfected with their previous records, especially on ‘Deathwish’ a slight tip of the hat to their earlier material while still looking forward but never straying too far from their new found musical blueprint. While still full of Mosh worthy riffage, solid Grooves and some of the tightest drumming in the scene, with the occasional Trap infused spoken word bridge to break up the crushing heaviness and Slamming Breakdowns scattered throughout.

Likewise on cuts like ‘ALONE’, ‘HATE ME’ & ‘BACKSTAB’, the band wear their Metalcore influences on their sleeve and opt for a much more mid-paced tempo & Groove orientated approach to their song writing, while still dipping their toes ever so slightly in familiar territory with frenzied blast beats and Guttural vocals. ‘NO MERCY’ dives headfirst back into Brutal Deathcore territory with chaotic guitars and machine gun blast beats.

‘B4NGB4NG’ featuring rappers ‘TYOSiN’& ‘KAMIYADA’ perfectly blending Heavy riffs and with Beats and Sub drops in the unadulterated amalgamation of Deathcore and Trap, while instrumentals ‘SAKURA’ , featuring guitarist ‘JASON RICHARDSON’ and final track, ‘TOKOYO-NO-KUNI’ head into Progressive Metal territory, showcasing just how talented Guitarists Francesco Filigoi & Howard Fang as well as Drummer Luka Vezzosi and just like the Intro track with its bass heavy trap beats and tranquil keys. Although it feels like Trap and Deathcore shouldn’t work, they make it work. Fantastic album.

Yōkai is available now on all major streaming platforms and Bandcamp.

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