“Deivore” is the debut album from Oneuro, a solo technical death metal project by Christopher Thayer. At 66 minutes, this album is an absolute monolith of a release, filled to the brim with incredibly intricate solos and riffs, tight rhythm playing, and monstrous vocals. Before that, however, “Deivore” opens with “Three Realms Broken”, a symphonic instrumental track. While this song sounds absolutely nothing like the rest of the record, it is actually the most ambitious and interesting track, as it is driven by an evocative, haunting melody. Though this album is admittedly quite bloated; the somewhat indulgent intro is actually a breath of fresh air, as there is little variation throughout the rest of the record.
Once “Omen To The Gods” begins, Oneuro’s sound becomes quite clear. Showing homage to any number of incredibly technical bands like Obscura or Neuraxis, this track easily moves from speedy bizarre harmonies, to downright brutal chugging. These latter moments show the band with more of a brutal death metal sound, which is only enhanced by the production. Indeed, this album’s sound makes the low-end crushing in its attack. By contrast, whenever Oneuro provides more melodic passages, it is the bass that shines. Technical death metal is practically heaven for bass players, and Thayer’s skills make it clear that Oneuro is no exception. His vocal performance is good, but not particularly unique. In the context of “Deivore”, growling does not seem to be important, as much of this album’s runtime focuses more on either dazzling displays of technicality, or skull-crushing breakdowns and rhythmic assaults.
While “Deivore” is clearly well executed, it does fall short from a songwriting perspective. The aforementioned harmonies are, at times, so jarring that it makes them difficult to digest. It feels like an attempt to one-up the band’s contemporaries, though in that respect it does succeed. In fact, this is an appropriate description of the direction of the record: it takes the established technical death metal formula, but often gets off track, and feels as though the songs are written to be weird for the sake of being weird. To be fair, these sections are not so pervasive that they ruin the record, but they do appear far too often. The strange, circus-like interludes in “The Roulette” provide an example of this sound; not only does this section feel out of place, but it begins to switch between the clean guitar and bass interlude and a second or two of death metal. On their own, the two sounds are fair, but when combined, they seem strange.
Taken at face value, “Deivore” is not only an interesting listen, but a respectable one. It is astounding that one individual came up with something so eccentric. Even though it doesn’t always hit the mark, and is largely devoid of memorability, there is still a lot to like here. The fusion of technical and brutal death metal is particularly interesting because so few bands can capture the traits of each subgenre and switch between them instantly this competently. If Thayer cut back on the absurdity, dropped about half the songs, and focused on keeping just the best riffs and solos, this would be a top-tier modern death metal release. Of course, that would probably defeat the initial goal of this project, but the key point is that the ingredients for success are here, they just need to be refined a little bit.
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"Three Realms Broken"
3.4/5 or 68%.
Written by Scott