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Filipino death/black metal horde Deiphago’s latest album fits firmly within the ‘war metal’ niche.
For those with a fondness of a more conspicuous ‘musical’ approach you’ll be relieved to find that Deiphago don’t simply aim for an impenetrable wall of noise that many associate with the emulation of many post-Ross Bay acts.
Riff work and percussion are neatly balanced within a ‘modern’ sounding production job that shows consideration for the primitive and raw acoustics of each instrument whilst never being overbearing. The overall production is not unlike the most recent album by Impiety, but more organic sounding, with less compression, and much more analogous.
Musically the more discernible segments of ‘Satan Alpha Omega’ are similar to Bestial Warlust, albeit less harmonious and with a more low-end, downtuned aesthetic that is parallel to Conqueror, but more upfront in the mix.
Solos accentuate individual songs to good effect, having a playfulness similar to what you’d expect from Angelcorpse, but more simple, less technical but with a similar manipulation of the tremolo arm. Drumming is akin to the work of J.Read (Revenge, Conqueror, Axis Of Advance) but more loose, less mechanistic and free flowing, working very well with the power-trio dynamic Deiphago possess.
Amidst the fury of ‘Satan Alpha Omega’ Deiphago blast forth a cover of ‘Crucifixation’ by Deicide. If you were to listen to this album without having observed any of the artwork and having observed none of the song titles it would be difficult for this to become obvious, though it is perhaps the most discernable track on the album, along with the title track. Deiphago break no new ground but firmly know their aesthetic, and how to work external ideas into it.
It’s easy to imagine the how this band would come across within a live environment, and ‘Satan Alpha Omega’ makes for a solid, savage listen.
Are they still calling this "war metal," or is it supposed to be "bestial black metal" now?
Either way, Deiphago fully embrace all the clichés. Ridiculously fast and raw? Check. Uncompromisingly aggressive? Check. Over-the-top, blasphemous, slightly funny song titles with made-up words? Check. Songs you can't really tell apart? Check. Sub-par production? Check. Awesome? Check.
It's black metal played at double-time and double-ugly, in homage to Sarcófago, and it's exactly the kind of thing you expect on Hells Headbangers. It's also the quality you expect from the label, i.e., you won't be disappointed. There's enough off-kilter soloing (e.g., "Heretic Oath") and the occasional slower tempo (e.g., the title track) to keep it interesting, no matter how primitive the approach. This is only the Filipino band's third full-length, but they are 20+ year veterans. Given the style they play and the production they prefer, it still sounds like a debut, which, honestly, is how something like this should sound.
Still, despite the fact you can hear the bass, the production is even muddier than most bands of this ilk. I understand that's how all Deiphago's releases sound. It will prove a barrier to some, and makes it almost impossible to really dig into it. But that's not the point. If you couldn't already figure that out, this is not for you.
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/
Previous efforts by Deiphago, like the fantastically named Filipino Antichrist, didn't quite worm their way into my brain. This, however, I've been playing non-stop, and has definitely earned the band a place on the jacket I am patching up specially to commemorate my time in Southeast Asia (even though these guys are in Costa Rica now). Something about Satan Alpha Omega, in terms of delivery or perhaps songwriting, has lifted Deiphago to the level of must-take-heed. And in fact, after this, I will be likely to return to their earlier works freshfaced.
It is still gnarly, wrathful, and even punky - short songs, almost grindy pace changes, pummeling guitar riffs; the band's audio terror kind of fits with their claim to identify more with a punk subculture than the morose mannerisms of the extreme metal landscape. Voltaire 666 (which, by the way, is an excellent extreme metal pseudonym as far I'm concerned) handles vocals, and the vocals are the most simplistic thing going on here. So for those that don't listen carefully to this sort of sonic sacrilege, few revelations will be imparted. Anyway, he sticks to a reliable hoarse rasp, plenty of venom in it, a bit of layering, some ad libbing, damn fine for the job but he isn't looking to steal the show from the instrumental evils at work.
The drumming, however, will probably dominate your first experience of the album anyway, certainly if you're fresh to Deiphago and even this type of black/ death rage. An onslaught of piss and blood splattered hatred is what it is, communicated via a kit - but upon further inspection, the rolls, fills, the change-ups in what sort of blast is being played, the patterns Savnok is executing, are worthy of note in their own right. The kind of rolls that open 'Atrocities Absurdities' are a joy to behold. Or hear, whatever. Savnok is evidently a very talented musician, not content with the kind of basic battery often deemed acceptable with shite of this general description - drummers listening to this record will no doubt admire what they hear, if a talentless fuck like me can glean so much from it.
Then you get onto the guitars. A vortex of spiky, not-quite trebly, bulldozering mess mercilessly pulping whatever might remain of your eardrums. Like a lot of really quality black/ death chaos, this needs a decent sound system to really appreciate (that goes for the whole record). Once you can actually hear what the guitars are doing past the furious racket the drums are creating, you're on your way to comprehending just why Deiphago merit such close attention in barbaric metal circles - and why this record is superior to their previous records. Drawing on cacophonous, wailing solos lifted from the book of death metal, nihilistic spleens of distortion and thrusting riffs, a cataclysm of the elements rent in the cosmos (and naturally, your arse) by staples such as Diocletian, Throneum and Blasphemy with the forceful, sweltering atmosphere Southeast Asian bands have taken it upon themselves to perfect, Sidapa is clearly not at a loss for methods with which to abuse.
There are plenty of highlights - the title track is easily the best thing on here, with a churning and gloomy intro that really makes it unique. And that leads into an ingenious seven minutes (the longest song here by a good way) of ambient but harsh experimental noise to play you out. Mind you, the middle of the album, weighted as it is with tracks like 'Plague And Satan Triumphant', 'Exalted Hate', 'Satanmongers' and so on, is where I really get excited on each listen. Vile guitars, remorseless drumming and the general atmosphere of the record prevail every time. This is where you start with Deiphago. For me it really marks them as a member of the unholy cadre of Southeast Asia's top-notch purveyors of nasty.
Deiphago‘s debut in 2006, Satanic Eon was a nice, chaotic war metal release, and the band easily proved themselves to be one of Asia’s premier bestial black/death metal act with that brutal debut, with heavy references from Canadian-styled war metal bands such as Revenge and Nyogthaeblisz. Unfortunately, their 2009 follow up Filipino Antichrist barely caught my ear, and though chaos is of the essence for bands such as Deiphago, it resulted in a rather unstructured mess on their sophomore. Satan Alpha Omega marks their third full length release, and it would be great to see how the band has progressed since then.
As is rather unexpected from the band, the Intro sets down the uneasy mood in the listener, a nice prelude for the chaos and destruction that is to come right after that. And without any warning at all, the band begins their onslaught with Human Race Absolute End. The raw and bestial feel that the band has been known for has not only been retained, but the band further pushes their boundaries and explores how far they can push the sanity of the listener with Satan Alpha Omega. The riffs unleashed by Sidapa are still as chaotic as ever and still border on being formless, sounding like a heavily distorted, crushing wall of sound, and riff-oriented music easily reminds listeners of Canadian war metal fanatics Conqueror. The guitar solos unleashed are also chaotic and are reminiscent of those that Vermin has done on Revenge, with an absolute focus on the speed and intensity and not so much on the melodic aspects. Voltaire 666′s vocals are still extremely barbaric, as he alternates between his tortured growls/shrieks and some whispered vocals, spitting out the lyrics with hate and spite.
But one thing that absolutely helped to make Satan Alpha Omega perhaps Deiphago‘s best effort yet has to be the drumming of new drummer Savnok. The relentless blasting and the style that he utilises throughout the album display the influences that he has drawn from drummers such as James Read and Black Witchery‘s Vaz, particularly on moments such as the starting moments of Exalted Hate, and this, for me is absolutely charming, especially with the marked increase in the emphasis on the drums as well. Compared to prior efforts as well, Deiphago has certainly displayed a slightly more structured form in their songwriting this time, yet without compromising the barbaric style that they have come to be known for.
Certainly, this form of music has never been intended to be easy listening and those accustomed to clean production and melodic music will never understand this. But for fans of such bestial black/death metal, Satan Alpha Omega is definitely a must-have, and is probably the best work that Deiphago has put out thus far.
Although Deiphago’s first full length “Satanik Eon” dropped in 2006, they have been around in some form since the early nineties. The colder parts of Europe often get the rep for ‘innovating’ the black metal sound, yet the style spent its youth on the better part of four continents. This global birth was perhaps most evident in the ‘bestial’ variety of black metal, in which Asia played a significant role. Dominated by noise and lo-fi sonic chaos, there is the sense in “Satan Alpha Omega” that Deiphago have not evolved their mindset since the early days of this sound. For better or worse, Deiphago deliver a raw half-hour of war metal that makes no considerations to modern trends and innovations. Anyone looking for an album with a hint of subtlety or moderation should turn around and head far away; “Satan Alpha Omega” offers none of the sort.
Although a band like the Singaporeans in Impiety have audibly matured and refined their sound, Deiphago’s latest sounds like it could have been recorded in the mid-nineties. Black metal is the central element here, but sounds of thrash and death metal are evident as well. Although a rough production is generally a staple of black metal, Deiphago production sounds little better than demo standard for the most part. Recently added drummer Savnok’s busy performance comes across as fierce, and Voltaire 666’s vocals are audible enough in the mix. Where “Satan Alpha Omega”s recording feels most primitive- and where I think most listeners will find their biggest gripe- is in the way the guitars have been produced. Although some decent riffs can be discerned from “Heretic Oath” and the ritualistic title track, most everything guitar-related in “Satan Alpha Omega” comes off as a wave of harsh noise. It’s as if they were playing loud enough for the speakers to blow, then recorded the effect from the next room over. Depending on where you’re coming from as a listener, this can be a total deal breaker, or a real compliment to the band’s intensity. I’m ultimately left feeling mixed and agreeing somewhat with both sides. There’s no doubt that Deiphago’s energy is all-consuming here, but when it’s difficult to make out much save for an omnipresent blastbeat and garbled screaming, it would be a hard sell to call this an album that grows with each listen. True to the album title, Satanic imagery pervades “Satan Alpha Omega”, and though this could have brought the band dangerously close to the realm of cliché, the unrelenting aggression gets across a sense of hateful sincerity.
For the most part, “Satan Alpha Omega” is a trip through hell that offers two or three listens before the shock value peters out. The most notable exception to this is the “Outro”. Considering it takes up nearly a quarter of the album’s playing length, it’s certainly more than a tack-on. Although Deiphago’s take on war metal generally leaves me feeling underwhelmed, “Outro” is a sprawling piece of dark ambiance that brings a haunting atmosphere that truly feels like the listener has finally reached the pit of hell. Caught somewhere between harsh electronics and rhythmic industrial music, it gradually builds into something diabolical. It’s a fitting denouement for such an abrasive album, and it’s a shame that the rest of “Satan Alpha Omega” does not convey the same hellish atmosphere. Ultimately, Deiphago’s latest passes me as an album that seeks to relive the glory of the war metal classics. However, unlike Blasphemy’s “Fallen Angel of Doom”, the shock value is quick to wear off. It’s worth the ride at first, but war black metal has had darker days than this.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a serious and widespread behavioral problem. Appearing in childhood, its symptoms are concentration difficulties, extreme agitation, even aggressivity. Not adequately treated, ADHD can have important consequences for teenagers and adults, such as socio affective disorders, emotional instability and chronic bouts of spontaneous violence. This brief clinical description beautifully illustrates Deiphago’s music. Originating for the Philippines, now relocated to Costa Rica, this band exists since the late 1980s, leaded by Sidapa ans Voltaire 666 (!). Inspired particularly by Hellhammer, Sarcófago and Beherit, it vomits a music belonging to war bestial black / death crap metal register, a subgenre I hate with a passion, as it gets on my nerves everytime I dare listen to it.
Despite a long career marked by numerous publications, Satan Alpha Omega (2012) is only the band’s third full-length. True to their favorite style, members of this diabolical orchestra swing music you would swear written by someone with an extreme form of hyperactivity (or struck by a seizure while taking amphetamines). After a short introduction, Human Race Absolute End tumbles at full speed in all directions at once. Impossible to distinguish any structure at all, as the band increases rhythmic patterns and breakdowns for more than thirty minutes. Guitar sound is fat, drums are wielded by a madman and vocalist seems perpetually out of breath. Only a children’s party held in a McDonalds could partly reproduce the aggression feeling that the listener experiences by enduring this album. After a dozen listens, I am therefore ready for intravenous Ritalin.
War black metal enthusiasts will be delighted by this album, which meets all codes of the genre. However, its rough and primitive aspects confirm my aversion for this style. I am fully aware that black metal is an extreme and brutal music, but I’m still expecting more from its artisans than an improvised musical nonsense. But then, it’s probably an horizon that members of Deiphago will ever fail to overcome. 3/10
Originally written for Métal Obscur.
Deiphago of the Philippines provides such an over the top, barbaric blast to the face that it's almost difficult to qualify or quantify what they play as 'music', at least in terms of the traditional aesthetics of melody, harmony and the memorable fortification of rhythmic timekeeping. That's not to say that what they perform is void of any intrinsic, blasphemous value, because a more fucked up ride than this you are not likely to take again anytime soon, and in the tradition of their prior efforts like Filipino Antichrist, they really grind the genre to the hilt, as if they were audio manifestations of living hellfire that sought to seethe and burn through the speakers and headphones into their target audience and melt their damp brains.
I suppose at the root of this repulsive abomination is a hint of incendiary black/war metal redolent of groups like Bestial Warlust, Blasphemy or Revenge, with a fraction of Impiety's noisier 90s friction. I'm also reminded of a local group called Watchmaker, who pursued a similar if more dynamically integrated sense of chaos.The drums are splayed out in blast beat patterns, and the guitars highly distorted. So distorted, in fact, that they feel like they're being twisted through space as they brutishly mete out their discordant clamor. Several sequences are slower, gaping and doom-like, and these feel just as unnatural and fucked as the rest of the riffs, but usually they rifle along at an accelerated pacing. The leads used in tracks like "Exalted Hate" feel like web-works of madness being strewn about the abyssal layer of pummeling and painful momentum, and it's quite easy to become confused and unnerved in the process. The bass is unadulterated, churning sewage, a manhole to an underworld of heinous torture.
Be warned: there is nothing remotely comfortable about this material. Most music is written with the intention that you'll recall and hum along to it later. That's not what an album like Satan Alpha Omega is really about. Where most extreme metal bands encapsulate their infamy into familiar rhythmic environs, this is extremely, ergonomically unsafe and highly stress inducing. It's like having your spine removed and cast into a giant hamster wheel with ravenous daemons doing laps inside, the nerve endings still attached to the rest of your being. And yet, it's internally consistent. There is a method to this madness. The band doesn't merely fire up a conflagration of random sounds, they leave the chaos to the architecture of the guitars and tease you with the familiar, hoarse rasping of the black metal genre, the solid and spastic drums. It's familiar, and yet so very, very different.
In the end, Satan Alpha Omega is infernal nihilism in the flesh. A tantrum of Leviathan. If I listened to this any more out loud in my apartment, I'd probably get evicted. Primordial, ugly and repulsive, it will rape your ears, then leave bleeding on your doorstop without so much as a goodbye or apology. It's not an album you experience to 'enjoy'...but to 'destroy'. Not in any way 'great', but grating with as much beatific hostility the trio can muster with the 20+ years of history behind it. If this sounds in any way attractive to that misanthropic imp that awaits restlessly within your psyche, seeking to punish you at any given moment, then suffer it well.