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Relentless MadnessDethKillGrrWarSatanApokolypse - 80%

The_Evil_Hat, May 21st, 2009

Deiphago are a War Metal band who are now located in Costa Rica. Their music is heavily influenced by bands like Blasphemy, Conqueror, Beherit, Hellhammer and Sarcofago. This is the band’s first full length, after being together for seventeen years, albeit with a host of lineup changes.

The album starts with an intro cleverly entitled ‘Intro: genocide,’ which is something like the traditional black metal intro with synths and creepy sound effects. The main difference is that everything randomly fluctuates and parts drop in and out constantly. It sounds somewhat like someone randomly flicked all the switches on the mixing board, but is far more enjoyable as a result of this, although, admittedly, far less ‘grr, I’m kvlt evil!’ feeling than the band was probably going for. Immediately after the intro you’re greeted with a blast beat, and all the synths are gone for good (save for a surprisingly effective bell intro to Sacrifice for Satan and the intro to Death to Everything).

The overall sound is far closer to the War Metal side of the spectrum than that of their comparatively thrashier influences, such as Sarcofago. The drums dominate the production. The majority of it is blasting, which frequently utilizes the ride cymbal in place of the hi hat, although there are several other highly aggressive beats used quite frequently. The drumming is extremely fast and always feels on the brink of loosing control, but it never quite does and is quite exhilarating as a result. The bass is utterly inaudible, not that this should come as a particularly large surprise. The guitars match the fierce drumming with brutally quick, and enjoyably sloppy, power chord work, which is quite competent, if buried a bit by the drums quite often. Solos aren’t uncommon, and all are the standard aggressive black metal solos, enjoyable, chaotic and downright relentless. The greatest of these is the tapping on 666 Division.

The whole album feels far more intense than it has any right to. The music, while good, isn’t the match of Blasphemy or anything on their level, yet it all possesses a completely reckless air that is stunningly relentless. A small portion of this could be attributed to the album’s EP-esque length, but most bands can’t maintain this kind of tension for a single song, so merely laughing it off due to running time would be unfair. It never lets up, but it never grows mundane, either. It feels like a school bus, filled with screaming kids, driving at a hundred fifty miles an hour, through a city in the process of being fire bombed, while the driver drinks shot after shot and swerves randomly due to being one of the kids and never having driven – or drunk - before. It’s as edge of the seat as it gets, and despite how inevitable the fuck up looks, it never comes.

A large portion of that is probably the vocals, which are quite excellent. The majority of them are moderately high shrieks, but their main asset is the fact that they’re not so garbled that you can’t understand them, sounding, as a result, more like the barking dementia of a madman than the choirs of the dark lord. These are occasionally mixed with a far more guttural style of vocals, the two being often mixed upon each other. When it comes to simple chaos exhibited by human throats, the ending of Masofukkchrist takes the prize with ease. The greatest mind-fuck moment on the whole CD occurs when the shrieks are suddenly alternating between panning with frightening speed. It’s a gimmick that I usually laugh at, but it’s decidedly disturbing here…not to mention absolutely awful when listened to with a headache. With headphones. Not that I made the mistake of just doing that, or anything.

The lyrics and song titles are utterly ludicrous, and go so far beyond the realm of evil, that they enter the somewhat less desirous realm, known in whispers around the world as ‘silly.’ Song titles like Death to Everything, AngelRapeslay, Masofukkchrist and 666 Division are hardly terrifying in this day and age, and feel somewhat like sprouting random ‘kvlt’ phrases. Hell, I can make one too: EvilSatankill, perhaps. Or maybe DarkDethkillings, Grrr! would work better.

Another high point of his release is the surprising individuality of each track. While they are all fairly similar, every one of them has a few identifiable moments that serve to set it completely apart. My favorite is probably Satanist’s War. After a drum intro, we’re treated to four and a half minutes of utterly bestial riffing and blasts. The whole thing is stunning in that it merely gets more intense as the song goes on. The lyrics are decipherable in the chorus (which also features some great rhythmic shifting on the drums that perfectly backs the guitars). “Satan is war,” the singer screams, “War is Satan!” I doubt anyone would call it profound, but its entertainment value is undeniable. In addition, as the song draws to a close the singer lets out a terrific falsetto scream that contrasts beautifully with the backing music, and is quite possibly the highlight of the whole experience.

Deiphago don’t do anything revolutionary. At the same time, they do what they do extremely well and form one of the most relentless metal albums I’ve ever heard. This is highly recommended for any fan of the bands mentioned in the beginning of the review.