Deiphago – Satan Alpha Omega (Hells Headbangers, 2012)

Deiphago’s Filipino Antichrist was one of the most punishing, abrasive metal albums I’ve ever heard. Not only were the songs designed for maximum destruction, but the production scheme whipped the music into an ear-bleeding, ungodly racket that had more in common with harsh noise; think Venereology-era Merzbow and pre-Bermuda Drain Prurient trying to play blackened death metal and you’ve got a pretty good picture of the OTT aural rape that album was capable of inflicting. But while there is a lot to be said for such deafening ultra-violence, it also rendered Filipino Antichrist a bit of a challenging listen; you knew there were songs lurking in the noise, but that noise sometimes made them difficult to discern. For follow-up album Satan Alpha Omega, Deiphago have sharpened their sound considerably. While some might be under the impression that this development would only serve to somehow soften Deiphago’s sensory-overloading assault, the truth is that Satan Alpha Omega blows Filipino Antichrist out of the goddamn water in just about every way imaginable.

Satan Alpha Omega sees the Costa Rica-based Filipino trio easing up on the production, revealing a set of songs that are utterly merciless in the chaotic devastation they inflict upon the listener. Make no mistake, the sound here is pretty fucking far from pristine, but when compared to Filipino Antichrist, the difference is that you can actually hear what’s going on within the musical cyclone Deiphago so effortlessly conjures up. The word “bestial” gets thrown around far too often these days, but this band is truly unleashing a beast whenever they pick up instruments; this is primal, endlessly ugly stuff that’ll rip your head off and take a filthy black shit on your bloody neck-stump.

For all the black/death metal carnage found on Satan Alpha Omega, there is something inherently punk about Deiphago’s approach. The relentless, reckless abandon with which they attack their instruments could have only come from the darker, harder edged ends of the punk rock spectrum; one imagines that Discharge is as much responsible for Deiphago’s fast and furious attack as Deicide or Sarcofago. I’m also reminded of Motorhead, not so much musically, but in the brutalizing power trio aesthetic Deiphago cultivates; think of them as the black metal version of the Motorhead template taken to its illogical conclusion, armed with OTT Satanism, spikes and bullet belts.

Another aspect separating Deiphago from the bestial legions is the fact that they can actually play their instruments. In the hands of less competent musicians, the blasphemous blitzkrieg of tracks such as “Satan Mongers” and “Demonic Munitions” would surely fall apart at the seams. New drummer Savnok puts in an especially impressive performance; you’d think the dude was some kind of eight-armed monstrosity if you didn’t know better from the band photos. Bassist/vocalist Voltaire 666 sounds positively possessed and as if he’s constantly on the verge of total demonic meltdown, while guitarist Sidapa launches salvo after salvo of barely controlled six-string chaos. The band also displays an ability to create queasy, pitch black atmospheres with the album’s seven minute outro track, a study in industrialized noise that shows a completely different side of Deiphago and makes for an interesting comedown after the rest of Satan Alpha Omega has beaten the living shit out of you repeatedly for thirty minutes.

On Satan Alpha Omega, Deiphago have refined their approach without losing any of unadulterated intensity that puts them head and shoulders above just about any of the other bands mining this style of bestial black/death metal. If you’re looking for your next fix of blasting, blaspheming, bludgeoning metal mayhem, look no further.


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