Satan Alpha Omega
posted on 8/2012 By:
Disregarding Manny Pacquiao, if you were to ask the average person on the street what she or he associates with the Philippines, there’s a half-decent chance that a dusty lightbulb of recollection might flicker on enough for this person to tell you something about the legendary (and legendarily ill-gotten) shoe collection of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines under long-serving strongman Ferdinand Marcos. Following that line of thought, the inner librarian of the mind might just be able to light a torch and guide one down the clammy stone steps to the sub-basement stacks to remember the “People Power” movement that eventually swept the Marcoses from power and into exile. All this tortuous archival exercise is prelude to this: If the Filipino (though now by way of Costa Rica) war metal deviants of Deiphago had had anything to say about it at the time, Imelda’s shoes would’ve been whittled to gleaming points, lashed to poles and fashioned into makeshift pikes and maces and all manner of medieval weaponry, and the entire archipelago just might have been obliterated in the heaving rush of hot death churned out by these three maniacs. People power, indeed.
More to the point, Satan Alpha Omega is a fucking great record. When you first listen to it, your ears will likely complain, but you will just have to remind them that you are the boss, and they are inanimate dangling flesh-flaps. Once subdued by your authority, and further cowed by the assault of this album’s 37 seething minutes, your ears will kindly perk up and say, “Gee, that was swell, can we hear some more of those soothing sounds?” Which is to say, one gets the sense that Deiphago’s primary mission here is to revel in the fact that they’ve forced the listener to eventually come to terms with this unhinged squall.
Deiphago’s brand of uncompromising noise takes its cues from both the black-tinted reckless thrash of early Sodom and the chaotic melodicism of Slayer’s soloing, with plenty of nods to the sloppy-by-necessity conviction of the early Brazilian scene (Sarcófago and Sepultura, in particular). All those gnarly proto-thrash/death/black whatever influences are then chopped, gargled, and spewed out in the bestial war metal template of Blasphemy, Revenge, Black Witchery, Proclamation, et al. Deiphago lives in a musical world where time isn’t so much kept as suggested, and guitar riffs bloom bizarrely and unpredictably, spreading in the fecund shadows like a clutch of mushrooms in a moss-blanketed forest.
In attempting to describe Satan Alpha Omega, all words start to feel like euphemisms, or at least like laughable understatements; common adjectives like ‘chaotic’, ‘frantic’, ‘hellish’ simply don’t cut it here. This is a dense, buzzing blast furnace of an album, but it nonetheless improves upon its predecessor significantly; after all, to say that Filipino Antichrist was under-produced is a bit like saying the Grand Canyon is just a pretty big crack in the ground. Thus, Satan Alpha Omega retains just enough clarity to convince the careful listener that beneath all the calls to increasingly vainglorious feats of sacrilegious violence, there is being carried out an ongoing argument between savagery and subtlety. Make no mistake, savagery wins out again and again, but the point is that there’s more happening here than non-riffs pounded and distorted into oblivion. Case in point: there is, honest to goodness, a weird noise rock stutter buried in some of the riffing on “Human Race Absolute End,” and the massively destructive title track jackhammers out some almost (no shit!) Dillinger-ish staccato full-band action amidst its gloriously-committed chorus vocals (i.e., “Sataaaaaaan, Alphaaaaaaa, Omegaaaaaaa!!!”). The middle of “Heretic Oath” takes a little “Raining Blood” tom-breather before diving back into riffmageddon, while “Satanmongers” is particularly ruthless, with the vocalist’s inhalations between lines practically becoming an instrument unto themselves.
Ultimately, the seven-minute dark ambient piece that closes the album probably would have worked better as a mid-album breather. It’s actually quite well done, and maintains a suitably dark atmosphere, but after the listener’s been battered for thirty straight minutes, it’s just as easy to shut it off as it is to wade through the drone und clang. Nevertheless, Satan Alpha Omega is a remarkably violent album, even if its violence is intelligently-meted. If blistering war thrash with delirious vocals and fantastic drunken wasp soloing sounds like your idea of a good time, then come on over and we’ll have a party. If we listen closely, we’ll hear a bunch of extra voices and spectral whispers lurking around the edges of the verses to “Demonic Munitions” and the opening of the title track. I wonder if they’re the ghosts of Imelda’s shoes, wafting up from behind to claim their steel stiletto vengeance. Bullet belts and ballet flats, from the Philippines to Costa Rica to your grateful, pulverized flesh-flaps. What fun.
Register to post comments.