If there’s a Svpreme Kvlt Covrt ov Trve Metal, I’ll officially lose whatever remains of my KVLT CRVD for this (spelling in accordance with THV WVRTH VCT OV 2015). Deiphago is an extreme metal band from Costa Rica that’s been terrorizing the world since 1989. Their fourth full-length is called Into the Eye of Satan and it’s being released by the excellent Hells Headbangers Records, a label I’ve given plenty of
Monopoly Canadian money to throughout the years. You damn well better believe there’s gonna be a cassette pressing too. Perhaps I’m getting too old and can’t handle the kvlt anymore? Maybe not.
Deiphago plays the primitive black-death-grind hybrid of war metal, so chaos and disorientation is the endgame. There’s the odd nod to Sarcofago in a sound quite similar to what Blasphemy and Conqueror did, which means tons of fast chromatic riffs and sections that can border on something close to noise (the genre). Ultimately it works out to be savagery for the sake of it with little that stands out or makes an impression. In theory, I like the idea of making the most violent music one can muster but in practice it comes across boring and needless. Apart from an intro that does nothing but delay the inevitable, what you hear from the outset is what you get for the whole record, as with all the chaos there is no real variety.
The one saving grace of Into the Eye of Satan is the drumming of Savnok. Throughout the record he recklessly batters his kit and links his drum lines together with plenty of agile fills to avoid sounding robotic. From an endurance standpoint it’s quite impressive, especially because it doesn’t sound like he’s getting much in the way of studio help and the “falling down a flight of stairs” drumming style has its charm, after all.
The other two members of the band don’t fare nearly as well. While Voltaire 666’s vocals fill me with a bit of optimism, all is not well. His bass is loud but does little of interest, and Sidapa’s guitars are primarily a mess of seemingly random figures played at high speeds. His leads come through loud and clear, but they’re nothing to marvel at. Essentially Trey Azagthoth noodling minus the talent and charm, they emerge from a cacophony of blasting, offer nothing of value, and promptly disappear. I’m not sure if the solo near the beginning of “Serpentine Anti-World” is even in time, but amidst wholly tepid riffs memorable solely because of how amusingly overused the pinch harmonics are, it hardly matters anyhow. While only three minutes long, “Ritual Death of the Enemy” manages to drag by, offering the listener an awful version of the early Mayhem mantra: no riffs, no direction, no purpose, no fun. Exacerbating this is an irritating lead that repeats incessantly and sounds like a combination of sloppy tapping and someone botching Dragonforce on Guitar Hero. “(6 x 6 x 6) / 3” adds a pseudo-bluesy lead into the equation when everything cuts out, and it just happens a few times throughout the song for no discernible reason. It’s poorly implemented and not even entertaining in itself.
Further torpedoing Into the Eye of Satan is Colin Marston’s production. Savnok’s drums sound fine yet unremarkable, but Sidapa’s rhythm guitars are terrible, lacking any definition and failing to even cut through the mix at times. It sounds loud and chaotic for the sake of it, hiding the drought of worthwhile material in “Bloodbath of Genocide” behind a façade of extremity except the intro, which sounds like the worst Negativa outtake imaginable. Between the blasting, the fat elastic bass tone similar to Marston’s own on Colored Sands, and the vocal carrying on, Sidapa’s guitar often gets buried. In order to determine what he’s doing, tune out the drums as much as possible, and treat your headphones like a seashell you’re trying to hear the ocean in: tilt your head, press it against your ear, and wonder why you’re doing this idiotic shit to begin with. I don’t mind bad production, and I certainly don’t want my metal to sound clean, polished, and safe, but this is just senseless. I’m aware Marston is paid to do what the band asks, but if there was ever a time to invent a metal production equivalent to Alan Smithee, this is it.
Deiphago have made a violent and chaotic record in Into the Eye of Satan, so on that front they’ve succeeded. Where they’ve failed to do is make a record with any replay value or worthwhile material whatsoever, and all the underground cred in the world won’t change that.