“Avant-garde” might not be the first adjective that springs to most people’s minds in thinking about Deiphago. “Bestial”, “violent”, and “Satanic” might come first. But this band’s music completely fits the definition of “avant-garde”, which applies to works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox, characterized by nontraditional aesthetic innovation and a dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm.
All of those qualities apply to Deiphago’s music, but never more so than in the case of their new album I, The Devil. Of course, the music is also bestial, violent, and Satanic. And of all the songs on this remarkable new album, perhaps none of them captures all these sensations as powerfully as the title track, which we present today in advance of the record’s April 30 release by Hells Headbangers.
“I, The Devil” is an incredibly fast, dense, and intricate piece of music, not the kind of thing that can be easily digested or fully appreciated on a single listen. It’s probably not possible to fully track everything that’s happening even after multiple listens — but it’s so fascinating (and technically jaw-dropping) that multiple listens prove rewarding nevertheless.
It’s also relentlessly intense and explosively ferocious — breathtakingly so — a stunning vortex of chaos and crisis, exultation and evisceration. Rather than easily identifiable riffs, the guitars are used to generate an immense, mind-abrading cacophony of roaring, squalling, shrieking extravagance — dissonant, swarming, angular, slashing, unbounded by convention, and seemingly bent on shattering the restraints of convention on how we usually think and live.
The bass pummels ruthlessly and the drumming batters maniacally, but both of them continually shift and contort in unexpected and destabilizing ways (simply focusing on what the rhythm section is doing is one of the things that makes repeat listens so rewarding). One of the solos is slithering and serpentine, and another is raucously mind-melting. The vocals, a scorching array of shrieks and howls in the midst of this maelstrom, make you believe it when the song’s title is proclaimed from that throat.
The music, as they say, is definitely not for the faint of heart — but it definitely is for those who relish the spectacle of a band pushing themselves to define and then surmount new challenges, and who welcome being challenged themselves as listeners. In its origins, black and death metal were unorthodox. Deiphago make it so again.
A lot of other talented people had a hand in this album. I, The Devil was produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Audiosiege). It features cover art by the great Joe Petago.
As noted, Hells Headbangers will release the album on Walpurgisnacht (April 30) — on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats. Pre-order links are below, along with dates from the band’s forthcoming 30th anniversary European tour, streams of two previously released tracks (“11:4:6” and “Deus, Alienus (God of the Other Side)“), and of course our own premiere of the album’s title track.
30th Anniversary European Tour
17/05/2019 STEELFEST, Finland
20/05/2019 Gineve, Switzerland
21/05/2019 Paris, France
24/05/2019 Mlada Boleslav
25/05/2019 Gliwice, Poland
29/05/2019 Berlin, Germany
30/05/2019 Hamburg, Germany
31/05/2019 Oberhausen, Germany
01/06/2019 Deinze, Belgium
05/06/2019 Lyon, France
06/06/2019 Firenze, Italy
07/06/2019 Parma, Italy
08/06/2019 THRONE FEST, Belgium