Mysterious Filipino first wave-inspired black/death metal collective Omenfilth released the grossly-underrated and vastly obscure EP, Iconoclasis of Venomous Transfiguration in 2016, and this article is meant to shed some light on this underground effort. Omenfilth are led by guitarist/vocalist Willie Desamero who is involved in underground death metal band, Pathogen, some albums of which have been released by underground DIY label Dunkelheit Produktionen. Willie is a go-getter in underground metal circles in the Philippines, and his many projects are often DIY-produced underappreciated efforts high with style and conviction.
To make note of this is his work in the ranks of Omenfilth. In Iconoclasis… the band have recorded a few original tracks topped off with a Mercyful Fate cover and live track. The EP has a short track listing, but the quality music on tap deserves more awareness and recognition.
Omenfilth takes listeners back to first wave black metal in the late eighties and early nineties. The songs are nuanced efforts comprised of melodic slower sections intermingling with blast beats and tremolo riffing/shredding. Much of the inspiration for this style has been buried beneath time and dust, with vinyl records and old cassette tapes either locked away in vaults, or vigillantly kept for the sake of reminiscing about black metal’s early inspirations. The music here is highly enjoyable. The melodies are simple; but when the band take to blast sections, the band also exude heaviness and quality instrumentation.
It is also worthy of note that the studio production utilized here lends fans an easier time to discern each instrument playing. The drums are audible; the bass doesn’t drown out the guitars or drums, and the vocals aren’t buried beneath the instruments. The riffs are easy to enjoy and the drums do more than provide a heartbeat. The fill-ins inspire some air-drumming and the vocals sometimes enunciate interesting lyrics, inspiring you to rasp along. Plus, the band don’t simply tremolo riff you to oblivion, the guitars feature melodic leads and divebomb solos that sound Trey Azagthoth-like on early Morbid Angel records.
Getting a copy of this record may prove to be difficult, especially for fans overseas. But, being abreast of the worldwide underground scene is the next best thing to being there during a live ritual, or listening to the album in the comfort of your own home. The most we can hope for is a re-release of Iconocalsis… for the benefit of fans who don’t want this style to fade away into memory. Let’s hope that a DIY label signs Omenfilth and agrees to release more of the band’s quality music.