One of the best parts of being an Overdrive reviewer is getting to discover new bands I’d probably never run across otherwise. Omenfilth is one such discovery. They’re old-school- very old-school – black metal from the Philippines. Their new album “Hymns of Diabolical Treachery” is like a walk down memory lane, if memory lane was painted with blood and corpses, with the fires of slaughter still burning in the distance… Anyway. As I was saying, it’s a fun throwback to the” days of Xeroxed zines and basement record labels pumping out cassettes, though “Hymns is actually available on cassette in case your old tape player is still kicking around somewhere.
Fittingly, opening track Shadows of an Unholy War is incredibly reminiscent of black metal classics, such as early Rotting Christ and Venom. The piercing shrieks and high-raspy vocals are definitely straight out of the 80s. Omenfilth have a great sound going here. It’s raw and evil, yet surprisingly groovy and melodic. This album may be dark, but it’s also a ton of fun to listen to. The mix is generally pretty good, although some of the guitar solos could definitely stand to be turned up a little.
Nihil Blood continues on in the same vein. There are definite 80s thrash vibes mixed in here, and it’s a welcome addition. All of the tracks on Hymns are pretty fast-paced, with frequent tempo changes and transitions to keep things interesting. It works, too – the first four tracks on this EP absolutely fly by, especially because Omenfilth have wisely kept each of these songs around the five-minute mark.
Demogorgon is probably my favorite track on this EP. The main riff is incredibly catchy, so expect to hum it for days. Under the Scythe of the Infidel is a few notches eerier and darker. It makes a great closeout for this part of the album. “Hymns” has some fantastic tracks, but I wish there were more on the album in this vein. It’s great to leave the listener wanting more, but it really feels like these guys are only getting started.
The last track Black Ritual of Demonic Possession is completely unlike anything else on the EP. Apparently, on the cassette it’s the B-side, which makes sense since it’s a huge stylistic shift from the other tracks. On my digital copy it comes right after the other tracks, and it’ll definitely give you a bit of a surprise if you’re not prepared for the shift. Unlike the classic black metal bangers we’ve had before, this is a near half-hour long ambient piece. This track takes its’ time, with long harsh drones and slow, almost tribal-sounding percussion punctuated by the odd scream and snarl. It’s impressively eerie and haunting. You might not mosh to this, but if you’re looking for a soundtrack for some kind of creepy goat sacrifice, Omenfilth have you covered. As jarring as this song is after the rest of the EP, it’s enjoyable once you sit back and stop waiting for the traditional metal to return.
In conclusion, Hymns of Diabolical Treachery is four tracks of fun and one track of diabolical atmospheric madness. It may be a little whiplash-y when you put it all together, but each track is so well executed it’s hard to really complain. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a goat…
GET YOUR HANDS ON OMENFILTH’S “HYMNS OF DIABOLICAL TREACHERY” HERE.