Mayhem Grand Declaration of War

A common theme you hear in critiquing music is the need to separate the art from the artist for the most objective analysis possible.  This all sounds good on paper, but we are all human, and the flaws that imbues in us make our understanding of all concepts skewed by perspective.  The metal path is one of social outcast and self-discovery through a grasp of the larger whole, and as such we are left with the purest essence of form and function, but still we allow our humanness to cloud our judgments inevitably.  We won’t give the time of day to a record made by some stretch-lobed lumbersexual even if he might have accidentally produced the next necessary evolution in metal, and we like it that way.  We have been proven right long enough by lousy records and “evolutions” of our favorite artists but although we may have erected a necessary safeguard for quality control, we need to analyze if it is constructed of statements and proofs of inherent positive musical traits or our own hubris instead.
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Mayhem – Wolf’s Lair Abyss (1997)

Wolf’s Lair Abyss was the first new proposition by the remaining Mayhem line up after De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and all the personal drama and loss that it signified.  Needless to say, the pressure upon the band on the musical level- especially of music as a dark art, as Euronymous would have it- was quite high.  Expectations after an Immortal album of far and wide reach were not at all encouraging.  The remainder of the band had to find a way in which they could work from the solid basis of the past towards a unique development that did not come off as an insult or a betrayal to all that had been accomplished.  The solution found by the band here was almost perfect, but it ultimately was only a transition whose eventual development would show if the full potential for growth would be adeptly exploited.  Still, there is much to be said about the unique identity of this brief but memorable foray into chaos.

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Mayhem Fall 2017 European Tour

Mayhem are touring Europe this fall. I presume they will be playing De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety. Mike Alexander’s friend Jon Browning submitted a review of the Washington, DC date earlier this year. From Jon’s review, Euro headbangers can expect triggers from Hellhammer and sloppy lead guitar performances from the stand-ins.

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Mayhem Tour, Washington, DC Stop Review


Article contributed to Death Metal Underground by Mike Alexander’s friend who is a Bill & Ted type of guy, you know.

I saw Mayhem play De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, the only album of theirs that actually counts of course, last week at the Howard Theater in Washington, DC so I wanted to tell my fellow Death Metal Underground readers what’s happening inside the ANUS of this tour. That was surely an ironic choice of venue the band made there. Playing a black theater in a historically black city was strange for a band whose drummer, Hellhammer, is a badass drummer who hits like a fucking beast like a German in a tank trying to conquer Africa back from his historic racial enemies, the Polish and the Africans and Hellhammer is Greek or something so how can these losers with nothing better to do claim he’s even racist you know? Also practicing under their swastika banners and shit like that they shouldve brought out to steam roll all the drunk hipsters instead of comic book covers to hide behind onstage. I had to check this shit out to see if some shit would go down. I wanted to see if the gig would rule or if any crazy shit from hipsters, communists, or any other idiot life forms that could come out of a UFO or something would be real you know and prevent Mayhem from pounding my face in you know.

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Mayhem De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas North American Tour

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Mayhem are touring North America with a setlist composed of their De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album in its entirely. Mayhem are playing larger venues in many cities (probably due to the publicity from Necrobutcher’s recent book) so this might be a good opportunity for headbangers to see them play some of their only material worth caring out. Maybe Mayhem will throw in a few tracks from Deathcrush as an encore? Maybe Hellhammer won’t bring out that transparent MIDI kit?

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Mayhem to perform De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas live

Mayhem recently announced that they would be headlining Temples 2016 in Bristol, England. Perhaps more interesting is that this is going to be the first time that any lineup of the band has performed De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety. Since the current lineup of Mayhem relies on Attila Csihar for its vocals and contains two other musicians from the band’s early ’90s lineups (Necrobutcher and Hellhammer), odds are this is going to sound pretty close to the studio version of DMDS. Regardless of your preferences for Mayhem vocalists (I very much value Attila’s contributions to the album) and recordings, bootlegs, whatever, the band’s performance at Temples is probably a better novelty than the band’s recent studio albums.

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Mayhem – Live in Leipzig reissued for its 25th anniversary

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I guess Peaceville really doesn’t know when to quit with the compilations and reissues (or that at least they’re a viable way to make more money off known famous works), since they’re also rereleasing Mayhem’s Live in Leipzig. This is specifically the 25th anniversary of the concert documented, as opposed to when it was first ‘officially’ pressed and sold to a mass audience some years afterwards. The CD version of this rerelease also contains a contemporary recording of the band in Zeitz, Germany. See Peaceville’s site for more details.

Whether Live in Leipzig is at all worth your time depends, perhaps, on how you value the various ‘eras’ of Mayhem. It is likely the easiest way to experience the band’s ‘classic’ lineup, featuring both tracks that would eventually make it onto De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas as well as somewhat revamped older tracks from the band’s early, proto-death metal days. As a listener, I find the most value in the polished studio work of Mayhem’s formal debut (because I value Atilla Csihar’s contributions), but the looser intrepretations here are worth at least a few spins.

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Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare

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Black metal band reformed as nu-metal powerhouse Mayhem released their latest album Esoteric Warfare on June 6, 2014. Much like late-career albums from Triptykon and Massacra, the latest Mayhem shows that as a metal band ages the probability of it becoming Pantera or Southern Fried rock approaches one.

Although the album communicates little to no artistry or depth, it offers a strong example of how to successfully appeal to one’s commercial audience by being both digestible and using lots of hard and heavy sounds the audience recognizes as dangerous… if they came in any other form than a commercial product. Esoteric Warfare creates a blueprint for success by appropriating nu-metal’s populist simplification of the speed metal style of mono-dimensional lower-string muted riffing and sprinkling it with the pixie dust of commercial black metal aesthetics..

The band thus builds its appeal entirely from catchy central riffs which are so reduced in complexity that one is capable of comprehending them on first listen. The rest is garnish: the introductions, acoustic breaks, spoken word sections, black metal fireworks, seemingly random caesuras and even some death metal technique that randomly flares in the midst of the thudding rhythmic hook. This album belongs more to the exoteric, or easily and equally grasped at first contact, than the esoteric like older black metal, which deepened in revelation the more the listener devoted his or her consciousness to exploring it.

With the latest generation, the rock-metal hybrid that industry has always wanted rears its ugly head here. The new innovation is this tendency to break up the monotony with garnish, which allows the monotonic lower register riffs to drone on with strategic breaks to remind the listener that the entirety of an album does not necessarily need to sound indistinguishable however much the band may be seemingly trying to lead it in that direction. Complete sonic pointlessness does not dissolve, but rather mutates into a more friendly and funky exterior, thus allowing the listener an escape from a complete degradation of metal as an art form into a complete degradation of jazz as an art form. Whether that constitutes progress will be left to the view of the reader.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk2i0sS1Gmo

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Mayhem announces details of Esoteric Warfare

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Former black metal, now modern metal band Mayhem have announced further details about their upcoming album via Season of Mist. Entitled Esoteric Warfare, the track list can be viewed below:

  1. Watcher
  2. Psywar
  3. Trinity
  4. Pandaemon
  5. Mylab
  6. Six Seconds
  7. Throne of Time
  8. Corpse of Care
  9. Posthuman
  10. Aion Suntalia

The album is set to be released on May 23, with a US release date on May 27. It will be available for pre-order next Wednesday, March 26.

Additionally, the band has planned a European tour to support the album’s release, with two festival dates currently scheduled later in the year:

  • 14 May 14 Hamburg (DE) Markthalle
  • 16 May 14 Bochum (DE) Matrix
  • 17 May 14 Köln (DE) Essigfabrik
  • 18 May 14 Eindhoven (NL) Effenaar
  • 20 May 14 Bruxelles (BE) AB
  • 21 May 14 London (GB) Electric Ballroom
  • 22 May 14 Paris (FR) Le Divan du Monde
  • 23 May 14 Winterthur (CH) Gaswerk
  • 24 May 14 Milan (IT) Factory
  • 26 May 14 Bratislava (SK) Randal
  • 27 May 14 München (DE) Backstage Club
  • 28 May 14 Berlin (DE) C-Club
  • 29 May 14 Warsaw (PL) Proxima
  • 30 May 14 Plzen (CZ) Metalfest Open Air Festival
  • 31 May 14 København (DK) Pumpehuset
  • 28 Jun 14 Lausanne (CH) Les Docks (Inferno Festival)
  • 08 Aug 14 Øya (NO) Tøyenparken (Øya Festival)

The album’s first single, entitled Psywar is scheduled for release on April 26. It contains of an alternate mastering of the titular track (our review can be found here), in addition to a track entitled “From Beyond the Event Horizon”, taken from the scrapped 2012 Budapest Sessions.

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