Mayhem - Wolf's Lair Abyss

Production: Classically mirror-flat and still refulgent black metal production emphasizes the melodic tendency of notes through atmosphere but fails to provide anything other than a surface to otherwise rather dryly but reasonably represented music.

Review: Making black metal to top a legacy enforces plenty of pressures, and on this album the resemblance to the illness of listening too much to random bits of data, rather than understanding a data structure based on conclusions about the context of each datum; Mayhem has put everything into this there is to be good, in terms of current black metal, but it lacks one tenth the personality of their previous more structure material, despite having much more diversity and technical intensity.

Based upon the drumming of hairy monster Hellhammer the songwriting on this album (an EP of four tracks) layers blasts inside larger beat structures but never succeeds in exceeding the method of staggering oppositional motives against each other in theatrical manipulation of aping for listener attention; the guitar, while rolling out successively inconclusive phrases of black metal canon with its own style and élan of percussion, achieves less than a voice and ends up churning through politely masked clichés in a confusion of having no soul.


1. The Vortex Void of Inhumanity (2:20)
2. I am thy labyrinth (5:26)
3. Fall of Seraphs (6:02)
4. Ancient Skin (5:28)
5. Symbols of Bloodswords (5:24)

Length: 24:44

Mayhem - Wolf's Lair Abyss: Black Metal 1997 Mayhem

Copyright © 1997 Misanthropy

Melodic simplicity, blasting rocklike maul beats, Dissection-style retro Bach rock epic turnarounds, and chaotic one-chord shred riffs all make appearances; instruments are played well but none harmonize any major thematic work in a song, leaving the listener with an impression of a "nice" black metal effort in the vein of Dark Funeral with nods to old Mayhem but letting them realize the importance of the thematic hierarchies to their art, and the absence of a chaotic unification to unite their languages condemns this EP to being a less than inspiring release.