Heavy Metal Album Weekly Review, Week 6


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Hello there, fellow headbangers! This week's album is from a band that is (and were back then) the main band behind the black metal scene in europe (and the rest of the world, really), with it's history surrounded by controversy. Here's the true Mayhem! (Thanks Pumpthrust for asking for this review!)

Band: Mayhem
Album: Esoteric Warfare
Year of release: 2014
Sub-genre: black metal
Rating: 3,5/5

Who are they? Mayhem is one of the seminal bands that started the Second Wave of black metal in Norway. Back then, in 1984, the band was formed by guitarist Euronymous, bassist Necrobutcher and drummer Manhein. With influences from Bathory, Venon, Celtic Frost, Motörhead and Slayer, they quickly gained attention because of their agressive yet grim style of playing and doing live performances. Not long after, they were joined by vocalist Per "Dead" Ohlin who commited suicide in 1991, marking the first controversy about the band as rumours say that Euronymous took a picture of Dead's body (and kept some of his skull pieces) before calling the authorities. Euronymous himself would be murdered not long after, having his life taken by [Burzum's] Varg "Count Grishnak" Vikernes. After many changes in their line-up, Mayhem would settle up with Hellhammer on drums, Necrobutcher on bass guitar, Teloch and Charles Hedger (formely from Cradle of Filth) on guitars and Attila Csihar on vocals.

Album Review: Why only 3,5 out of 5, you may be asking yourself. Well, it's purely because Mayhem "played safe" on most of the songs on this album, making a "standard" black metal, with fast tremolo riffing, blast beats and shrieked vocals. Of course you can't say that the songs are bad, as we are talking about some very talented musicians, maybe the best on their sub-genre. It's just it would "weird" after the more experimental (and successfuly done) previous album "Ordo ad Chao". Well, analyzing with an open mind, all the rawness of black metal is there, pretty well shown on the tracks "Watcher", "Psywar" (with some passages that remember Gorgoroth's style), "Trinity" and "Pandaemon". Classical raw, grim, black metal on these first tracks, until "Milab" comes, with some experimental, almost progressive sounding riffs. Personally, I didn't like this one, neither the following track "VI Sec.". On this last one, Attila's vocals range from grunts to the piercing shrieked vocals (much like Dani Filth). The album's last songs "Throne of Time", "Corpse of Care", "Post Human" and "Aion Suntelia" follow this mix between raw black metal with progressive parts ending the album pretty well. In my opinion, it's an album you'll need to listen like two or three times to really catch it's essence, and know what Mayhem was trying to achieve.

Where to buy: here