Mayhem Discography Review – Part II

Back and more evil or whatever.

So, with Euronymous dead, the band would take a hiatus, though not a long one at all.  Hellhammer would decide to reform the band with original bassist Necrobutcher coming back as well as Maniac, the vocalist from the Deathcrush EP.  Taking over guitar duties was new member Blasphemer.  Fans were hesitant about the choice to reform because Euronymous was the songwriter.  Now a new person (Blasphemer) was taking over writing duties.  In a way, you could say it wasn’t Mayhem anymore, but a new band with the same name.  But who gives a fuck about that stuff, let’s talk about  the tunes.

Wolf’s Lair Abyss – 1997

After touring as the reformed Mayhem, the group released their first new EP.  Wolf’s Lair Abyss.  The record kicks off with a little soundscape-like intro which goes right into the mean blasting of “I Am Thy Labyrinth.”  Hellhammer’s drums are tight and fast, just like always.  The guitar is fast and mean like it should be.  How is Maniac’s return on vocals?  Well, he sounds totally different than how he did on Deathcrush.  Gone are his high pitch shrieks.  Instead, the first track he sounds like he is vomiting into the mic.  I prefer his low guttural vocals to the shrieks, but on this first song I’m not crazy about it.  On the following three tracks he doesn’t sound as vomitty, even throwing in a tiny bit of clean vocals.  Overall, the EP is just a solid release — short, and to the point.  Although, it should be noted that this record is setting up the next release.  The outro music of the final track is the same that starts on the next LP.

Grand Declaration of War – 2000

This little ditty caused quite some controversy among fans.  The band goes in a vastly different direction with this release.  Mixing black, progressive, and avant-garde metal together, it is quite an exciting listen.  Some hate it for the changes, while others love it.  I fall into the latter.  Opening with that closing guitar riff from Wolf’s Lair Abyss, the first track “A Grand Declaration of War”  immediately allows the listener to hear that they are in for a different sound.  Military marching, backwards talking, epic vocals fill the album.  Maniac even does some spoken word passages over chaotic drums and guitar.  Personally, I think Maniac shines on this album.  He has a wider range of styles here than on any other release.  The whole album flows together seamlessly from track to track.  One song that angered some of the metal heads was the electronic song “A Bloodsword And A Colder Sun,” appearing in the middle of that album.  In the context of this album as a piece of art, it works though.  If this was in the middle of De Myteriis Dom Sathanas, I would agree that it sucked and hurt the record.  But on GDOW all it does is add to the unique sound.  If you’re super into Mayhem’s early releases and hate change, you will be a butt-hurt little fan-boy over this one.  But if you want to hear something different, I would recommend this album, especially to people who are fans of progressive metal, not just those who like black metal.

Chimera – 2004

Whore.”  What an opener.  Chimera goes back to the straightforward black metal sound.  Not exactly the same as DMDS though.  It doesn’t have the atmosphere that is on that album.  Instead we are delivered a fast, hard, and heavy record.  The album rips from start to finish, never letting up.  Whether or not GDOW was an experiment and they intended to go back to a more basic sound or the negative reception made them do it, I do not know.  Either way this is a fun album.  There really isn’t too much to say about this one.  You’re either going to dig it for what it is or you won’t, and if you don’t, you’re a pussy.

Ordo Ad Chao – 2007

And once again we get a line up change!  Maniac’s increasing stage fright-induced alcoholism was too much, and thus, the band and him parted ways.  He went on to sober up and start doom metal band, Skitliv.  This album welcomes the return of Atilla Cshiar from DMDS.  For Ordo Ad Chao, the band combines some of the more progressive elements (not all-out like GDOW) with a lo-fi black metal sound.  “Illuminate Eleminate” is the stand-out track on this album, clocking in at nine minutes and jumping from slow and creepy to fast and heavy.  Atilla’s vocals are still over the top and theatric.  Meaning they are still awesome.  The raw sound on this album gives it a much more organic feel.  Sometimes black metal can suffer when it gets too clean sounding, which can make it lose the atmospheric quality that many, including myself, enjoy in the genre.  While Ordo Ad Chao doesn’t have the great, cold woods atmosphere that DMDS had, it has more than any other release since then.  This album is a great combination of all the sounds Mayhem has gone through, and it belongs in any fan of the bands collection.

Atilla oozing sex appeal.

Since OAC, Blasphemer has left the band, and no studio albums have been released.  However, the band continues to tour regularly and still put on entertaining shows.  I would love to hear the band try their hands at another all out progressive/experimental record like GDOW with Atilla on vocals.  I think his style would suit the sound.  So in fucking conclusion, Mayhem has some albums and I like them.

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2 Responses to “Mayhem Discography Review – Part II”

  1. Black Metal? You mean like Duran Duran?

    Or, oh, is it more depressing of a sound? Like Hall and Oates?

  2. Nicholas Says:

    I believe you are thinking of Death metal.

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