Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Century Black
Black Metal
8 songs (46:01)
Release year: 1994
Mayhem
Reviewed by Aaron

Alright, now, trivia question! What is the name of the lead guitarist that plays on this album? Anyone who took more then an infinitesimal fraction of a nanosecond to formulate the answer to that question: You probably clicked here by accident. Go and read some Annihilator Classic or a nice, safe, In Flames review. While you’re raging against the injustice of Friden’s turn to nu-metal, the others who managed the trivia question will be reading about the works of an artist who probably would have considered In Flames shit metal when they started.

Admittedly, he was a closed-minded asshole, but that’s not really the point. I don’t care about how much of an asshole Euronymous was, because of what he wrote and because of the fact that Varg Vikernes brutally murdered him.

Okay, I’m not going to get into the past and origins of Mayhem, because if I do, it’ll take hours upon hours to finish this. Anyone interested in the past of Mayhem/the rise of the black metal underground in Norway should obtain a copy of Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. Excellent book.

On to the fawning and doting! Essentially, think of this as a compilation, the ultimate sum of every band that drew from the original Deathcrush demo and their Live in Leipzig/Dawn of the Black Hearts releases (Note: That covers just about every early 90’s black metal band, from Emperor to Darkthrone, from Abruptum to Thorns.) to make their own take on this almost ludicrously evil and hideously nihilistic style that Mayhem had developed. The funny thing is that Varg Vikernes (also known as Count Grishnackh) is playing bass alongside Euronymous on this release. Weird how things go, huh?

Anyway, the production is actually quite good. Hellhammer’s perfect drumming is loud, clear, and has an audible punch. Euronymous’s shredding guitar lines and 1/10 light-speed tremolo riffing (remember, he practically invented this, and certainly made it popular if he didn’t invent it) are a shrieking wall of noisy cacophony that tears in and out of high and low positions in the mix, spinning and whirling like gorillas on crack. This shows what Mayhem and the metal scene lost when Euronymous died: A kick-ass guitarist. Vikernes’s bass lines are buried deep within the production because of Euronymous’s mother. Read Lords of Chaos if you want the full story.

The songs are incredible. Featuring oddly poetic lyrics penned by none other then the infamous Dead, they either race through leopard-quick tempos, crush you with slow and powerful walls of doomish riffing, or both. Luckily, it never gets boring throughout the forty-minute playing time, thanks in part to the creative mid-passages and also in part to Hellhammer, who will make you jealous if you are a drummer yourself.

Freezing Moon is also, quite possibly, the best black metal song ever. Unfortunately, it suffers from the overdramatic and under talented vocal treatment of Attila “Fingernails” Csihar. I gave him that nickname. Guess what it means. Come on. Guess. Anyway, the song starts off with one amazing riff that builds slowly while Hellhammer coats the whole song in complex fill after complex fill after inhuman fill. It goes on, morbidly beautiful and desperately brooding, lavish with paranoia and desperation… paints one fuckuva sonic template. The only problem with the brilliance of Freezing Moon is that it overshadows the rest of the tracks. Whenever I listen to this album, I skip to Freezing Moon. Eventually, I go back to Funeral Fog or let it drift onward… but I always come back to Freezing Moon because of how good it is. In the end, I really only remember the other tracks to the point at which I can confirm they exist without staring at the back cover, wondering why this album isn’t called Freezing Moon and wondering why there seem to be other songs on it when it’s obvious there’s only one. That song influenced a legion of black metallers.

Anyway, despite that, this is some of the best ever black metal to be recorded. However, for those who wish to know how awesome the band was with Dead in it, pick up Live in Leipzig to go along with this.

Fucking CLASSIC.

Killing Songs :
Freezing Moon, Funeral Fog, Buried by Time and Dust, Cursed in Eternity
Aaron quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Mayhem that we have reviewed:
Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Mayhem - Wolf's Lair Abyss reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao reviewed by Goat and quoted 96 / 100
Mayhem - Deathcrush reviewed by Cody and quoted CLASSIC
Mayhem - Chimera reviewed by Jeff and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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