Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Mayhem & Rotten Sound
2.10.2001 Tavasti Club, Helsinki, Finland

By Luxi L and Arto L

The Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem have always been known for quite a controversial, frightening and above all shocking reputation for gigs and of course for the non band activities during their career. Mayhem visited Finland for the first time a couple of years back, just concentrating on the outrageous power of the musical delivery, but unfortunately didn't invest anything on the visual side of which the band is definitely known for. Mayhem's second visit to Finland had been arranged this time a little bit better in terms of obscure and grotesque stage shows.

But before the Norwegian black metal legends were allowed to get on the stage to declare the war of deathcrush, the domestic crust grind core outfit Rotten Sound opened the night by unleashing a real grinding terrorizing set and definitely pulverized the audience. The three red covered guys with the incredible "machine gun" drummer went through their set with total extreme aggression. It is obvious Rotten Sound's lyrics don't just focus on topics of mutilating corpses and mandatory necrophiliac things like several bands of that genre usually tend to deal with. Instead, the Rotten guys are also keen on giving a shit and criticizing especially their old jobs as the singer announced "this track "Corporate Fuck" is dedicated to my ex-job Nokia". Rotten Sound is really a welcome choice to the Finnish current metal map at the moment dominated and excessively saturated by several ridiculous looking and crap sounding teenage black metal groups and b-class Stratovarius clones.

As already mentioned earlier about Mayhem's gig having been arranged a little bit better compared to the first one and to be honest it truly was more shocking. When getting into the venue from the bar I was about to drop my camera and drink when seeing the stage. The whole goddamn stage had got an entire new look, there were two executed pig heads placed on the top of 1.5, meter high iron rods and a cow's skull had been put on the top of 2.5 meter high stand which was again decorated with long barbed wires and another separate executed pig head had been placed on the stage nearby the audience. Damn, the stage with these huge above all fresh looking pig heads looked very bizarre and insane.

Rotten Sound


The lights were turned down and the expected well-known intro off from the semi-legendary Deathrcrush mini album started roaring from the monitors. Unfortunately, the general sound quality was really awful since the beginning of the gig. It could be seen from Blasphemer's reactions toward the mixer, showing marks something gotta be done to improve the sound. Even though they tried to improve the sound, they failed. But it could be bet the audience mostly came down to witness their stage show and of course the black metal legends themselves in action more than listening to the stuff. But as for the band's and above all Maniac's stage manner and appearance. Whereas other guys in question - Blasphemer and Necrobutcher basically concentrated on the playing and doing the background vocals, instead the frontman, of course having his face painted entire white, performed the normal self mutilation scene, being typical of Maniac's stage show on the Mayhem gigs, by slitting his wrist and arms with a huge knife and screwing barbed wires around his arms ripping and slitting the skin of the arm resulting in blood running all around his arms and hands throughout the whole gig. When the blood had spilt more than enough around he just cold-bloodedly cleaned the bleeding wounds by pouring the water over them. Judging by a number of scars in his arms only proves his earlier slitting and other self mutilation experiences. Of course one of those pig heads got a small dismembering treatment by Maniac's huge knife too. The audience followed the course of events of the stage with a huge interest for obvious reasons.

Although the most recent Mayhem album "Grand Declaration Of War" was found and said to be a more wimped out crappy alternative output by several true hard core black metallers, but having the newer stuff played and mixed on an equal footing with the old classic material worked very well and fit to the live situation suitably and definitely sounded very blackish after all. I for one gotta admit digging more the older stuff especially "Necrolust" and "Freezing Moon." They are two classic tunes from Dead's era that sounded great live and also Mayhem are essentially forced to do plenty of tunes from the first mini album ala Chainsaw GutsFuck, ignoring the great "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" from which only a couple of tunes were played (for instance From The Dark Past) and the gig was concluded by Pure Fucking Armageddon from their early demo days.

Seeing Mayhem is definitely a shocking experience for people not familiar with their image and music. But Mayhem is Mayhem and they need to maintain the reputation and image of an extreme metal band since the band was founded to carry out the true philosophy of the most nihilistic black metal approach and they have succeeded in doing that.


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