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Mayhem
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive
January 2017
Released: 2016, Self Released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

The tabloid melodrama that’s surrounded Mayhem since the original release of DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS has become the stuff of legend. Suicide, scene rivalry, murder and Satanism kept issues of Kerrang! flying off the shelves and almost single handedly created the mythos for the entire black metal scene. But fact of the matter is that all of the peripheral noise overshadows the fact that DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS is a near flawless album, never mind it being a quintessential piece of black metal’s historical canon.



Tracks from the album have long anchored Mayhem shows over the years, but for their headlining set last December at Sweden’s Black Christmass Festival, the album was performed in its entirety for the first time. To celebrate the album’s legacy and as a precursor to an upcoming North American jaunt in which the album will again get the full treatment, Mayhem have self-released DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS ALIVE, a live recording of their now infamous Black Christmass set. So is it worth getting worked up over a live album that’s basically a re-recording of a twenty-some year old studio album that has inspired legions of fans?



Hell yes it is.



DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS ALIVE is 100% faithful to its studio counterpart, but matches the haunting, cold emptiness of the original with the fervent intensity of the band’s live prowess that’s been perfected since their 1995 resurrection. The opening riff on “Funeral Fog” sounds every bit as frightening and unhinged as it did coming out of Euronymous’ guitar two decades ago, but amplified on Satanic steroids. Other classics like “Freezing Moon” and “Life Eternal” will get your black heart beating deep within the chest, recalling metal memories of the dark past that may have been buried by time and dust. But dammit if the closing title track doesn’t make you sleep with the lights on. For my money, it’s still the scariest song every recorded, and this live performance only solidifies that sentiment. Hearing that unmistakable melody with Attila’s inhuman Latin proclamations sends me back to my bedroom as an impressionable teen hearing it for the first time, wondering if the Devil was coming to take me home.



My only gripe with DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS ALIVE is that the in-between song moments have been edited out for continuity, which artificially starts and stops songs across the performance. Having seen their performance of the album at Maryland Deathfest this year (the highlight of the weekend, BTW), there’s an opening invocation and transitional ambient moments that, while intended to fill a void/tune guitars, definitely added to the atmosphere of the proceedings. Had this been a complete capture of the show, I don’t think those moments of downtime would’ve taken anything away from the overall momentum. Maybe if there’s a DVD release in the future???



Other than that, DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS ALIVE is a fitting tribute to an exceptional album that’s often obscured by Mayhem’s own mythos. If you’re already a fervent devotee of the original, you’ll be more than pleased with the live treatment. And if you’re a casual fan of the genre and are mildly curious as to the band/album’s appeal – this is the perfect gateway drug, as the mix/production/general presentation sounds fuller and less archaic than its studio companion. If you have the opportunity to catch Mayhem on this upcoming tour – go. Even if you’re not a fan of black metal, it’s an unparalleled concert experience. One can imagine that Euronymous is looking up from below, grinning approvingly.
Track Listing

1. Funeral Fog
2. Freezing Moon
3. Cursed in Eternity
4. Pagan Fears
5. Life Eternal
6. From the Dark Past
7. Buried by Time and Dust
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

Lineup

Attila Csihar – Vocals
Necrobutcher – Bass
Hellhammer – Drums
Teloch – Guitars
Ghul - Guitars


Next review: » Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive
Previous review: » Mayan - Quarterpast

Mayhem
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive
January 2017
Released: 2016, Self-released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

For the past year or so, Norway’s infamous Mayhem have been paying homage to their landmark debut De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, which has come to personify “true Norwegian black metal” - and all the good, the bad and the ugly goes with it - since its release 20-some years ago, and is arguably the most influential album of its ilk, again for better or worse.



The band have undertaken a series of special shows - including an appearance at last year’s Maryland Deathfest that I missed because I was in Alaska at the time – during which they have played the album in full. And as they ready for an entire North American tour’s worth of these shows early in the new year, with Black Anvil and Inquisition in tow, Mayhem are offering a taste of what everyone is in for – at least from a musical perspective, one never knows what kind of visual presentation there might be - with the self-released De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive. Fortunately, I’ll get another chance to find out for myself, as there is a Feb. 15 date in D.C.



Recorded a year ago in Norrköping, Sweden, during the first-ever performance of the entire album, Alive does the somewhat crude, but nevertheless groundbreaking, source material justice and then some. Presented with little – indeed no - fanfare here, it is utterly ferocious on the strength of drummer Hellhammer's relentless battery and always malevolent thanks to the eerie groaning/croaking/rasping vocals of Attila.



They are the two members of the current Mayhem who played on the fraught original album – to recap, initial vocalist Dead committed suicide as the songs were being written and guitarist Euronymous was murdered by session bassist Count Grishnackh when the recording was all but done - and remain the driving forces of a lineup that is as strong now as it’s ever been, judging by the performance here. The buzz-sawing twin-guitar attack of Teloch and Ghul brings a new-found power and heft to De Mysteriis , especially during the squealing lead breaks, and the steady thrum of original bassist Necrobutcher anchors the often cyclonic rhythms.



The band charge right in with “Funeral Fog” without so much as a “Good evening, Norrköping!” and keep up the attack all the way through the monumental title track that closes thing out. Most of the tracks here clock in anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds shorter than the original versions, such is Hellhammer’s frenetic pace. “From The Dark Past” and “Buried By Time And Dust” are especially vicious.



The production on Alive is full and crisp, yet sufficiently dirty, perfectly capturing the energy and zeal of the band’s performance, something that can’t really be said about Mayhem’s frankly terrible sounding previous live efforts. And what it may lack in the “necro” rawness of the original, or even more recent works like 2007’s murky Ordo Ad Chao, which marked Attila’s return to the band, it makes up for in pure heaviness.



It will be interesting to see if Mayhem can keep up this level of intensity after having performed De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas at one show after another on this upcoming tour, as opposed to just a one-off or special occasion gig. Again, I should find out for sure Feb. 15. Regardless, the band could not have picked a more perfect performance to capture on Alive, which makes an already classis album – and one that managed to stand the test of time - resonate anew.
Track Listing

1. Funeral Fog
2. Freezing Moon
3. Cursed In Eternity
4. Pagan Fears
5. Life Eternal
6. From The Dark Past
7. Buried By Time And Dust
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

Lineup

Attila - vocals
Teloch - guitars
Ghul - guitars
Necrobutcher - bass
Hellhammer - drums


Next review: » Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare
Previous review: » Mayan - Quarterpast





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