Released: 2014, Season Of Mist
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos
After seven years of silence, the premier extreme band of Norway, Mayhem, returns with a massive pure old-school black metal record without any modern fancy crap on it. NO one can say that Mayhem did something innovative, but every movement is an important event for the extreme metal sound. There are times that they give the impression of being indifferent to everyone and everything, but listening to the final result of each album, you cannot credit them with indifference or sloppy.
ORDO AD CHAO (2007) was an extreme sinister and obscure creature, hard to approach in any way, but bore the stamp of the band, while showing that Norwegians chose to follow a rough path than to fall back on something tested. On the new album, ESOTERIC WARFARE, I did not doubt that we would be facing a more difficult listening. Mayhem have the intelligence (and the experience) to avoid repetition and provide a disc that could be characterized more accessible, thus avoiding the comparison with the previous album.
Of course seven years are too many but some changes have been done. The 2/5 of the line-up has been changed. Charles Hedger (ex-Cradle of Filth) is the new guitarist (since 2012) and Teloch is the new drummer (since 2011) replacing Blasphemer.
The beginning of the album is relentless and excruciating, as in basically gushing compositions inserted samples and moments of calm. Songs like "Molab" characterized by memorable riff, slower speeds and general moments that stick in your mind. These crazy Norwegians managed to combine chaotic outbursts with depressive moments of 'silence'.
ESOTERIC WARFARE doesn’t follow musical structure and erratic complexity of ORDO AD CHAO. It has a different musical identity but it’s in the same page with its forerunner; pure black metal.