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No matter what comes of Mayhem in the end or what they go on to produce in the future, they will no doubt be a band who goes down in history as one of the most contoversial bands that has ever graced this planet and this album will remain a vocal point in Black Metal's history. We all know the events leading up to the release of the debut full-length album "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" therefore there is simply no need to dwelve into those matters which occured over a decade ago once again. This album is a landmark in Black Metal history and consisted of one of the most promising line-ups that has ever existed up until this very day. Consisting of eight blasphemous tracks, this album totals at just over forty-five minutes.
First, this album has a truly unique production. It captures the sound of instruments brilliantly. The production enhances the general feel of the music, which is notoriously cold, grim and blasphemous. Songs are primitive and chaotic in sound. Repetitive riffs, blast beats and haunting screams from Attila are imperative to Mayhem, especially the vocals. Attila creates almost operatic like vocals at times to portray the grim sound Mayhem are trying to create. The riffs create an ambient backdrop to the music and enhance the cold feeling atmosphere that the production and instruments have laid out. A highly melodic and ambient piece is what is created out of this. Connotations of death, destruction and violent chaos are the obvious themes running throughout Mayhem's music, and given the past history of the band its quite fitting. Dead's lyrical guidance is obvious on this album. Lyrically it suits the music perfectly and adds to that grim and cold sense of feeling that Mayhem portray through their music. Instruments are particularly well performed, controlled and repetitive throughout to create that desired affect on the audience. Tempos range from mid-paced to a much faster pace. Music is generally simplistic, but highly affective. A highly aggressive album packed with lots of punch and chilling atmosphere. There are slight variations in riffs throughout, but hardly at all. Guitars are generally highly distorted and have a fuzzy affect. Hellhammer uses a lot of double bass throughout the album, this intensifies the music. At times this can lack in diversity, but as with a lot of Black Metal it's not meant to be diverse, but instead simplistic and true to the roots of the genre.
Hightlights include: Freezing Moon, Pagan Fears and the title track.