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Grand Decalaration of Experimentation - 89%

I_Killed_Your_Family, March 27th, 2005

The other day, I decided I would buy a cd on a whim. I was at an FYE store and I was browsing the metal section when I came across Mayhem's "Grand Declaration of War", so I scanned it and listened to the sound samples. Having never heard anything by Mayhem before, I was surprised that it was not true black metal, like I had heard that they were. It sounded rather impressive, yet at the same time ... very weird. I noticed, looking at the case, that the booklet for the cd was only one page, so I was not expecting lyrics or anything special. Even though the case was not well-done, I bought it.

Upon my first listen I seemed to focus upon the things I found to be original and impressive on the album. To name a few: the technical drumming, the fret-searing guitar work, the abrupt tempo changes, the experimentation, and the overall feel of the album. This cd sounds like nothing I have heard before. It IS black metal, but at the same time, it isn't. I took the cd out of my cd player with the impression that I had bought a cd that I would only listen to occasionally.

The next day I listened to it upon awakening. This time around, it seemed as though all of the things I found to be impressed by the last listen were overpowered by the things that are out of the ordinary, and in a sense, unnecessary. To name them: the clean vocals sound (to me) as though he is just yelling triumphantly, he doesn't seem like he knows english very well and it sounds like he is reading from a teleprompter, so it is an aquired taste. "Completion In Science of Agony" is a very long, drawn-out song that seems to go on forever, without much change at all. It gets boring over time and I think the cd would have been better without it. "A BloodSword and a Colder Sun" is the electronic/ ambient song that most people hate, I myself agree, but it is gloomy and dark, so it fits the album. Occasionally it is an alright listen, so it belongs on the cd.

After those two listens I seemed to enjoy everything about the album. The vocals grew on me, and now occasionally crave them. "Completion In Science of Agony" is easily skipped, and "A BloodSword and a Colder Sun" is a good song to listen to occasionally. The fact that the lyrics are not enclosed in the case bothered me at first, but the internet solved that problem for me. I gave the album an 89 because: the sung/spoken vocals are quite un-nerving to the un-trained, and the album gets boring on tracks 6-9.

Overall, I do recomend this album to anyone who is looking to broaden their landscape of musical taste. If you do not have an open mind, or only like true black metal, then you should probably steer clear.

Favorite songs: "A Time to Die" and "To Daimonion"