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As much as I respect bands trying to stretch out and try something different due to being artists and all, something just ought not to be tried. Like this extensive experiment in electronica meets black metal, for example. I am not one of these closed-minded black metal geeks who thinks Mayhem ought not to have continued after Euronymous' death or for that matter that Dead was the better vocalist (he wasn't--all hail Csihar Attilla!), but I like to think that know a forced effort when I hear one. And this CD does not flow naturally at all. It feels more like a collection of isolated moments instead of songs, and that seriously affects its momentum. Just when you think it's getting a good riff going, it jumps to a totally unrelated part and then another, and goes on to totally lose my interest. It was interesting at first, but after a few listens it lost me.
On the bright side, Maniac shows himself to be quite the vocal chameleon on this CD, going from BM 101 screeching to chilling whispers to a pseudo-Southern preacher delivery, and does it all well. Blasphemer started really stretching out as well with dissonant Voi Vod riffs and the occasional wailing solo (like on "Completion of Science in Agony", with Maniac's searing screams of "Yesss, yeeeessss, YEEESSSSSS!!!!!" accenting it nicely), unlike the typical black metal tremolo picking, which only rarely shows up here. Hellhammer, well, he's Hellhammer, but so damn triggered they may as well have used a drum machine. Strong musicianship aside, though, that is not enough to save an album if the coherence is lacking, which it is in this case. I appreciate that Mayhem tried something new and different on this album, but damnit, it just isn't the same. Sorry, guys, though "Chimera" is actually a little better...