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Mayhem is a band that brings out so many emotions from black metal fans; love, hatred and disgust. We haven't even gotten into the content of the music yet. While I am in no doubt a big big fan of the Dead-Euronymous era and believe that it will never bettered, I do like Maniac as a vocalist as well. He's no Dead, but no one will ever match his look, style and intensity. I know some reading this may just cringe at that but I always found his voice to be original and his lyrics were some of the most thought provoking and yet anti-christian as well. He also definitely had stage presence. Here he delivers some of his most memorable vocal work.
The main difference in this live album from say 'Live In Leipzig' is that its more technical and a better recording. The band is tight and play their parts to a tee. Hellhammer is as usual excellent, Necrobutcher has improved immensely as a bassist and Blasphemer is a very good guitarist, he plays the Euronymous era songs almost as if it were his own, he's very adept and plays note for note every track pre-1997. This was recorded in 2000 during the 'Grand Declaration Of War' tour. I didn't care much for GDOW since it was too experimental and just wasn't "black" enough for my taste. But I must say that every single song from that album really shines in concert, no overdubbing, electronics, just straight up black metal.
The band does the Dead-Euronymous era songs very well and all is done with amazing technicality. But I actually found the GDOW tracks on this live set to be the most surprising, 'In The Lies Where Upon You Lay' is an all out assault from the band with Maniac doing a clean vocal "preach" to the audience with his philosophical statement and comes his usual growl. I always thought that was Maniac's best ability in which he could use clean and raspy vocals in the songs. He does it again in a 'View From Nihil' and 'A Time To Die'. I know many here dislike 'Crystalized Pain In Deconstruction' but this track is really a memorable one for me, that whole almost rap-like part in the beginning is really fucking cool and "gasp" original on their part.
I know bm elitists will cry blasphemy but I don't mind when a bm band branches out and tries something a little different while sticking to their roots in the process. ( I absolutely applaud Mayhem for actually trying to go against the grain. Somehow these exact sdame songs didn't work for me on GDOW but when heard on this it just sounds more powerful, direct and unified. I guess the problem with GDOW was the production because had it been done under a 'live' setting that album would have been better received. Too much help from a studio can ruin an album. With 'Live In Marseille' there's no such problem here. It's a funny thing with Mayhem. I find that their studio albums never captured or matched the ferocity of their live gigs and to me that's an essential part of their excellence. I find myself listening more to this album, 'Mediolanum Capta Est', 'Live In Leipzig' and 'Dawn Of The Black Hearts' more than their studio efforts. For Mayhem fans, this is definitely worth getting and since there seems to be only 500 copies I get one soon. It's better than you may want to believe.