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NEEEEEEEEECROOOOOOLUUUUUUUUST! Ahem... - 80%

Bezerko, June 30th, 2008

Note: I’m only reviewing the Mayhem side of the split, the Zyklon-B version may come at a later date.

Oh hell yes, the opening to “Necrolust”, a Mayhem classic in anybody’s books. “Necrolust/Total Warfare” is a short split release between Mayhem and Zyklon-B, one of the premier black metal bands in the world and a short-lived “supergroup” of black metallers, whose only songs were three fast-paced black metal songs and this split’s remix of one of them. At this point, I will be honest here; this reeks of cash-in. On the Mayhem side, we’re given a previously unreleased studio recording of “Necrolust” recorded sometime after the band reformed, an interesting prospect to say the least…

So if it’s a cash-in, is it any good? Well, for the most part, yes. “Necrolust,” from what I can tell, was recorded during the “Wolf’s Lair Abyss” sessions; the guitar tone is almost an exact match. The song itself strongly lends itself to the line-up of this release, with Maniac’s fast vocal delivery a highlight here. Blasphemer’s guitar playing is spot-on as is Hellhammer’s drumming, while Necrobutcher’s bass work is largely buried in the mix (strange for a band that usually seems eager to emphasise the works of its bassist). On this recording, some weird reverb (maybe “wah” as well? I can’t profess much knowledge in the realm of guitar effects unfortunately) effects are placed on the solo towards the end. Maniac’s vocals also get the reverb treatment, to very good effect, echoing nicely after he spits out those awesome four lines in five seconds verses (as he should, this is fucking NECROLUST!). Perhaps my only misgiving towards this particular version of Necrolust is that it simply isn’t as good as the versions on the “Deathcrush” EP, or live album “Mediolanum Capta Est.” “Mediolanum Capta Est” in particular emphasised everything great about this song; it’s crushingly heavy and fast as fuck. On this split however, it’s just that tiny bit too slow, and I have to say it, too clean and polished. “Necrolust” is best as a live track where the savageness and fury of both band and song can combine to turn this into the beast it is, this version lacks that fury.

On this release, Mayhem showcases a very good, yet not particularly needed rendition of one of the band’s classics. Perhaps this was simply released to show the fans how Mayhem could still kick arse in the studio, but a more likely reason is that the label wanted a cheap buck, not to mention the collectors wanting yet another Mayhem release to fawn over. Ultimately though, and this is all that really matters, Maniac goes "NEEEEEEEEECROOOOOOLUUUUUUUUST!"