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Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas - 90%

TowardsMorthond, April 12th, 2011

"Woeful people with pale faces
Staring obsessed at the moon
Some memories will never go away
And they will forever be here"

Portraying the ungovernable raging force of darkness and the frightening reality of a grim end requires an artist's imagination perceptive of those particular features of existence in order to form powerful, representative shapes reflecting the responsive horror and dread of a human soul, and the intuitive insight capable of grasping the universal purpose of these dark realities, communicated in the ripping voice and violent terror that defines the sound of the transcendent music of cold black nothingness. Ominous legends of destructive power and evil, Mayhem destroys the commonalities of classic heavy metal in a process of sinister reassembly in shattered forms of its defining components, plunging the rearranged formation into the black abyss of human torment and fear, shredding all unfounded ideas toward pretense and glory in a shredding execution of hardcore-style abrasive motion intensified to the extreme of human speed and stamina. Lacerating riffs and fascinatingly inventive melodies in the speeding tremolo technique simultaneously assault and possess the listener in a relentless streaming determination toward the void of death... or "Life Eternal". Mesmerizing dissonant lead guitar from the deranged conceptual dreams of Euronymous screams for the beyond in anxious events of strikingly articulate expressions of desolate wandering and mournful yearning. Piercing and stunningly captivating, the guitar work on this album elevates a standard of desecrating nocturnal descent and nihilistic reduction in underground metal, in deceptively involved rhythmic combinations of inexorable, lawless, devastating riffs, dictating adversarial rhythmic constructions formed from severe, frenzied warping of traditional heavy metal and hardcore styles, and grounded in barbarian Hellhammer's coldly surgical and commandingly decisive performance of annihilative, simplistic percussive demolishing.

"Everything here is so cold
Everything here is so dark
I remember it as from a dream
In the corner of this time"

The disturbed yet penetratingly aware thoughts of Dead are given a dynamic, wildly eccentric voice by Attila Csihar, an apparent lunatic whose tonally dramatic, provoking and distinctive vocal approach is ultimate in delivery and imaginative in arrangement. Not as haunting as Dead's enigmatic screaming, Attila's voice grates and unsettles through mid-line fluctuations of expressive tone, like a ceremony to ponder varying degrees of emotional impact rendered by the given subject, entirely severe and displeasing in tone, as it should be, and curiously meditative in articulation. These vocals are mostly preposterously maniacal and intensely confrontational, but in a few select places, particularly during the closing title-track, Attila's fearlessly theatrical singing expresses a mournfully reverent quality through chant-like ceremonial laments of a distinctly imperial character, evoking a strange aura of the esoteric against the unforgiving, dark and furious music.

"A dream of another existence
You wish to die
A dream of another world
You pray for death to release the soul
One must die to find peace inside
You must get eternal"

The production enhances atmospheric presence through an organic quality of cave-like instrumental resonance, which is given reasonable clarity and distinction in the sound, with notable features being the powerful presence of thundering sound supplied to Hellhammer's drums, and the definitively 'necro' tone of the guitars, which radiates a certain merciless frigidity. This cold and lifeless guitar tone is undeniable, and when mysteriously beautifully streaming and nostalgic melodies gradually emerge and take form through this tone in vividly harsh riffs, the sublime effect of dark beauty is inescapable. Speeding currents of detonating riffs conspire with pulverizing, slow cryptic reductions to awe and terrify in aberrantly defiling songs of simplistic, familiar structure, balancing each attribute of pattern definition toward its hope-crushing antagonism. This is a direct reflection of the thematic concentration, which is an exploration of those ideas condemned by the common mindset as 'evil' and 'dark', natural forces (nocturnal coldness) and oppositional thought processes (Antichrist) that threaten the established social order. These considerations are given a decidedly abstract and obscure character of expression framed in an archaic and primitive sound-picture; secret knowledge ascertained only by the authentically investigative and passionate spirits, denying the weak need of obviousness in artistic tangibility. In the simple formations of these savage, grisly, instinctual riffs of indefinite chaos, there is a tenebrous world of discovery into which one must enter and explore to ever grasp a complete understanding of the meaning of this darkly beautiful and violently alienated music known as black metal.