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More Exhumations from the Past - 80%

RRMustaineRR, October 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, 12" vinyl, Peaceville Records (Limited edition)

So here we have another unearthed treasure from the classic Mayhem line up of Dead, Euronymous, Necrobutcher, and Hellhammer. Naturally, when this LP came out for pre-order, those sly devils at Peaceville had our money and here we are. Most die hard Mayhem/black metal fans know this was one of only 5 shows Mayhem managed to play live during this tour. We have Jessheim, Sarpsborg, Zeitz, Leipzig, and Izmir. All these shows were taped and (with the exception of Izmir, Turkey,) have surfaced historically in one form or another.

For a disclaimer, after hearing this release finally on LP, I am going to constantly compare and contrast it to Live in Leipzig. Now for the music itself, we have the normal Mayhem setlist sans "Pure Fucking Armageddon" but Zeitz holds the slightly more rare track "Pagan Fears" which turns up on Live in Leipzig. At this particular gig, you can actually hear a good amount of reverb from the room on Dead's voice, especially during the Freezing Moon and Buried by Time and Dust intros he did. The sound on this recording is above average but there are times when the band is going full force during songs, such as Funeral Fog or Pagan Fears, poor Dead gets drowned out in the mix. There is also considerably less crunch on Euronymous' guitar this time around compared to Leipzig. During some songs, you'll hear Necrobutcher's punchy fuzz bass and second guess whether or not Euronymous is playing because the mix is more ambient than probably how the Leipzig show was mic'd/mixed. There's not much else to say here about the performance, as any self respecting fan will know what to expect. It's necro as all Hell itself.

Notwithstanding my opinions on the sound, this is still a mandatory listen. You get all four of the De Mysteriis Live tracks the band had constructed at this time plus the Deathcrush/Carnage crushers. You really can't go wrong. You'll hear the between-song banter from the crowd, Dead and Necro's intros, and the historical document that was the Zeitz concert. I will easily grade this above the Jessheim and Sarpsborg shows for the setlist and sound. I will say the atmosphere is quite eerie when this one plays.

The booklet Live in Zeitz provides is perhaps the main reason besides the music itself to get this release. In addition to the old photos at the Mayhem house, pictures from the Zeitz concert, and pictures of younger Pelle, you also get 7 interviews ranging from small to large from Metalion, Hellhammer, Necrobutcher, Samoth, Faust, Anders Ohlin (Pelle's brother), and Arcan Ogutverici (the man behind booking Mayhem for the Izmir show in Turkey). The foreward on how they tracked this guy down is as hilarious as it is educational. As you read, you'll find by luck they tracked him down on in the cache of a closed down Voivod forum. If that isn't necro-obscure I don't know what is. It also explains what happened at the Izmir show and why no soundboard tape has been found as of present day. The interview with Anders Ohlin also provides incredible insight on his legendary older brother and their early brushes with heavy/black metal.

Bottom line, Live in Zeitz holds its own as a lasting monument to the True Mayhem legacy. However, I have to stress if you're looking for the best sound quality of the recorded outputs with Dead, Live in Leipzig is without question the best live release. However, those who have been relying on the Dawn of the Black Hearts (Sarpsborg) and Jessheim bootlegs, this wipes the floor with 'em. With all the mysticism and terribly short outputs this lineup had back in the day, I give this one the stamp of approval. It is unfortunate this is not "Leipzig quality/clarity" but the strengths outweigh the weaknesses with Live in Zeitz.

If I could recommend the best releases with Dead/Euro/Hellhammer/Necrobutcher lineup, Live in Zeitz takes 3rd place in the line of [Projections of Stained Mind Studio Tracks], [Live in Leipzig], [Live in Zeitz], [Out From the Dark Rehearsal].