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Chaotic order - 95%

DaBuddha, May 16th, 2007

I'll start this by saying that Wolf's Lair Abyss was the last album I really liked a lot from Mayhem. I thought GDoW was too technical for its own good (though it contained some good songs IMO) and that Chimera was too boring. This new one though, well, holy hell.

Finally, after 3 years the new opus from legendary black metallers Mayhem has arrived. A lot has changed since Chimera, the last full length. Maniac is gone, Attila is back and the band seems to have found new life (death?) A lot of people were very excited by the return of Attila, myself included, and were anxiously awaiting the new album. When it comes to this band you know that a lot of time will be taken to create an album that is not only worth listening to, but that will be equally disharmonic and abrasive in nature. I heard Anti when it was first made public and was actually blown away by its sonic fury. The bass drums were honestly the fastest I have ever heard anyone play. The production was also something which stood out. It was necro and very, hmmm, muddy perhaps is the right word. Now I usually don't like a muddy sound but this was just completely awful (in a good way) and really commanded my attention. I bought this album just a few days ago finally and after listening to it maybe 5 times in total (which is not enough to fully grasp this record I will admit) I feel I can write a decent review.

As I said before the production is necro and even though this word is used way too much, grim. It's a nice change of style though from the usual crystal clear crap we hear nowadays. The instruments, especially the drums are very in the background it seems, compared to the vocals. The drum sound reminds me slightly of NeChrist, in that they sound almost hollow. Guitars are distorted to the utmost level yet the sound is really awesome. The bass is there and can be heard most of the time. I'm honestly having trouble writing this because I just don't know what to say about this album. I don't feel I should write a normal review, because this album is just not normal. Very hard to describe what I'm thinking in my head when I listen to it. I think that's the ultimate beauty in this album. It's so different from what is out there now.

I'll move onto the vocals, probably the best part of the album. I loved Attila's performance on De Mysteriis and he has always been my favorite Mayhem vocalist, so it is no surprise that his work here is of the highest caliber of excellence. He uses his usual croaks and deep talking/chanting, but he also utilizes shrieks and screams occasionally as well, like on the Aborym material. He really has an incredibly wide range of styles. There is a scream which opens Deconsecrate (I think it's this one) which is so demonic and so cavernous that your blood will curl. Truly a masterful performance from one of the best in the entire genre of black metal.

The songs generally are slow, with some fast parts scattered around here and there, but the overall mood is very... doomy I'll say, with a sense of evil in the air. I get the feeling of being in a void when listening to this, like I'm in absolute nothingness. I'm sure they were going for something like this though when recording, but damnit if they didn't succeed. I think this album is going to literally take years before it can be understood and appreciated to the fullest extent. It's so complex and so mysterious that every listen will bring out something new which you didn't hear the last time. I'm not sure these songs will be adequate for the live setting, if only for the fact that none of them jump out and scream "hit." They are not catchy and listening to individual songs will do no good. You must listen to this in its entirety. Anti may be the only really catchy song on here.

There is a CD-ROM track on the metal slipcase version I bought, but apparently all it reveals to be is the entire album on one 40 minute or so track. Also revealed is a picture gallery, which is empty. Not sure what that was all about, maybe going for more mystery. Anyway, I'm sorry I couldn't write a better review, but my thoughts for this album are very hard to put down into words. Let's say this. It's creepy. Cudos to Mayhem for really setting a bar for which others probably will never reach. Truly I feel this album is ahead of its time and will take years to catch up to.