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A Harrowing Return... - 100%

Hail_Ov_Gunfire, February 14th, 2008

I bought Ordo Ad Chao in the summer of 2007 in Australia, and I would listen to it on the ships when we left ports, so I had alot of time to thoroughly listen to it.

As the months have passed I have read a fair share of negative reviews written in offense towards Mayhem, as if to sound the trumpets of a terrible injustice to the "fans" who scream for thier 13 dollars back. I just had to write a review. So to the naysayers, I will be targeting your thoughts and I will be praising this album. Dont continue if you hated this album.

Lets start off with the production quality. This seems to be the biggest complaint coming from these so called "fans". I'm sorry, if the production quality on a FUCKING MAYHEM album is more of concern than the quality of the music, then you should probably take off that Deathcrush t-shirt and give it to a real follower of the band.

Yes, the production is a full 180-degree turn from the pristine crisp sound of past efforts like Chimera and Grand Declaration Of War. Its a safe bet to say it was done deliberately. Its very low-grade, very murky and cavernous. In all honestly I think it fits very well. This is not supposed to be a happy, headbanger metal album. Its Mayhem returning to the older sound, and quite frankly we should be grateful. Not ripping on ex-vocalist Maniac, but lets be honest....Chimera had a total of 3 incredible tracks and the rest was as bland as whatever Satyricon is doing nowadays...yeah I said it.

Vocals. Amazing. Simply moving. To a true Mayhem fan, Attila's return almost brings tears to your eyes. His performance is nothing short of astonishing. I wouldnt have expected anything less than black metal's champion shaman, and his range is all over the fucking place. His signatures are all present, with some fresh sounds as well such as *spoiler* his hideous sobbing and crying on "Key To The Storms" and the 'so-gutteral-most-gore bands-give-up' low roars on "Anti". The lyrics are as chaotic as the album's title entails, ranging from suicide, chaos, Annunaki, and even a kickass concept of the world devouring itself in an end-all humanity flood in "Wall Of Water".

Blasphemer's guitar work, contrary to the bullshit being said by trend-whore "fans", is absolutely brilliant. Snaking, listener-unfriendly anti-melodies and subterranean riffs interact to create a brutal, ugly and simply disgusting atmosphere that I find only comparable to "committing suicide and dying in a sewer line". Some of Blasphemer's most brutal guitar work is showcased on this album, ranging from chaotic Aura Noir-esque spaz outs to slow, dirge/doom/drone sub-textures that churn like nausea in the pit of your stomach. Bass lines were a little different this time around, with Necrobutcher adding some 'flange' lines in the mix, that make the atmosphere more punctuated. I think the centerpiece of the album is the track "Illuminate Eliminate". It has everything in it.

The drums. Hellhammer pulls off some of his finest and fastest drumming in the band. Blast beats are insanely precise and this time around the double bass rolls have exceeded all efforts. I can only sum up his kit handywork in one word. Insane. Seriously, just listen.

Ordo Ad Chao in my opinion is Mayhem's finest record ever. Every Mayhem fan has his/her own preference on what constitutes their "best" album, but for me this is Mayhem's most mature and challenging album ever. Not only a harrowing return to form, but a hate-filled statement to the underground that the godfathers of the scene are still the champions. This album is not an easy listen, and not intended to be ready to digest. It takes a clear head, an open mind, and a TRUE appreciation of the band and its art to understand this album. This is the challenge that Mayhem have thrown out to the fanbase to filter out the trend whores from the die-hards, a rallying nightmare that only the strong are allowed to participate in. This is what makes Mayhem stand out still after 20+ years of terrorizing the genre of black metal.

All Hail Mayhem!