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Maybe not "True", but definitely "The New" Mayhem. - 88%

LordBelketraya, April 19th, 2007

Mayhem is the first ever black metal band I got into back in the mid 90's. Mainly due to the stories I heard about them. I will always have a special place for the Dead-Euronymous era and I know nothing will ever out do their material. But I still liked some of Maniac era and now the Attila era. I didn't like his performance on 'De Mysteriis' except for the songs that I didn't hear Dead sing himself (Life Eternal, Cursed In Eternity and De Mysteriis). I generally don't like to give negative reviews of my favorite bands but when I eard this album I was pretty surprised. I didn't think Attila could please me as a singer but here he makes his material and he sounds good. His performance here is far better than on De Mysteriis in my opinion.

One of the first few things you'll notice when hearing this is the tune of the guitars and the atmosphere. It's noticeably darker and more "necro" sounding than before. I would even say that it's better than 'Chimera' as a whole. Attila really sounds comfortable with the band and really sounds fucking demented. His voice is not frightening like Varg's loud screams but he just sounds mentally unstable and schizophrenic. At times he'll growl, scream and even yell some "operatic" latin verses out loud. He's like 3 people rolled into one and all 3 personalities are trying to get out at the same time. Blasphemer's guitar sound and riffs are some of his best and less "technical" sounding, they're more straight up "necro" style riffing which is what I like best anyway. I think Hellhammer kind of holds back a bit here and doesn't show off like he did on the newe Dimmu album which is fine with me. Mayhem kind of drifted for a while there in trying to show off their technical prowess and strayed from the "true" black metal sound. As for Necrobutcher, he doesn't do anything remarkable but he never did in my mind anyway. He's a solid bassist and rumbles away with the rhythm as he does best so no surprise there.

The album starts off with an ambient like intro (A Wise Birthdgiver) and then hits us with 'Wall Of Water' and the guitar and drums go along nicely before Attila gets into his crazy mode and the song is a good beginning to the album, I'd even say that his voice resembles that of Horidus from Demoncy. The next track 'Great Work Of Ages' has a similar pattern to the prior track with the low guitar tone and repetitve drums, Attila once again whispers some incoherent babble and then yells some operatic stuff and then growls some other things. This track is a perfect example of "schizophrenic" side of Attila where it seems like 3 different people are doing the vocals. Illuminate Eliminate is almost a 10 minute track and perhaps the most weird one on the whole album and that's saying something. It's hard for me to describe this track but it's definitely the slowest one here. You just have to listen to it yourself. They save perhaps their most known track 'Anti' for last and it's on par with the rest of the stuff on here, all in all it's a very consistent release and perhaps the most unified and focused they've sounded in many many years.

Like Marduk, Mayhem needed a shakeup at the frontman position since they were both starting to get a bit stale. So looking at all the Norwegian bands of the early 90's era it's kind of shocking to think that Mayhem (Gorgoroth also get the nod) have stayed closest to the black metal sound today. Darkthrone kind of sound like punkish black metal, Satyricon sound like black 'n' roll, Burzum is on hold for obvious reasons, Immortal and Emperor are doing comeback tours but before they split up they were mere shadows of their early days. I suppose Mayhem are a band that will always have a chip on their shoulders and always have something to prove to the public since no one ever gives them a fair shake for continuing without Dead and Euronymous. After hearing this I for one am glad they did.