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Believe it or not, it's really good. - 90%

Tantalus, April 16th, 2007

Like I'm sure a lot of you reading this will be, I was initally extremely excited when I first heard that Attila was returning to the Mayhem fold, and even more so when it was leaked onto the grapevine that he'd be bringing back some of the stygian darkness of his SunnO))) guest time back with him, after the rather sterile work of the 'nu' Mayhem in the last few years. However, my excitement dissipated considerably when I heard the song 'Anti', which closes the album, which was let slip by the label as promotion. I thought it was dull, emotionless, and out of context I had no idea how it could fit into an album that would be anywhere near as good as Ordo ab Chao was rumoured to be. Puzzlement ensued.

So, here we are a few weeks later, and the new album emerges whole. And it's fucking great. Not only is it the band's darkest and most coherent work thematically and sonically since DMDS, but the album has a geniune 'evil' vibe surrounding it, created by the angular and doomy riffs - a far cry from the occasionally extremely awkward sounding ones on the last album - and of course Attila's excellent (and utterly demented) vocal performance. Although it sounds like he uses his whole body, not just his fucking throat, on some of the songs.

The album makes infrequent and subtle use of non-distorted guitars and background soundscapes, with distinct drone and avant-doom influences on a number of the songs, most notably "Wall of Water" and "Illuminate Eliminate". The wall to wall blasting that typified Mayhem's post-Euro output is all but gone, replaced with a keen understanding of dynamics that permeates the whole record, resulting in a multi-faceted and extremely exciting listening experience. Which is not only great, but really surprising. Don't let your prejudices against the Blasphemer-era lineup ruin your chance of getting a fucking classy album.