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Weak and contrived. - 5%

TheTrueHel, July 28th, 2007

Necrobutcher: Hey guys, I think there's a reason why we isolated some of our black metal fans from our last few albums!
Blasphemer: Omgz! How?
Necrobutcher: We used death metal production! Black metal fans don't like it!!1!
Blasphemer: Onoez!
Necrobutcher: So if we like totally make the production all raw stylez, they'll think we're kvlt again! lolz!

No really, they must have had this conversation. That would be the only justification for the inane production on this album. Sure, if this was a band starting out - they couldn't actually afford production, I'd be forgiving - but c'mon, this is Mayhem. They make thousands off each album. They're not exactly struggling musicians anymore.

To be more precise of the production: this is the sort of "raw" production that makes metalheads who listen to Dimmu Borgir believe this is what "raw" black metal is. If anyone describes this production as raw in a positive and honest context - please, go shoot yourself. This is not raw. This is the raw you get when you have a thousand dollar budget, and you twiddle some shiny knobs in your studio to make it sound atmospheric. I'm afraid that does not constitute as raw.

Firstly, the song structures are boring. This is the song writing level that you would expect from a new band - or even a band made of young teenagers who want to write some fun, cheesy black metal. The riffs are uninspiring, repetitive (and not in the good drone way, either) - and the drumming is completely unimaginative. Which brings me to another point - what is with the drum production? Does having poor drum production turn you into a black metal genius? No, it doesn't. There are scattered moments throughout the album where it's just random, slow guitar and Attila doing "weird" vocal lines over the top. Look, if you think that's unique, scary, "evil" or atmospheric - you too can shoot yourself.

Vocally, it's typical Attila. I guess I can give him credit for the simple fact that he has a distinctive voice, which is commendable - but he sounds bored. They all sound bored. This is boring to listen to. The aggressive, thrashy passages that are meant to get you excited are weak. While writing this review I went through three songs, but I thought it was the same song. There is nothing memorable about anything on this CD. At all.

I can not understand why so many people have given this such a high rating. If this was the first album by an unknown band, I can guarantee you it wouldn't receive such praise. But I guess since it's the "true" Mayhem going "back to their roots" that makes it fantastic or something.

If you like deliberately under produced, contrived black metal written by people who used to be influential in some way (which could be argued, Master's Hammer obliterates this band) then you'll probably lap up this album and gloat over the fact you own some "raw" black metal. If, on the other hand, you don't care for such folly - I suggest something more groundbreaking, original and interesting.

I gave it 5 points for Attila, but his overuse of echo-ridden, "creepy" sounding vocals is just annoying. It's not unique, arty, scary or whatever else.