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The Dead Studio Tracks - 75%

Poe Ohlin, January 16th, 2012

When anyone who is a fan of Mayhem and wishes to hear the voice of Dead (in song, although there is audio on Youtube of his speaking voice) usually buys either Freezing Moon, Live in Leipzig, Dawn of the Black Hearts, Year of the Goat (Morbid), or any number of bootlegs (or the Euronymous tribute album), so for any fan to try and find or own anything with a studio track of Dead's vocals, it's a pretty hard task. However, this tape features the only two studio tracks Dead has ever recorded.

Now while I will admit Dead's Morbid days are better, he does have his moments with Mayhe where his voice is black metal perfection. This is not one of those. The quality of the recording is quite good for a studio recording in 1990. You can hear all of the instruments and vocals quite well (even if Necro fades out every now and then). It's a stretch to say that this is the best quality Mayhem recording ever as their newer releases are quite good (even if I don't like the albums themselves), so I'll go out on a limb and say these are the best recordings with Dead during his Mayhem years.

Now while the quality is very good, it doesn't mean the songs themselves are any good. Now before you all start acting like a 12 year old girl who heard somebody say Justin Beiber sucks, I don't mean the lyrics, as they are two great songs. However, just the way they sound on this recording doesn't seem like Mayhem. It's not clean or polished, but it just doesn't feel like how most Mayhem recordings (even non-bootlegs) sound. I mentioned earlier on that this isn't Dead's best performance and it truly isn't. While he does sound like his usual possessed self and sets a very dark atmosphere, it just doesn't hold up to his other Mayhem recordings. I don't know if this is because it's not live or a rehearsal, but it doesn't sound like how Dead usually sounds. Other than Dead's vocals, the other parts of the songs fit very well in their sound. Hellhammer is quite loud on this recording and this helps in the thundering beats of the songs, especially on Carnage. Necro is his usual self, although you can actually hear him on this recording. Euronymous is also very good sounding. The solo in Freezing Moon is better then the one later on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and the riffs on Carnage just sound awesome.

All in all, this recording of the only two studio tracks with Dead aren't the best. The quality is very good for this era of the band and gives a glimpse of what De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas could have sounded like (yes, I know almost everybody says this), and while the instruments sound good, Dead's vocals just seem so off. If you can get hold of these studio recordings (doesn't have to be on this recording, as they are on others), give yourself a pat on the back. It's the best era of Mayhem and this recording shows it, except for the vocals.