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Meet the face of Dead - 90%

Stenkth, August 6th, 2015

Studio Tracks is the only release of Mayhem (or should I say, The True Mayhem because of its historical lineup: Dead, Euronymous, Necrobutcher and Hellhammer. A lineup that would never be present again at a studio to record anything) that has Dead on vocals; this is the only release Mayhem has with Dead where the quality of music was recorded in studio and for that reason its better than a demo, a bootleg or a rehearsal; even when these two songs could be simple demos, the quality they have fits perfectly well with the atmosphere and with black metal genre overall: they are dark, mysterious, they create heavy and strange surroundings, like being locked in a weird place at night without escape. Both songs are sinister and, in my opinion, this is more than just black metal or old school (first wave) black metal; Sarcófago's INRI, Vulcano's Bloody Vengeance or Necrodeath's Into the Macabre are considered black/death/thrash metal releases, and in these two songs I find darkness that, although it's not as extreme like the aggressive evilness found in those albums I said before, it is a more sinister darkness.

Its all about the atmosphere these two songs create, Carnage sounds like if they had someone locked and they were about to torture him and after that they were about to do a kind of invocation; and, with Freezing Moon, we have the best version that could be found of this song, neither the version appearing in De Mysteriis dom Sathanas, nor the ones in Leipzig or Dawn of the Black Hearts are as interesting as this version is. Dead sounds just like if he was really dead, even when his vocals are not the harshest or the most shrieky in the whole black metal genre (although there is people who consider him the best black metal vocalist ever), they do sound like if Dead was sick or had an infection inside his body that gave him a strange kind of pain.

After vocals, what sounds better is the drums, which aren't noisy and sound well and they get along with vocals, guitars and bass doesn't sound as prominent as vocals or drums do, and this could be because of the production of the songs, nevertheless, it's not a bad thing since all of this creates a heavy, cold and dark atmosphere.

I consider this release a somewhat kind of black/death metal because guitars in the last 25 seconds of Freezing Moon sound a bit "rotten" (in a death metal way); same for Carnage, in the last 40 seconds of the song, it sounds a bit to death metal too, it could be used on a death metal song and it would sound interesting.