De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive by Mayhem

Release date: December 15, 2016
Label: Self-Released

I’m pretty sure there is a verse in the bible which states that if Mayhem play their 1994 masterpiece De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in full the dead will rise and bring with them the great red horned one. Sadly, for some, it was to no avail, but if there was one ceremony or one band to end all things it would be Mayhem and their new release De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive. Recorded in Norrkoping, Sweden back in 2015, Alive is a furious live document of the1st full play through of this great album.

Mayhem have grabbed many of the headlines down the dark aeons of black metal. Murder, suicide and church burnings are just some and all part of the highly controversial and bloodied past of one of extreme metals foremost bands. One of the leading lights of the 2nd wave of black metal, Mayhem’s inception in the mid 80s was always a doomed path to tread. Through hardships, lineup changes and an abundance of satanic kerfuffle that so many have tried to pick apart and understand it’s barely worth mentioning again. In short, original vocalist Dead committed suicide and years later Varg Vikernes ended the life of founding member Euronymous. Some may ask where was the music in all this needless suffering? Thankfully the remaining members, like survivors from a slasher movie, grouped together to finally work on Mayhem’s 1st full length. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a force to be reckoned with even years after its release. Not even the stigma scars left by Dead, Euronymous and more so Varg could tarnish this bands inexorable rise to the top of the black metal ladder.

It is an album so widely praised that many of black metal’s elite have modelled themselves around it. It’s so good they should hand it out in goody bags when recruiting the next horde of metal-heads. There is an air of mystery and mastery about the original and the same can be said about this ceremonial live performance, showing Mayhem at their blistering best and proving this band still have it. With barely any fanfare, theatrical build-up or pissing about the album delves right into the frozen blasphemy of ages past, capturing the devilish splendour and cold dark evil of the original.

Raging choruses blend perfectly with blizzard-inducing blastbeats pummelled straight from Hellhammer’s core. As a master of skins and one of Mayhem’s original members he has certainly been there and bought the blood-stained t-shirt, still remaining as dominant behind the drum kit as ever. Current guitarists Teloch and Ghul have clearly studied well as their gloriously icy-cold riffage inserts fire heat into the performances, especially in classics as ‘Pagan Fears’, ‘Buried By Time and Dust’ and the timeless title track. Frontman Attila Csihar’s harsh vocals remain as chant-like and invoking of Hell as they ever have, with his unorthodox creeping spoken verses making him appear god-like up on the stage.

We’ve all heard the album so a track-by-track review is unnecessary, but with each tracks passing we find ourselves more and more immersed in this nightmare made flesh all culminating with the foreboding and destructive title track, which the band perform with complete devotion. Throughout the album the band play with utter focus as if blanking the throng of hellions around them to make each note as crystal clear as can be. Its a blissful escape into a loved classic.

For a live performance this is worthy of even an album recording, sparking new light into the old master and producing grim magic for the next generation of corpse-painters to bury themselves in.

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