Sunday, January 22, 2017

CD Review: MAYHEM De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive
Not much else can be stated about the inspiration this album has had on black metal musicians everywhere. To this day I remember first hearing it, knowing the genre had returned in a big way and it would be history in the making. I wrote in Good Times if De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was any indication of this, black metal would be around for a while. Personally it was the same revelation of discovering thrash a decade earlier, especially when death metal was starting to become paint-by-numbers (before Nile, Cryptopsy and goregrind changed that for the better). It could have been the less-is-more approach to songwriting, or that the bands were taking underground metal back to its roots, or the shroud of secrecy associated with the emerging genre, but I was instantly converted so to speak. Twenty-four years of black metal branching out into several subgenres, attracting festival attendees and being aired on MTV, and apparently there is still sufficient interest in Mayhem’s groundbreaking effort to call for a live performance of it in its entirety. One such performance was captured on record and released last December 15. Available in all forms; analog, digital and video, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive is a recreation of Mayhem’s emergence onto the scene with long time members Hellhammer (drums) and Necrobutcher (bass) with guitarists Ghul and Teloch and vocalist Attila who lent his talents to the original 1994 album. Recorded at the Black Christmass Festival in Norrkjöping, Sweden on December 18, 2015, the show perfectly captures that moment in extreme metal’s history, even surpassing it with the maturity resulting from years of working together. The material sounds as vital as it did then, giving an impression of founding member Euronymous rising from the dead. The riffs and chops that sounded a little distorted and blurry on the album are delivered with sharper clarity. The lyrics are easier to make out through Attila’s diction’ the echo in his vocals add a deeper sense of mystery to Freezing Moon, Cursed In Eternity, Life Eternal and the title cut. Those songs are even creepier from those effects. Playing them with two guitars instead of one reinforces the wall of sound we remember from those years past, and Hellhammer is in top form, showing why he’s still one of the finest drummers in black metal. The band’s profile at Bandcamp previews a video of From The Dark Past; the stage show is everything you would hope for, with dark lights illuminating the stage as the band work together with precision. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive is a must have for the fans and gives new meaning to the lyric “The past is alive…” Visit for information about Mayhem’s upcoming North American tour with Black Anvil. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Funeral Fog
2. Freezing Moon
3. Cursed in Eternity
4. Pagan Fears
5. Life Eternal
6. From the Dark Past
7. Buried by Time and Dust
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

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