MAYHEM — De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

MAYHEM - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas cover
3.89 | 51 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 1994

Filed under Black Metal


1. Funeral Fog (5:47)
2. Freezing Moon (6:23)
3. Cursed in Eternity (5:10)
4. Pagan Fears (6:21)
5. Life Eternal (6:57)
6. From the Dark Past (5:27)
7. Buried by Time and Dust (3:34)
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (6:22)

Total Time 46:01


- Euronymous / Guitars
- Hellhammer / Drums

Guest/session musicians:
- Attila Csihar / Vocals
- Count Grishnackh / Bass

Release Staff:

- Dead / Lyrics
- Necrobutcher / Lyrics (track 3)
- Blackthorn / Lyrics (editing)

About this release

Format: CD
Label: Deathlike Silence Productions
Release date: May 24th, 1994

First press.

Format: CD
Label: Century Black
Release date: 1994

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) (1000 copies)
Label: Deathlike Silence Productions
Release date: 1994

First vinyl press.
Chapel on the artwork is purple rather than blue.

Format: CD
Label: Deathlike Silence Productions
Release date: 1995

Chapel on the artwork is purple rather than blue.

Format: Cassette
Label: Morbid Noizz Productions
Release date: 1997

Format: Cassette
Label: Mystic Production
Release date: 1997

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) picture disc
Label: Vinyl Maniacs
Release date: 2005

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) (8000 copies)
Label: Back on Black
Release date: 2006

Vinyl colours:
- purple (2000 copies)
- red (2000 copies)
- transparent purple (2000 copies)
- transparent red (2000 copies)

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) (666 copies)
Label: Ancient Darkness Productions
Release date: July 30th, 2006

Comes with two A3 posters.

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) (500 copies)
Label: Century Media Records
Release date: 2009

Vinyl colours:
- transparent blue (150 copies)
- grey marbled (350 copies)

Format: CD (1000 copies)
Label: Somber Music
Release date: 2009

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) (500 copies)
Label: Back on Black
Release date: 2010

Purple translucent with black & white splatter vinyl.
This version was reissued for Record Store Day April 20th 2013, again limited to 500 copies.

Format: 12" vinyl (33⅓ RPM) (1000 copies)
Label: Century Media Records
Release date: November 23rd, 2012

Black vinyl.
Includes a poster.
Includes download code.

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS is the first full length album by MAYHEM, a band that truly lives up to its name and is perhaps one of the strangest releases in musical history because it is arguably more famous for the historical context in which it was made than the music that it contains although the music itself is a hypnotic black metal fury depicting the very nature of evil and the energies of the underworld. This wasn't released until 1994 after other second wavers like Darkthrone and Immortal had already released music of this sort and at first it sounds like a typical release of the day, but the album actually began to see its creation after the release of the 1987 EP “Deathcrush” only being prevented from a much earlier release due to the circumstances following. If you listen to “Deathcrush” it is obvious that MAYHEM was a pioneer of this sound rather than a follower since most other bands didn't jump onto the black metal bandwagon until the 90s.

The unique and utterly disturbing story began shortly after after the release of “Deathcrush” in 1987. Dead was intent on writing new music that would induce people to commit suicide and released many of these tracks on the “Live In Leipzig” album. After writing the majority of the lyrics for DMDS, Dead succumbed to his disturbed instability and committed suicide himself in 1991. This left Euronymous and Hellhammer to carry on so Attila Csihar was imported from Hungary to pick up demented vocal duties while Varg Vikernes was busy on the side burning down churches in Norway. In 1993 Varg Vikernes, the bassist stabbed Euronymous, the guitarist and went to prison. Finally after all this, the album was released. So on this album we are treated to lyrics written by a dead man who called himself Dead, but this wouldn't be true “MAYHEM” if we only got a suicide. How about the murder of a the guitarist (who made necklaces out of the bits of Dead's skull and passed them out as gifts to musicians he liked to commercialize the band's image) by the bassist who was convicted of church burnings as well. The story is actually more complex than the music but really emphasizes the “MYSTERIIS” part of the title!

Musically DE MYSTERIIS is a typical second wave black metal release on the surface. It exhibits hypnotic riffing with the lo-fi wall-of-sound buzzsaw distortion replete with blastbeats, tremolo guitar playing and growly vocals. We also get some Gregorian chant type vocals at times making me think of a remote monastery that has turned to the dark side and red eyed monks growing horns and tails and sacrificing goats or whatever. The album is relentless and there are no slow tracks, no ballads, just lo-fi fury that supplicates the lord of aggression to punish the Christian world for the injustices and hypocrisies committed in its name. The image of the church on the front suggests the idea is to fuel a flurry of church burnings and create a legion of devil worshiping zombies to destroy all of creation. Whew! Intense stuff. I'm happy to say that as many times as i've heard this I have not become a zombie or had any desire to burn a church but it is a wicked album to say the least. A historical gem that isn't my first choice when I pick up a MAYHEM album to listen to but it is certainly the one that will be marked in history as a milestone in the development of the most extreme forms of metal. It is certainly one for the history books but all in all an exemplary example of mental psychosis, juvenile behavior and squandered talent and opportunities.
Although musically speaking De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is straight down the line no-nonsense no-frills black metal, I do have a sneaking appreciation of it - simply because the unique circumstances of its recording conspired to produce an album which I think is rather more interesting than the one the band would have produced left to their own devices.

I'm not referring here to the murder of Euronymous by Varg Vikernes - though the album's reputation is forever connected to that killing, it didn't affect the writing of the thing for reasons which should be obvious. No, I'm talking about the suicide of Dead, and the brave decision of Attila Csihar to step into the breach and take up the vocalist position.

Dead, as is well known, was a deeply unhappy individual with some pretty severe baggage, and the lyrics he wrote for Mayhem reflected his alienation from the living and his obsession with death and suicide. But had Dead lived to record the vocals for this album, we'd have ended up with something much like Live at Leipzig, with Dead screaming like a wounded animal about his desire for death.

Where things get interesting is when the concepts are taken from Dead and are handed to Attila, who has a much more operatic and dramatic style of vocal delivery which is much more varied than typical black metal vocalists. In his hands, the vocals turn from a strangled plea into an imperious command; whereas Dead wanted to die, on this album Attila sounds like he is ordering you, the listener, to lie down and die of fear where you sit.

Props also have to be given to Euronymous' guitar work of course, which gets pretty darn skilled at some point, as well as Varg's bass playing which is constantly lurking under the surface looking to burst out and ambush the listener, like a dark presence at the back of the mix waiting for its opportunity to upstage the lead guitar. Hm. Maybe the murder does give the album an intriguing new context after all.
I’d been just getting into black metal when I was recommended this album, and given Mayhem’s reputation of being one of the most important black metal bands, I thought that this debut full-length would be the best place to start with them. Well the fact is this album is very overrated because of one factor that is very important for me. The vocals are terrible throughout most of this album.

When opener Funeral Fog starts you hear heavy black metal riffs, played in a blur. Nothing unusual for this genre of metal there. Then, when the song slows a bit you can actually hear that the album has a lot better production that you’ll find on many black metal albums, and I thought that I was going to love the album. I was wrong. As soon as vocalist Attila starts singing I actually cringed. The man sounds ill, like he’s about to throw up or something. Most of the time he isn’t even growling, it’s more like he’s moaning because he has stomach cramps or something equally horrible. He sounds that bad. On the album’s title track he even tries to sing cleanly, but it just comes out as what sounds like a very poor chanting, that just sounds like another form of moaning in great pain. Well it’s certainly painful to my ears. The only song on this album that I can safely that he doesn’t mess up is Buried by Time and Dust, which as De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas shortest song doesn’t exactly count for as much as you may think.

What makes this album bearable despite some of the worst vocals I’ve ever heard on an album is the fact that the actual songs are very good. The riffs are good and when the occasional solo comes along it’s very well played. The lyrics are fitting to this type of metal and the actual music is pretty good and fitting to this style. It’s really is a shame about the vocals otherwise this really would be a classic album but as it is I don’t get the hype at all. I guess that it would have been better if Dead had lived long enough to record it, but sadly that couldn’t be the case. I don’t blame the rest of the band, since they didn’t ask Dead to commit suicide. What I do blame them for is the fact that they could have found someone better than Attila to sing on this album. Dead died in 1991, and this didn’t come to out until 1994. They had the time, even before Varg murdered Euronymous.

Now this may come as some surprise but I don’t actually think that Buried by Time and Dust is the best song that De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas has to offer. No, that is Freezing Moon, which while it does have it’s awful vocal moments, is possibly the best song that Mayhem have ever done. This and Buried by Time and Dust are the best of what De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas gives the listener, followed closely by Pagan Fears. Life Eternal is okay but it does have it’s moments where I want to hit the skip button. Funeral Fog would sound better vocal-less because the music is really strong. The title track is useless. Cursed in Eternity and From the Dark Past are middle of the road because of the bad vocals.

I personally don't think overall this album is worth its reputation on a musical front, but I do admit that its only really those vocals that are the weak link and as it is the album is worth a generally positive score, it just doesn't quite get up into the masterpiece or even the solid levels. No, I think this is renowned mainly for the band's infamous reputation (Dead's suicide, Euronymous's murder etc). The only thing that is classic about this album is that it is a classic example of a missed chance.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 6.8/10)
Time Signature
Freezing moon...

Genre: black metal

Having survived a suicide, a murder, imprisonment and whatnot the notorious Mayhem release one of the most important black metal releases ever, and certainly their best release ever (featuring the lyrics of Dead who had commited suicide, guitars by Euronymous who was murdered, and bass by Grishnack who was imprisoned for the murder of Euronymous).

While it can be difficult to differentiate between the tracks on this album, because of the emphasis on fast tremolo riffage and insane blastbeats, there are a lot of interesting things here. First off, there are a lot of subtleties in Hellhammer's blasting, such as wee details on the cymbals and hi-hats. Moreover, the tremolo riffage is accompanied by more defined riffs and slower sections, and you can hear the bass(!), which is quite unusual in the black metal universe. So, while it seems like a bunch of indistinguishable songs, there is actually a lot of variation going on if one listens carefully - and, at times, there are even some progressive inklings.

The vocals are, in my opinion, the weak point of this album, as they are moaned, or even mumbled, throughout the album, which ends up just being quite annoying to listen to.

But all in all, this is an important black metal release, and one which, while very extreme, could appeal not just to fans of black metal but to fans of extreme metal in general.
The Angry Scotsman
Of Lord Satan's Mysteries

A classic black Metal album, which should scare me away. I will be the first to admit, while I get it, I am not a fan of black metal. However, while this album the black metal essentials: Songs that are largely composed of tremolo picking and blast beats, repetitive and devoid of any real structure, there are some subtle differences.

The songs do have some, (some) variation. There is some actual riffing, and even some ebb and flow is present. A notable case being "Life Eternal" which has a fairly lengthy, slower section with some cool riffage and even a guitar solo! Freezing Moon is also quite slower and riffier then standard black metal.

The production, while not great, is actually not that poor and nowhere near standard black metal. You can hear some bass! (And that's after it was toned down).

Finally, the vocals. Opposed to the universal high pitched shrieking, the vocals are more of a moaning. I like them. It's different, but mainly its good. The vocals are fitting. The heavy, soul crushing music with guttural, almost non lyrical moaning just fit together so well.

Overall, a fairly straightforward black metal album. Lots of blast beats and tremolo picking. However, if you sit down and listen there is actually enough variation throughout to hold ones attention. This is obviously good, but also makes the intense parts feel even more intense. Opposed to 7 minutes of straight blast beats. Add some intriguing, (and fitting) vocals and you have a black metal album that is not that bad. This is not a great album, and I can't listen to it at any time, but it's one of the rare "traditional" or "true" black metal albums that I can listen to at all. Any fan of extreme metal should give it a try, as this album may have some appeal outside of the usual fanbase. Surprisingly decent album. Not great and will get no love outside the extreme metal community, but it is decent.

Three Stars

Members reviews

Review #1

I avoided Metal music for many years because I always thought it was just weird vocal noises, unstoppable drums and weird distorted guitar riffs, I didn't know what the different types of Metal are and the only metal artists that I used to listen to (very scarcely) were the ones that were someway related to Progressive Rock (Tool, Dream Theater, Opeth, Devin Townsend and Agalloch to name a few).

Sometimes I get tired of Progressive Rock and that's where I start to discover different kinds of Bands and musical genres, so, about a year ago I discovered a Black Metal playlist on Spotify and I listened to it merely for curiosity, now I regret for all the time I wasted: I found out a lot of excellent Black Metal recordings from the 90's but it was particularly "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas" by Mayhem the one that really captured my attention. Further than the whole suicide, murdering and burning churches crap that the members of this chaotic band were involved in, the music on this album was something absolutely different to anything that I've ever heard.

I've been listening to several (well, maybe not several but various) Black Metal bands lately and it's easy to know what the music is about: weird vocal noises, unstoppable drums and weird distorted guitar riffs, the exact same stuff that I always avoided Metal Music for is what made me get really interested in it, but after getting some info about Mayhem I can get that this was (and still is) one of the most iconic and representative bands of the whole Norwegian Black Metal scene and they were actually pioneers on the style: even when their album was released until 1994 when both Dead and Euronymous were already death, the band was extremely popular in the underwolrd of Norway since the late eighties.

Even when Mayhem is not the only Black Metal band and it is probably not the best one, the most prolific or the most popular one, its relevance and influence in the development of this particular musical style is undeniable. As I said before: this album was released after Dead and Euronymous deaths so this is not only a debut album: it is a very important historical archive that should be recognized as one of those pillar albums in the creation of a whole new style of music.

I hope to keep discovering more and more albums like this in the journey that I'm starting through the universe of Black Metal, from now on, I have a lot of research to do, but I couldn't choose a better record to start.
The definitive black metal album. Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a masterpiece that will always stand as one of the greatest albums of the genre. The album contains elements typical of any black metal record, such as blast beats, tremolo riffs, and low-fi production, but there are several unique traits that set it apart from other albums of this nature.

The bass (played by Varg Vikernes, the murderer of guitarist Euronymous) is set relatively high in the mix; his octave jumps and other additional fills add an element not found in most black metal. One of my favorite aspects in this album is the diversity and uniqueness found in Attila Csihar's vocals. His vocal performance on the album is not the stereotypical black metal shriek, but rather a combination of raspy whispering and shouting. On the concluding title track, he even provides haunting clean vocals that might be found in some sick, twisted opera. Euronymous gives an amazing performance on the album, with plenty of brutal, harsh riffs and dissonant leads. He also provides cacophonous solos that only add to the frenetic atmosphere generated by his, Varg's, and drummer Hellhammer's rhythmic work.

This is one of, if not the greatest black metal album ever created (I enjoy it even more knowing it was released only four days after I was born.) If you are a fan of black metal, or are an extreme metal fan looking for a gateway into black metal, look no further. You will not be disappointed by this album.

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