De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
MAYHEM

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MAYHEM - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas cover
3.92 | 35 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1994

Filed under Black Metal

Tracklist

1. Funeral Fog (5:47)
2. Freezing Moon (6:23)
3. Cursed in Eternity (5:10)
4. Pagan Fears (6:20)
5. Life Eternal (6:57)
6. From the Dark Past (5:26)
7. Buried by Time and Dust (3:34)
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (6:21)

Total Time: 46:01

Line-up/Musicians

- Attila Csihar / Vocals
- Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth) / Guitar
- Count Grishnack (Varg Vikernes)/ Bass
- Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg) / Drums
- Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin) / Lyrics

About this release

Released on Deathlike Silence Productions.

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman for the updates

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MAYHEM DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
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.
adg211288
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

NorseGangsta
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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