MAYHEM — Daemon (review)

MAYHEM — Daemon album cover Album · 2019 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
There are few metal bands which force me to jump my self-imposed lead time when I am sent a new album and push it to the top of the queue, but I was there when Mayhem played New Zealand the first time in their history, and they ripped the country a new one. It is more than five years since their last studio album, ‘Esoteric Warfare’, and it is indeed strange to think that this is only their sixth album. But given their debut ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’ is one of the most important black metal albums of all time they always have a lot to live up to. The line-up these days is Necrobutcher (bass), Hellhammer (drums), Attila (vocals), Teloch (guitars) and Ghul (guitars), and while only Hellhammer was the only full member at the time of the debut, both Necrobutcher and Attila were involved and all five of these guys were on the last album together so they have been touring and playing for quite some time.

It shows on this, as this is unrepentant black metal with no frills, atmospheric weirdness or ambient trickery. Here are five guys intent on painting the walls with your blood and offering a sacrifice to Satan. This album reeks of evil, it is full of minor chords and dischords, deliberately unsettling and pushing the genre to show who the real masters are these days. When Mayhem are in this sort of mood there really is no-one who can live with them. They have always been challenging what is acceptable since the days of Dead and Euronymous, while the actions of Varg Vikernes also did much to put an air of mystery around the band (I highly recommend ‘Lords of Chaos’ as the definitive account of those days of the early BM scene, the stave church burnings and murders). Musically Necrobutcher, Hellhammer and Attila have refused to rest on their reputation and have continued to push themselves and their music, and ‘Daemon’ is yet another example of that. While it isn’t a follow-up to the last album, neither is it a sequel to that debut, which must have been a danger/option given they have been playing all of it live in concert over the last few years. It is Mayhem doing what they have always done, gone into a studio and coming out with gentle melodious ditties. Or not.

Mayhem are back guys and girls, with walls of sounds, riffing guitars, a rhythm section underpinning everything, and a pervasive nastiness which infects everything it touches. I love it.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
24 days ago
I love this too. Mayhem are masters of classic black metal although the debut isn't as great as the later stuff
adg211288 wrote:
24 days ago
I've never been that sold on Mayhem which is kinda weird for such a big black metal fan as I am. May give this one a go sometime though.
Nightfly wrote:
24 days ago
I'm loving this album.

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