|When it comes to the definitive history of black metal, only one name has survived all the sensationalism. Through the church burnings, murder, imprisonments and myopic teenage nationalism, only Mayhem has been able to channel the circus like atmosphere, which surrounded a core of fanatical bands, into a sustained musical career, in the studio and more importantly, on stage.
In '84 in the cold darkness of sunless winters, Mayhem was born! The unholy trinity of Euronymous (guitar/vox), Manheim (drums) and Necrobutcher (bass/vox) perfected their black art away from prying eyes of metal scrutiny. In '86, after a single demo, the modestly entitled "Pure Fucking Armageddon", the band enlisted Maniac as a full time vocalist. His debut was a re-working of the demo material, christened "Deathcrush".
What should have been a triumphant time, directly after that first recording as a quartet, turned into a dark chapter, not only for the band, but for the burgeoning underground scene as well. A series of events from which many have never completely recovered. Following the release, Manheim and Maniac left the band, to be replaced by Dead on vocals and the band's current drum deity, Hellhammer. While that line-up could only muster a pair of studio compilations, Dead does appear on "Live in Leipzig", regarded by many as the first live black metal recording ever. It heralded something of a new era, as many of the fledging Norwegian artists disdained live performances, let alone an actual tour outside the homeland. After the tour Dead commits suicide.
As a twosome, Euronymous and Hellhammer recruited the infamous Count Grishnackh (Burzum) to play bass and Atilla to handle the tortured vocals on the debut, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", which was unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1993.
After the murder of Euronymous and the subsequent arrest of Count Grishnackh, the details of which remain sketchy to this day, Hellhammer decided to continue Mayhem. Both Necrobutcher and Maniac rejoin the band, and Blasphemer was chosen as the new guitarist. After several years of silence, a follow-up studio album was finally recorded. In 1997 the five tracks "Wolf Lair Abyss" hits the market. The MCD was the answer to "Deathcrush", Raw, Brutal and Evil. In 1999, "Mediolanum Capta Est", the second live CD, albeit the first with the new and current line-up, was released.
While "De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas" is seen as an album that set new standards in the world of metal, unlike many contemporaries, Mayhem weren't content to rest on their laurels. The band sought to usher in the new millennium with a bold step, "Grand Declaration Of War". The album picks up where "Wolf's Lair Abyss" left off, hence it starts with the paradoxically entitled, "Part II." The destruction continues through the fifth track. Thereafter, the recreation of Mayhem, if not the entire black metal genre, takes off, devoid of instruments, like the emptiness of a battlefield without warriors.
2001 sees the release of the third live platter entitled "Legions". ("European Legions" in Europe and "U.S. Legions" in the States) The two CDs feature slightly different track listings and both feature raw studio tracks and outtakes from the GDOW sessions. These records and a subsequent DVD (recorded in SOM's homeland of Marseille, France) is a whirlwind of psychotic energy and punishing rhythms, Mayhem live is a special sight and the DVD bears witness to that.
Now as you read this you hold a copy of the newest Mayhem outing titled "Chimera". Mayhem once again travels into the dark landscapes and emerges with the darkest record yet. Having proven themselves ahead of the times with "GDOW", "Chimera" is a total return to the blackness that made them, and Mayhem once again regains the throne of darkness that is rightfully theirs! The following times will see a full-fledged world tour and the legend will continue to grow! Be warned!!!
Source: Season Of Mist label website [http://www.s-o-m.biz/]