Sunday, May 23, 2010

Black Metal Classics:
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas - Mayhem

I've put up two Black Metal Classics so far, but both have been late period (21st c.) and American. Not very representative: Absu's Tara (2001) and WITTR's Two Hunters (#7, 2007). So, let's go back to the glory days: early-'90s Norway.

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
This is probably the most iconic true Norwegian Black Metal album, at least culturally. Founding singer Dead had already committed suicide, so Attila Csihar began his extensive career of singing with positively everyone. Hellhammer would also become a serial collaborator as a core BM scene drummer. Guitarist and leader Euronymous would be killed by fill-in bassist Count Grishnakh (Varg Vikernes/Burzum) between recording and release. He was convicted of murder and also of some church-burnings, but found not guilty specifically for the Fantoft Stave Church burning.

"Funeral Fog" from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

Ummm... How do I put this? I had to listen to this album quite a few times before its charms won me over. Mayhem weren't the first, they're not the best, no-one is a virtuoso much. Except for maybe Attila, who lays down so many templates for future BM vocalists later to mine (one apiece). But of course I came to it very very late - so you kind of have to put yourself back into 1994. Then again, one of the great things about the earliness is its clear ties to regular or other metal. More killer riffs and awesome grooves than you'd get once Black Metal orthodoxy had set in.

"Freezing Moon" from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

As coldly and darkly atmospheric as you'd expect in an extreme metal song named "Freezing Moon." An all-time classic on account of that accomplishment... solo!! Then there's "Cursed in Eternity."

"Pagan Fears" from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

Not the classic it should be considered, probably because it's the least distinctly Black Metal in parts. This is your entry point for the uninitiated. "Life Eternal" has some pretty rockin' parts as well.

"From the Dark Past" from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

Brutal. Especially Hellhammer's drumming - as well as on the next track, the shorter and relatively fast "Buried by Time and Dust."

"De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

Attila's pseudo-Gregorian vocals in Latin are priceless!! "De Grandae Vus Antiquus Mulum Tristis, Arcanas Mysteria Scriptum" indeed. By the secret rites of Lord Satan!!

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