MAYHEM - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas LP
"De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" inarguably is an opus magnum of Mayhem. It was released in 1994, after black metal had conquered the Norwegian media for well-known reasons, but the vast part of the "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" material had been circling in the black metal underground since the late 80s in a form of demos, rehearsals, live recordings, so it's fair to call the album a one of the most important in the fundament of black metal.
The band started to work on the material of "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" in the late 80s, after the vocalist and ideologist Per Yngve Ohlin, known as Dead, had joined in. The majority of the material was written by the guitarist and leader of the band, Euronymous. Some part was written by Snorre Ruch from Thorns (initially Stigma Diabolicum) or under his influence. For example, a one of the riffs of "From the Dark Past" was originally written for "Into the Promised Land" by Stigma Diabolicum, before it moved to Thorns and finally to Mayhem.
The material of the album is produced well, what is a bit out of the black metal definition, but luckily there're no signs of overproduction. In terms of songwriting "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" is obviously a black metal blueprint. Compositions are majorly based on classic black metal tremolo riffing. The music is most often dynamic, but there's some diversity, changing of tempo and themes. The drums are technical and powerful. Well, Hellhammer is a respected drummer for the reason.
Attila's vocals are very charismatic. They are specific and aren't similar either to Dead's roaring or to traditional black metal screaming, like in Darkthrone, for example, but Attila's style not only fit "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas", but make the music of it better. The vocal performance isn't even extreme, it's a sort of harsh throat singing, which sounds just enough sinister for such album.
Dead wrote the majority of the lyrics, after what he justified his stage name in 1991. The lyrics is dark, often quite abstract and philosophical. The straightly Satanic lyrics can be found only on the title composition. Dead was the main ideologist of black metal, he sent Mayhem to the darker side, after what the band evolved to its classic black metal sound. The solid part of the lyrics is Dead's thoughts about afterlife and it was a quite expected thing retrospectively from the person, who had been planning to commit a suicide.
The atmosphere of "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" is dark, with a funeral touch. Actually, it's possible not to describe anything here. The lyrics tells enough. "Everything here is so cold, everything here is so dark...", "Diabolic shapes float by...", "Darkness is growing, eternity opens, the cemetery lights up again as in ancient times..." - the images of "Freezing Moon", the most cult composition of the work, will appear in front of listeners' eyes.
That's how "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" sounds. It's pretty clear, why it was so influential even in the process of making. It's also clear, why it was being anticipated so much in the process of recording. It should be clear, why the album eventually became even more important, after it had been finally released. -HviteGudon
On Back On Black records. Comes in gatefold cover sleeve.
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