Thursday 29 May 2014

Mayhem - Psywar (Vinyl Single) (Review)

Album Type : (Vinyl Single)
Date Released : 25/4/2014
Label : Season of Mist

Psywar Vinyl Single, track listing :

1). Psywar
2). From Beyond The Event Horizon (Non – Album Track)

Bio :

It has been seven long years since MAYHEM released their fourth and last full-length "Ordo ad Chao". Founded as early as in 1984 in Oslo, Norway by the late and legendary frontman Øystein Aarseth aka Euronymous, bassist Jørn "Necrobutcher" Stubberud, and Kjetil "Manheim" Haraldsson on drums, the band took its name from the VENOM song "Mayhem with Mercy". Continuing and renewing the Black Metal style heralded by the English trio, MAYHEM soon became the instigators of the so called second wave and were at the heart of every controversy surrounding that genre.

The suicide of misanthropic frontman Per Yngve "Dead" Ohlin. The murder of Euronymous by guest bass player "Count Grishnakh" alias the notorious Varg Vikernes. Church burnings, drugs and prison sentences, MAYHEM were always at the centre of the storm. Yet not even death could stop the Norwegians, who released one musical milestone after the other. The incredible rawness of the "Deathcrush" EP (1987) was followed by the still iconic and genre defining "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" (1994), which featured devilish drummer Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg, who had joined in 1988. The vocalist on this album was the Hungarian Attila Csihar of TORMENTOR fame, who returned later in 2004 to take over from his meantime heir, the enigmatic original singer Sven-Erik "Maniac" Kristiansen.

The latter was featured on the "Wolf's Lair Abyss" EP (1997), which was written mostly by highly talented guitarist Rune "Blasphemer" Eriksen, who scored a massive success with the highly controversial "Grand Declaration Of War" (2000). Those were followed by the more classic "Chimera" (2004) and a masterpiece of utter darkness called "Ordo Ad Chao" (2007) with Attila singing again, which inspired many bands to follow in its tracks. MAYHEM had always witnessed many line-up changes due to the circumstances described above. Therefore even the loss of Blasphemer, who decided to focus on his other band AVA INFERI in 2008, did not stop the band. Activities mainly revolved around live shows, until the right balance was found again with the recruitment of Morten "Teloch" Iversen.

The guitarist had already made a name for himself with NIDINGR, which is highly regarded amongst black metal enthusiasts yet remained mostly an underground phenomenon. Now his first compositional work with MAYHEM is unleashed and demonstrates how perfectly Teloch has captured the essence and spirit of the Norwegian legend by linking the band back to its roots, while at the same time taking a step forward into the spearhead position of the genre instead of dwelling in nostalgia. The A-side, "Psywar" comes with a different mastering than the album version. The B-side is a rare track taken from the much rumoured Budapest Recording Sessions, which the band decided to scratch. Tremble world, MAYHEM are back with a vengeance

The Band :

Attila Csihar | Vocals
Teloch | Guitars
Necrobutcher | Bass
Hellhammer | Drums

Review :

Mayhem, a controversial and very well known presence in the black metal scene, return. Attila is back on vocals (Maniac has long since left), with the rhythm section of Hellhammer on drums with Necrobutcher on bass present.  Blasphemer is long gone from the band, and Euronymous really couldn't be on here either. So, Charles Hedger and Teloch now make up the axe attack of the band. I haven't heard anything from the band since "Chimera" (now longer ago than I would like to think about) so was very interested to hear this taster prior to the new album later this year.

Psywar is fast and furious- old school black metal in production and approach. Hellhammer remains one of the best black metal drummers out there and the effect of the track is as nasty and necro as I wanted it to be. Slow moving melodies picked out fast on the guitar remain the order of the day and the song has a spooky vibe to it, totally in keeping with their earlier work.

From Beyond The Event Horizon rounds out the single with a more progressive offering- slow to start and then builds up effectively towards an all out assault.

If you have an interest in Mayhem then get hold of this- if you are a full time fan, then you will want it, if you just dabble with black metal then learn from the greats and stick this on your turntable. Music to mutilate a severed pig's head to, for sure.

Words by : Richard Maw

You can get it here