Mayhem performing classic album “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” in its entirety
In 1994, the debut album of MAYHEM was released, marking a paradigm shift in the Black
Metal genre. This was the culmination of years of progression, which sadly was never witnessed
by key members of the band.
MAYHEM was formed in 1984 in Oslo, Norway by Euronymous (guitar), Necrobutcher (bass)
and Manheim (drums). The band was pioneer in the growing extreme metal scene, heavily
inspired by bands like VENOM, BATHORY and HELLHAMMER. Starting out playing mostly
covers, the band eventually started composing their own material and started gaining notoriety
outside of their native borders.
Following their 1987 EP “Deathcrush”, released on their own label Posercorpse Music (later
Deathlike Silence Productions), drummer Manheim was replaced by Hellhammer, and a new
singer was recruited in the form of Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin, formerly of Swedish cult band
MORBID). This took the band to a whole new level, both musically and conceptually and paved
the way to what was to become the absolute gold standard for Black Metal.
Tragically, Dead committed suicide in 1991, in the house that he shared with other band
members. Rather than going straight to the police, Euronymous went to the store and bought a
disposable camera to take pictures of the scene. This, along with other growing extremist views
of the guitarist, made bass player Necrobutcher depart from the band.
Although somewhat disrupted by the passing of their singer, work on their debut album
persisted. Dead had left behind the bulk of the lyrical content for the album and a lot of the music
had already been composed and was being refined. Guitar player Blackthorn (known from
THORNS) joined ranks which gave yet another dimension to the music, and Attila Csihar of
Hungarian band TORMENTOR was recruited on vocals. The sole member of BURZUM Count
Grishnackh, whose debut album had been released on Euronymous’ label Deathlike Silence
Productions, stepped in as bass player.
The band entered the legendary Grieghallen Studio in early 1993, to record what was to become
“De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, slotted for release on Deathlike Silence Productions later that
year. Plans were cut short though, following the murder of Euronymous. Arrested and
subsequently charged with the murder was none other than bass player Grishnackh, with guitarist
Blackthorn being charged with murder by complicity. Grishnackh has claimed that the motive
was a dispute over money, but also an alleged conspiracy by Euronymous to have him killed.
The album was eventually released in May 1994 and made a huge impact in the Black Metal
scene. It is universally viewed as one of the best and most important albums in what is known as
the “second wave of Black Metal”, which abstained completely from some of the humorous
elements of former peers. While seemingly almost simplistic in artwork and execution, the
album holds a depth of complexity in composition that seems almost inhuman. The drum work is
some of the finest to ever have been recorded, and Attila Csihar’s chilling and unique vocal style
add a dimension that no other band has ever managed to achieve.
With the death of the main composer and driving force of the group, MAYHEM was briefly
disbanded, but later reformed in 1995 with Necrobutcher returning on bass, Blasphemer (AURA
NOIR) on guitar, and previous vocalist Maniac, and cementing them as a very actively touring
constellation. Two albums were released with this lineup, taking things in a more Avant Garde
In 2004, Maniac left the band and Attila Csihar returned, and the band’s fourth album in was
released in 2007. The year after, Blasphemer quit, and following a number of lineup changes the
band finally found a new guitar player in Teloch (NIDINGR). The band released its fifth studio
album in 2014.
In 2015, old plans of performing “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” in its entirety started to re-
emerge. With the addition of Ghul on second guitar since a few years back, the live sets were
now at a stage where the band felt that it could do justice to the material, and after incorporating
more and more of the songs into their performances, they finally decided that it was time.
The first performance was in December 2015 at Black Christmass Festival in Norrköping,
Sweden. This was followed by select festival appearances in the summer of 2016 in preparation
for later tours, the first of which being an extensive tour in Latin America in October. In
December 2016 the band joined forces with Swedish WATAIN for a shorter tour in Europe, and
later an extensive tour in USA in January and February (aptly named “Purgatorium Americæ
Septentrionalis”), supported by INQUISITION (COL) and BLACK ANVIL (USA), as well as an
extensive European tour in March and April (“Purgatorium Europæ”) supported by DRAGGED
INTO SUNLIGHT (GB) and various other carefully selected bands.
After a summer of festivals, the band is now going on the road again, starting out with three
shows in Japan in September, an extensive tour in Europe, “Purgatorium Europæ – Pars
Duorum”, in October 2017 (again together with DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT and other select
acts), and “Purgatorium Americæ Septentrionalis – Pars Duorum” in North America, November
2017 together with IMMOLATION and BLACK ANVIL.
Backing up these shows is also the release of a live DVD (also on vinyl and CD) of the Black
Christmass Festival performance. This was officially released on December 13, 2016 in limited
edition and re-pressed March 2017.