What can be said that has not been said? An utterly monstrous beast of an album. Unsurpassed in its pure one-dimensional deployment of chilling aural devastation. The band was led by guitar player Euronymous, [Oystein Aarseth] who took his name [apparently] from an old Hellhammer
, track ‘Eurynomous’ found on the 1983 Satanic Rites
demo. The band name is taken from the Venom
Guitarist, Oystein Aarseth can be cited as the godfather of Norwegian Black Metal
, his very name evokes the acute reality of the scenes early ascension, and his band surmounts the impressive list of bands who make up the scene, as true cult legends. The very mention
’ overshadows the very point of its existence, the music.
This statement rings true with every other Mayhem
release, being that the music has never lived up to expectations and how could it? De Mysteris Dom Sathanas
[translated as ‘Lord Cursed
's Secret Rites], contains the very embodiment of Euronymous, at a time when a whole movement was about to erupt. You can smell the smouldering remains of wooden stave churches amongst the music’s claustrophobic atmosphere.
With original Vocalist ‘Dead
’, having blown his head off, the vocal duties passed to Attilla Csihar [from Hungarian band Tormentor
], and his hellish drones are forever immortalized within the blood letting magnitude of the album.
The cover is a silhouette of the Grand Cathedral
, Nidaros-Domen, a place Varg Vikernes had hinted at blowing up.
The songs are peerless, dispelling all pretenders to a fiery end. Contrary to popular belief, Count Grishnackh does play bass on this album; his bass was not removed as is widely thought.
Snorre Ruch plays guitar on the entire "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
" album, Ruch was never credited on the original version, but he is credited in the liner notes for "The Studio Experience
" box as well as on Attila
Of" compilation. He also wrote a few riffs (intros to Cursed in Eternity
and From The Dark Past
, and possibly a few more shorter parts) and edited/partly re-wrote four of the lyrics, as they were in fragments after Dead
's death. [Info courtesy of Dan Thorbjørnsen]
Some argue that without the controversy of events outside the music, this album would be taken as a basic/standard Black Metal
workout, nothing special and doomed to obscurity. I would argue the opposite, as De Mysteriis
, just batters the air and subsequently lays barren any preconceptions of ‘the sub-standard’ to dust.
It is far cry from the bands 1987 debut ‘Deathcrush
’, a toneless adaptation of Venom
, and consisting of all the limitations of an inexperienced first release. By contrast the follow up to the virtually immaculate, De Mysteriis
, was Wolfs Lair Abyss
 and A Grand Declaration of War
 were pale comparisons, lacking personality and depth, albeit strong quality Black Metal
The release of the Ordo ad Chao
album has reasserted the bands former greatness, having captured the very wrought staleness of De Mysteriis
, and harnessing the bands most bleak sounding opus since that classic debut.