While browsing through the TMO review stocks, I became aware of something shocking recently. That is to say that this review is missing and therefore it is added now, by me that is. A review of this album could easily degenerate into a small history lesson about Northern-European Black Metal, but I think I will renounce to that and just give a small summary.
The line-up looked like this: Atilla sang, Euronymous on guitar, Varg Vikernes played the bass and the keyboards and Hellhammer drummed. Well, the reason why Atilla sang on this album, is that Dead (the former vocalist of MAYHEM) had taken his own life. Euronymous is dead, too, stabbed by Varg however, the bassist (there are rumours saying that the bass track was laid down anew, I can’t surely say how it really was, but my memory tells me that in the end it was Varg’s tracks nevertheless), today – 10 years later – Hellhammer is the only one from this line-up who is still in the band which is called MAYHEM today.
Interestingly the original release date was the summer of 1992 and in an interview, Euronymous mentioned that they had put six years of work into this album. Due to Euronymous’ death and efforts of his family not to release the album because murderer and victim would be heard on the same CD.
Well, it was released, seven years after the first studio release “Deathcrush” and I am allowed to hold it in my hands today.
What is there to say about this masterpiece? Guitar and bass are grimly cold, the drumming very fast and the vocals expressive but questionable and probably something opinions strongly differ about. Why? Well, those who listen to MAYHEM, just thinks of Dead first in terms of singing (although he didn’t sing on any studio release) and I think this record would have fitted better with Dead than it does with Atilla (marginal note: Back then Dead already spoke about this album, too, but he already died at April 4th 1991). Nonetheless I have to say that Atilla does a good job, however not that typical of Black Metal as Nocturno Culto, for example, nevertheless outstanding. The gentle reader will already know the album or form his own opinion.
The music itself is just breath-taking and probably one of the prime albums of Black Metal, the atmosphere that is embodied by Black Metal has rarely been captured this good. It is especially “Funeral Fog” that appeals to me, but as it is with most of the works of this class, it is only as a whole that it works really well. Nothing is out of place here really, everything fits perfectly.
To sum it up: If he likes the vocals, the listener is confronted with fourty-five minutes of unbelievably cold, brutal and perfect Black Metal. Bow down to this masterpiece. The top rating is never appropriate if not here. (Online September 23, 2004)