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Mayhem - Biography




When it comes to the definitive history of black metal, only one name has survived all the sensationalism. Through the church burnings, murder, imprisonments and myopic teenage nationalism, only Mayhem has been able to channel the circus like atmosphere, which surrounded a core of fanatical bands, into a sustained musical career, in the studio and more importantly, on stage.

In '84 in the cold darkness of sunless winters, Mayhem was born! The unholy trinity of Euronymous (guitar/vox), Manheim (drums) and Necrobutcher (bass/vox) perfected their black art away from prying eyes of metal scrutiny. In '86, after a single demo, the modestly entitled "Pure Fucking Armageddon", the band enlisted Maniac as a full time vocalist. His debut was a re-working of the demo material, christened "Deathcrush".

What should have been a triumphant time, directly after that first recording as a quartet, turned into a dark chapter, not only for the band, but for the burgeoning underground scene as well. A series of events from which many have never completely recovered. Following the release, Manheim and Maniac left the band, to be replaced by Dead on vocals and the band's current drum deity, Hellhammer. While that line-up could only muster a pair of studio compilations, Dead does appear on "Live in Leipzig", regarded by many as the first live black metal recording ever. It heralded something of a new era, as many of the fledging Norwegian artists disdained live performances, let alone an actual tour outside the homeland. After the tour Dead commits suicide.

As a twosome, Euronymous and Hellhammer recruited the infamous Count Grishnackh (Burzum) to play bass and Atilla to handle the tortured vocals on the debut, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", which was unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1993.

After the murder of Euronymous and the subsequent arrest of Count Grishnackh, the details of which remain sketchy to this day, Hellhammer decided to continue Mayhem. Both Necrobutcher and Maniac rejoin the band, and Blasphemer was chosen as the new guitarist. After several years of silence, a follow-up studio album was finally recorded. In 1997 the five tracks "Wolf Lair Abyss" hits the market. The MCD was the answer to "Deathcrush", Raw, Brutal and Evil. In 1999, "Mediolanum Capta Est", the second live CD, albeit the first with the new and current line-up, was released.

While "De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas" is seen as an album that set new standards in the world of metal, unlike many contemporaries, Mayhem weren't content to rest on their laurels. The band sought to usher in the new millennium with a bold step, "Grand Declaration Of War". The album picks up where "Wolf's Lair Abyss" left off, hence it starts with the paradoxically entitled, "Part II." The destruction continues through the fifth track. Thereafter, the recreation of Mayhem, if not the entire black metal genre, takes off, devoid of instruments, like the emptiness of a battlefield without warriors.

2001 sees the release of the third live platter entitled "Legions". ("European Legions" in Europe and "U.S. Legions" in the States) The two CDs feature slightly different track listings and both feature raw studio tracks and outtakes from the GDOW sessions. These records and a subsequent DVD (recorded in SOM's homeland of Marseille, France) is a whirlwind of psychotic energy and punishing rhythms, Mayhem live is a special sight and the DVD bears witness to that.

Now as you read this you hold a copy of the newest Mayhem outing titled "Chimera". Mayhem once again travels into the dark landscapes and emerges with the darkest record yet. Having proven themselves ahead of the times with "GDOW", "Chimera" is a total return to the blackness that made them, and Mayhem once again regains the throne of darkness that is rightfully theirs! The following times will see a full-fledged world tour and the legend will continue to grow! Be warned!!!

Source: Season Of Mist label website []

In late 2004, Maniac left the band. According to Necrobutcher, this was due to his alcoholism induced by stage fright. (...) Csihar was reinstated as his replacement.

The band's fourth full-length album, Ordo ad Chao (Latin for "Order to Chaos"), was released in April 2007. Ordo ad Chao contained a much rawer sound than the rest of the band's recent work; the drums were not equalized and the mix was notably bass-heavy against black metal convention. The album continued the band's experiments with unorthodox song structures, with "Illuminate Eliminate," at 9:40, the band's second longest track (behind Grand Declaration of War's "Completion in Science of Agony (Part I)" at 9:44). The album received strong reviews and was the band's highest-charting album, peaking at No. 12 on the Norwegian charts. In early 2008 Ordo Ad Chao won a Spellemannprisen, an award from the largest and oldest of Norway's music awards shows, for Best Metal Album of 2007.

In April 2008, Blasphemer announced his plans to leave the band, expressing a lack of desire to continue despite satisfaction with their accomplishments. He played European festival dates over the following months, with his last performance in the group coming in August. He thereafter continued work with the Portuguese band Ava Inferi. This marked the departure of the musician credited with the bulk of the musical composition of the band's three most recent studio albums.

Statements of imminent touring plans were announced on the band's web page a few weeks after their final dates with Blasphemer. In October 2008, Krister Dreyer ("Morfeus") of Dimension F3H and Limbonic Art joined the group as touring guitarist for their upcoming South America Fucking Armageddon tour.

The band toured through late 2008 and 2009 with this lineup, prior to announcing Summer 2009 dates with Silmaeth, a French musician, as a second touring guitar. In November 2009, the band was arrested in Tilburg, Netherlands, after destroying a hotel room while on tour. Norwegian guitarist Teloch replaced Silmaeth in February 2011, and performed with the group before departing the following year.

According to Necrobutcher, a new Mayhem album is in the works. In a message from Hellhammer on Mayhem's Facebook page (dated August 2, 2013), the band is currently "recording drums for the new Mayhem record; 7 trax down; 6 to go."

As of November 2013, the new album is being mixed, with an early 2014 release date expected. On February 18, 2014 it was announced that Mayhem will release a new album in May, with a new song "Psywar" made available for streaming.

It was announced on 20 February by the band's record label, Season of Mist, that the new album will be entitled Esoteric Warfare, and will be released on June 6th.
This marks the first Mayhem studio effort since Blasphemer's departure and Teloch's permanent status in the band.

Soure: Official band website []