Sunday, 7 November 2021

Mayhem "Daemon" (2019)


I'm not sure when exactly I picked this record up but with Mayhem confined to the list of adored artists I'd consider far past their prime, Daemon must have been thrown straight to phone for shuffle. It may have taken years but a few months back, a song of this record really caught my ear. What was this chilling cold, deviously devilish Black Metal so reminiscent of the classic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas? To some surprise it was the band themselves, reunited with Attilia Csihar and conjuring a sinister storm reminiscent of the vision Euronymous's chillingly morbid guitars evoked.

I'd always thought highly of the bands direction post their classic debut. They always looked for new experimental avenues to explore but eventually my interest in the morphing directions dropped off over the last decade or so. Ive read this record came off the back of touring De Mysteriis in full. Clearly those performances primed them for Daemon which conjures that primal darkness within a modern, crisp, sinister production provided by Necromorbus, with one of the worst "evil" names I've ever heard.

The two bonus tracks Everlasting Dying Flame and Black Glass Communion feel like the albums starting point creatively. Both rehash classic riffing styles, baselines and drum patterns from De Mysteriis. In my ears they are songs to get the writing process underway with this particular aesthetic and spirit in mind. The ten tracks that make up the actual record have similar moments but do well at feeling like an extension of that bleak ghostly evil the original conjured. Attila is the champion here, growling raspy demonic cries of malice between authoritative clergy jeers steeped in foul corruption.

Behind him Hellhammer is as on form and exciting as ever, battering away with thunderous intent and a distinct presences that's never left him. The duo of Ghul and Teloch forge moments of wicked and heinous energy between the broodier riffs that run the mills of classic Black Metal. Many moments of brilliance emerge on the likes of Agenda Ignis, Malum, Falsified And Hated and the grinding, unrelenting discordance of Worhtless Abominations Destroyed, a personal favorite of mine here.

My main issues is with whats between. The routine of snakey tremelo picked guitar lines and power chord shredding gets a little stale after many spins. Attila carries it with his wild and varied theatrics but the music beneath doesn't always have the gravitas it needs to be special. This may be a result of a deep familiarity with this style so many others have re-walked over the years. Its not to take away from the overall experience though. This was a fun and demonic ride back into that darkness, this shade however feels more visual and nefarious than its chillingly morbid counterpart.

Rating: 7/10