Esoteric Warfare
(Season Of Mist)

Mayhem is arguably, one of the most infamous and black metal bands of all time. Their history is one that is equal parts fascinating and tumultuous and has been written about far too many times to count. Now in 2014, the band has released their seventh album, one that features a new guitarist and a fresher approach, but at its core is still teeming with the same brutality that their hardcore fans have come to expect.

When listening to Esoteric Warfare, there are two things that stick out to me immediately. The first is the amazing drumming of Hellhammer. Dude is one of the greatest extreme metal drummers of all time and he definitely slays on this record. The other thing that stands out is its old school black metal production and approach. The guitars, as well as Attila’s vocals have a very raw, old school black metal quality and sound to them and are incredibly menacing.

Conceptually, the record is based on experimentations during the cold war, which adds a lot of frost-bitten weirdness to their sound, a sound that is already pretty weird and hateful enough as it is. For some reason, there’s just something about the sound of the record I just can’t put my finger on, but it subtracts a bit from the heaviness. It could just be the raw sound of the guitars that keep it from sounding louder and heavier that put a slight damper on it for me, but even a non-perfect Mayhem record is 100% better than 90% of the bands following in their wake. (Brandon Ringo)

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