Wednesday 18 June 2014

Review of 'Esoteric Warfare' by Mayhem

This is pure black metal for black metal purists. Mayhem don’t expect everyone to get this as demonstrated by the album title. ‘Esoteric’ means ‘intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.’ I had to Google that. Black metal expands one’s vocabulary!

Unfortunately, I’m not a purist. As much as I like the old skool stuff, I like a bit of modern experimentation too. Mayhem are stuck in the past. They’re not killing each other, making necklaces out of each other's skull fragments and burning churches like they were in the nineties – they’ve fortunately moved on from that – but musically they’re still relying on the same old tricks. The riffs are heinous, the drums are ferocious, the vocals are diversely demonic and sole remaining original member, Necrobutcher, still knows how to make that bass growl. It’s all deliciously evil, but just lacks a bit of novelty. This will appeal to a lot of fans but not me.