MAYHEM – Ordo Ad Chao

Despite a seemingly endless streak of misfortune and tragedy, the legendary MAYHEM has overcome adversity yet again to bring us what could be their darkest work to date with Ordo Ad Chao. “A Wise Birthgiver” sets the stage with eerie, ominous chords enhanced by the album’s dense, murky sound. “Wall of Water” responds with Hellhammer‘s flurries of drum fills and blast beats and guitarist Blasphemer‘s relentless, driving riffs of speed before slowing to a sinister crawl. Meanwhile in the thick of it all, Attila Csihar makes his return known with a combination of snarls, growls, and whispers that somehow manages to tie all the levels of darkness together. “Illuminate Eliminate” also succeeds in creating a feeling of atmospheric dread, as ghostly chords and sludgy rhythms creep and crawl through a maze of slime creating the album’s centerpiece, a nine-minute plus epic tribute to the dark. The overall feeling of bleak desperation continues throughout the album closing finally with “Anti,” a fast, punishing exhibition of Hellhammer‘s considerable talents as he delivers a virtual extreme metal drum clinic. Ordo Ad Chao may not be what the world expected from MAYHEM, and at first listen, the album may appear to be a jam session of thrown together riffs and unfinished ideas, but nothing could be further from the truth. Ordo Ad Chao demands repeated listening (preferably with headphones) so that the listener can uncover the dense layers and nuances contained within. There are no catchy parts, no “Freezing Moons,” no “Pure Fucking Armageddon” sequels, just an album that from start to finish is ugly, uneasy listening which is the way true black metal was meant to be. (Season of Mist Records)

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