MAYHEM – Chimera

It’s been four years since the world last heard from the “true” MAYHEM (not counting the plethora of live CDs, DVDs, and splits spit out on an annual basis to tide fans over). With their third album, Chimera, the band doesn’t disappoint. They attack fast and furiously with opener, “Whore,” which is packed with plenty of blast beats from Hellhammer as well as some harsh snarls and shrieks from Maniac. The onslaught continues with “Rape Humanity with Pride” and “Slaughter of Dreams,” each delivering the relentless speed and attack that’s long since insured MAYHEM‘s place as one of the leaders of the black metal scene. It also seems that the band has chosen to re-evaluate their sound and direction with Chimera, shedding many of the pompous, overblown ideas that plagued their ambitious, yet flawed concept album, Grand Declaration of War. Maniac in particular has chosen to remove the, at times, overdramatic ramblings and spoken word found on Grand Decleration of War in favor of the rawer, more abrasive vocal attack utilized on the band’s now legendary EP, Deathcrush. Hellhammer also turns in an impressive performance with a virtual black metal drum clinic, displaying tons of drum fills, blastbeats, and odd-time drum patterns throughout the entire album. But for all its speed and aggression, Chimera also delivers two fine epics with “My Death” and the title track which mix up various time and tempo changes with an overall sinister mood that practically oozes from the speakers. So while Chimera may not spark a black metal resurgence anytime soon, it’s a welcome return to the band’s grim, cold, icy roots. And is a fine example of why they remain as one of the few leaders in the true Norwegian black metal scene. (Season of Mist Records)

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