After the release of their last album Esoteric Warfare five years ago, black metal legends Mayhem are back with a new salvo in Daemon. Now if you can look beyond band members hearkening back to attempted murders or contemplating attempted murders, you might remember that this is an album release cycle for a band originally shrouded in violence and mystery and a founding member of the second wave of black metal alongside Immortal, Emperor and Darkthrone to name a few.
Daemon is certainly well within the mold of classic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas with a much cleaner production quality. “Agenda Ignis” moves around slowly with crashing drums courtesy of Hellhammer with Necrobutcher attempting some killer bass of his own.
The result creates an interlude that is very well-rounded in the scheme of the album and general unique flair. Attila sounds great as ever with his demonic delivery and Teloch and Ghul finally get to soar on an album that revitalizes Mayhem’s ability to produce quality black metal in 2019.
This is a long commitment of an album as it clocks in at nearly an hour, but for an album that might well be their best album since De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. “Malum” could easily be a cut from said debut as it imbues the same level of atmosphere, balanced by an excellent riffing attack. There is nary a clunker on the entire album, which flows from start to finish and is an excellent and cohesive effort overall.
Mayhem continue to influence the scene in many ways, through their music, through their actions and just by continuing to thrive in a scene that they helped to create. If Mayhem can deliver near career highs after all this time has passed, then we are certainly in their debt. One of the best black metal albums of the year, a highlight of the band’s discography.
(released October 25, 2019 on Century Media Records)
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