MAYHEM were formed in 1984 by Euronymous (guitars / vocals), Manheim (drums) and Necrobutcher (bass / vocals). It took them two years for the first demo Pure Fucking Armageddon to be released. Although the perception of the demo was rather negative, MAYHEM recorded Deathcrush in 1987 and released the recordings as a limited edition LP on their own label Posercorps and later again on their own label Deathlike Silence Productions. The vocals on Deathcrush were now done by the new member Maniac. The extremity of this release created a cult status in the metal underground ; many now appreciated MAYHEM?s raw brutality.
Shortly after the release of Deathcrush, Maniac and Manheim left the band. Vocalist Dead (MORBID) and current drummer Hellhammer were then brought into MAYHEM. Dead?s influences guided MAYHEM deep down the dark paths, conceptually and ideologically speaking. His voice set a new standard for extreme metal. However, only two studio tracks were recorded featuring Dead, both for compilation CD?s. Beside that, he appears on Live In Leipzig, together with Necrobutcher, Euronymous and Hellhammer. The recordings of this album were taken during MAYHEM?s tour in Germany. After this tour Dead committed suicide. Hereafter Necrobutcher decided to leave the band.
The tour and era marked the beginning of the Norwegian Black Metal scene as it is known today, influencing bands such as EMPEROR, DARKTHRONE, IMMORTAL, ENSLAVED and many others.
Euronymous and Hellhammer were now the only two members left, ready to record the debut album De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas, but without singer and bass player. For the recordings of the album Count Grishnack (BURZUM) played bass and Attilla took care of the vocals. Beside that, Blackthorn (THORNS) stepped in as a second guitarist during this time. Both he and Grishnack added new dimensions of atmosphere to the already cold and calculated MAYHEM sound. De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas was released in 1993.
After the murder of Euronymous and the subsequent arrest of Grishnack, Hellhammer decided to continue MAYHEM. Both Necrobutcher and Maniac rejoined the band, and Blasphemer was chosen as the new guitarist. After several years of silence, a follow up of the studio album was finally released. In 1997 the MCD Wolf?s Lair Abyss hit the market. The MCD was the answer to Deathcrush; brutal, raw and evil, while De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas was an innovative album that set new standards in the world of metal.
In 1999 the second live CD was released, Mediolanum Capta Est.
Grand Declaration of War
Back in 1993, the release of De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas created quite a shock, for most people it took a while to get acquainted with the atmosphere, the inhuman vocals, etc. While now it?s considered as one of, or even the masterpiece of the Black Metal genre. De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas was one thing for sure : ahead of its time. The result of a long and painful gestation.
Now in 2000 we can write the more things change, the more they stay the same. Who expected MAYHEM to do as they did (and what now is being done) can?t be more wrong. The band sets new standards again : music wise, but also production wise, this while remaining faithful to their musical style.
The album?s first part (named Part II) takes off where Wolf?s Lair Abyss ended. The same riff is used, evolving into a more technical and insane way. The destruction concludes within the fifth track. Hereafter the recreation takes off, beginning without instruments, like a void, like the emptiness of a battlefield without any warriors left. From the ruins, the recreation will start. MAYHEM?s concept might be applied to the Black Metal genre as well : Part II can well be the ultimate piece of the genre, while from the ashes a new genre is created.
European Legions, released mid 2001, can be considered as an ?add-on? for Grand Declaration of War.
7 live songs recorded at different locations during MAYHEM?s European Legions tour + the preproduction of Grand Declaration of War : the unpolished and raw version, giving you a taste of how GDoW was expected to sound like.
Exactly two decades after MAYHEM?s formation, the band will release its new offering Chimera on the 29th of March 2004. MAYHEM enters the studio November 2003.
Do not expect a release as daring as Grand Declaration of War, but an album going back to the band?s darker times. Having glanced at the future with GDoW, Mayhem decide to look at the past as they state ?Chimera will be a résumé of all our previous albums. But one thing is sure : it?s going to be Black Metal. No more fooling around. We proved ourselves creative and ahead of the rest with GDoW. With ?Chimera, we are taking back the throne that is ours.?