For black metal and in fact extreme metal, MAYHEM are arguably one of the worlds most notorious bands. Spearheading the explosive and controversial Norwegian black metal movement in the 1990s, the band’s legacy and impact is enormous. With the early controversy long in the band’s past, the modern age of MAYHEM has seen an increase in both their studio output and live performances. This year has marked the band reflect on their fiery past through performing their highly influential debut full length, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, in its entirety. But does the live performance thirteen years after the record was released do enough to prove worthy to its iconic legacy?
Opening proceedings was Mancunian black metal outfit INCONCESSUS LUX LUCIS whose raw riffing and copious use of blastbeats was a spectacle to behold throughout their performance. The fusion of Baal‘s thick bass lines and Malphas‘ lead riffing kept the tempo flowing at a frantic rate, only dipping slightly when Malphas utilised some solitary and isolated solo play. Malphas‘ snarled and guttural vocal deliveries rode above the explosive rhythm and kept the attention firmly focused as the band powered through their set. Manchester has become a hot bed for exciting black metal in recent years and INCONCESSUS LUX LUCIS more than showcased this consistently throughout their opening performance.
Words: James Weaver
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT are an absolute rarity in extreme metal today. To release an album as dark and utterly malicious as Hatred for Mankind is an accomplishment in itself, but to then channel that same darkness into a live performance without losing any of its malevolence elevates this band to totally new heights. The unmistakable audio sample of Aileen Wuornos’ scathing insults in To Heiron marks the beginning of their set. A piercing red light descends onto an altar-like candle stand intertwined with bones and rope. Two stag skulls sit at either end of the stage, framing the band in an atmosphere of macabre ritualism. Cue blast beats.
A crowd seemingly big enough to fill the entire venue gather and are exposed to some of the most earth shattering songs from DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT’s collaborative album with GNAW THEIR TONGUES: NV and of course, Hatred for Makind. The set includes Absolver, Buried With Leeches, Volcanic Birth and concludes almost as abruptly as it begins with the explosive Lashed to the Grinder and Stoned to Death. The brilliant thing about a DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT show isn’t just the barbarous riffs and insane vocals, it’s their ability to leave a void-like hole in the atmosphere as soon as that last blast beat ceases.
Words: Julia Ward
With a mass utilisation of fog clouding the stage, MAYHEM took to the stage to begin a performance that was utterly spellbinding. Through the raw guitar play from guitarists Teloch and Ghul and a thunderous barrage of blasts from drummer Hellhammer, opening track Funeral Fog set the tone for the band’s iconic performance. From there the band only continued to excel. Frontman Attila‘s ritualistic snarls on Freezing Moon carried dark undertones that enhanced Necrobutcher‘s low bass lines whilst the performance of Pagan Fears more than demonstrated MAYHEM‘s ability of replicating the icy chills of the album in the live environment.
When the fog cleared, and the band became visible, MAYHEM were captivating to the eye. Dressed in cloaks and corpsepaint that glimmered in the spotlight, the band’s visual aesthetics only enhanced the impact of their sonic execution. Frontman Attila moved in zombified movement to the raw power of the riffs; swinging in dark harmony to From The Dark Past and unleashing vocal deliveries that roared above the sheer force of the band’s percussion. With a consistent performance that was focused entirely to De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and zero interaction with the crowd, MAYHEM‘s performance flew and whilst it was disappointing that no extra tracks (like Deathcrush for example) were included, the focus here was entirely on the band’s iconic debut. And MAYHEM delivered that in abundance.
Words: James Weaver
Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography: