Review: “Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando” by Mayhem

When we recorded the drums for ‘Daemon’, we suddenly had 3-4 days extra studio time,Hellhammer recorded his stuff faster than we had planned, so we picked out a bunch of covers to record, just to have something for later use. It turns out that we made the right move, as we didn’t want to start on new songs until the ‘Daemon’ album tour was finished.” ~ Necrobutcher

Norwegian Black Metal pioneers Mayhem should need no introduction after the genre-defining moment that is 1994’s “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas“, tragically released in the wake of the death of founding member Euronymous the year previously. Now considered well respected veterans the band’s current line-up of original members Necrobutcher (bass) and Hellhammer (drums), alongside guitarists Teloch and Ghul, and enigmatic Attila Csihar have become a powerhouse that defies the laws of physics that has re-written the Black Metal rulebook over and over again with uncompromising material. The story goes that in 2019 at the end of the recording sessions for “Daemon” the band had time on their side and having always had fun playing covers and messing around with them in rehearsals and sound checks they felt that documenting that part of the bands history was a worthwhile pursuit.

So in “Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando” we have a tale in two parts, the first a trio of cuts left over from the sessions from “Daemon” that simply wouldn’t fit onto the vinyl and in the second a quartet of early 80’s Punk covers that was the music and attitude that lead to a love of Venom. A twenty three and a half minute stop gap that gives us something before the band take to the left hand path once more for Worldwide shows in support of “Daemon” it maybe but it is also a curious and mouth watering prospect. Make no mistake these are not some rough cut demos that the band had lurking around on an eight track gathering dust in a back room. Instead each of these tracks is a high quality incendiary piece of fire that stands up on its own and in the case of the opening trio, they would fit as perfectly into “Daemon” as the hilt of a knife does into the hand of the psycho killer in any Slasher movie. Attila’s feral calls are as enigmatic as ever, the thunderous kit performance from Hellhammer is a lesson in violence for any Black Metal drummer and the swirling dark atmospherics the band create remain as claustrophobic here as they do on the album itself and as a fan, you couldn’t ask for more than that. We can talk about the sticky fingerprints of Punk being felt in Grindcore, Thrash and Death Metal until the cows come home but its the decision of Mayhem to stick to the genre for the quartet of cuts here that really makes it. These aren’t Black Metal renditions of Punk cuts but instead a band having fun and ripping it up, which is pure unadulterated fun. “Hellnation” sees Attila doing an impressive mimic of Jello Biafra while the solo lights the blue touch paper; and there is no escaping Hellhammer’s trademark drum sound underpinning each of the cuts and giving them that something else. A stop gap it might be but it’s also really good fun [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Voces Ab Alta
  2. Black Glass Communion
  3. Everlasting Dying Flame
  4. In Defense Of Our Future (Discharge Cover)
  5. Hellnation (Dead Kennedys Cover)
  6. Only Death (Rudimentary Peni Cover)
  7. Commando (Ramones Cover)

Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando” by Mayhem is out 9th July via Century Media

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