More than 5 years have passed since Mayhem last released new material, with Esoteric Warfare and, to say the anticipation was high, would be an understatement. Daemon appears to be the second full-length album with heavy contribution in the composing department from The Konsortium and Nidingr axeman Teloch, who was not afraid to dig deep in experimentation in his 2014 debut album with the band. As one of the undisputed originators of the second-wave of black metal in the second half of the Eighties, the Norwegians have travelled a long path since the release of the notorious De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas quarter of a century ago. All the line-up changes aside, they have never been afraid of thinking out-of-the-box and the last two albums proved it more than ever.
However, have the several consecutive years of touring and playing De Mysteriis front-to-end changed anything in this creative agenda? Let’s see.
The Dying False King storms through the speakers with the viciousness of a mad dog (which is not surprising), but when you hear the absolutely EVIL riff at 2:22, things start looking much better than expected. Bad Blood i some pure old school 90’s-era black metal worship and the slow passages of the following Malum, combined with the operatic singing of Attila, cannot escape comparisons with the ’94 classic. The rhythm section of Necrobutcher and Hellhammer is out-of-this-world class and the guitar sound of Teloch and Ghul is so freaking dense that you can cut your morning bacon with just the sound of those riffs.
There is even a Burzum-esque atmospheric accent in the midst of Falsified And Hated, believe me or not, haha. Ironic.
What Teloch explained to us in the recent interview for Velvet Thunder, sounds so right – the songs sound so much more to-the-point. The compositional structure is more simplified than on Esoteric Warfare, allowing the listener to grasp the album’s atmosphere more fully. And, then, the songs themselves are better. Aeon Daemonium and Of Worms And Ruins can sit comfortably in the De Mysteriis track list – reeking of ungodliness and misanthropy to such extent that there is a feeling of something wrong going on when listening to this band. Tell me if the riff at the 1:30 minute mark in Aeon Daemonium doesn’t make the hair on your arms raise. I am sure that Mayhem have not even for a second thought of creating a follow-up, but, actually, Daemon is the album that sounds closest in spirit to De Mysteriis than any other album in their discography.
The hypnotic mid-tempo closer Invoke The Oath sounds every bit as scary and disturbing as all the songs before it and rounds up an album that can wear the cult Mayhem logo proudly on its front cover. Actually, the two bonus tracks, which are left for the limited edition are fantastic and I just can’t think of any other reason for them to not be included in the regular edition of the album, apart from the need for a limited edition to exist, and to be limited for some reason, haha.
Late into 2019, all fans of not only black metal or Mayhem, but of extreme music can gather round and listen to this pandaemonic celebration of everything that is evil, wrong, filthy and outright scary. This is the album we have been waiting for so long, guys.