De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

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De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Studio album by Mayhem
Released 24 May 1994 (1994-05-24)
Recorded 1992–93 at Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway
Genre Black metal
Length 45:58
Label Deathlike Silence
Producer Pytten, Euronymous, Hellhammer
Mayhem chronology
Live in Leipzig
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Dawn of the Black Hearts

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is the first full-length studio album by the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. Songwriting began in 1987,[1] but due to the suicide of vocalist Per "Dead" Ohlin and the murder of guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, the album's release was delayed until May 1994. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is widely considered one of the most influential black metal albums of all time.[2] [3]

Background and recording[edit]


Mayhem began writing songs for the album in 1987, with vocalist Dead composing the lyrics. In 1990 or 1991, studio versions of the songs "The Freezing Moon" and "Carnage" were recorded, appearing on the CBR Records compilation album Projections of a Stained Mind.[4] Mayhem's drummer, Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg, claimed that the lyrics of "Freezing Moon" were "meant to make people commit suicide".[5] Dead said in a 1989 interview by Marduk guitarist Morgan "Evil" Håkansson, published in Slayer fanzine, that by then he had written the lyrics for "Funeral Fog", "Freezing Moon", "Buried by Time and Dust" and "Pagan Fears".[6] Finished versions of these songs appeared on the album Live in Leipzig, a concert recording from November 1990 which was released in 1993.

By 1991, Dead and Euronymous were living in a house in the woods near Kråkstad, which was used by the band to rehearse.[7] On 8 April 1991, while alone in the house, Dead slit his wrists and throat and then shot himself in the head with a shotgun.[8] He left a brief suicide note, which apologized for having used the gun indoors and ended with "Excuse all the blood".[7] The body was found by Euronymous. Before calling the police, he allegedly went to a nearby shop and bought a disposable camera with which he photographed the body, after re-arranging some items.[9] One of these photographs was later used as the cover of a bootleg live album titled Dawn of the Black Hearts.[10]


To record the new album, Euronymous recruited Attila Csihar (from the Hungarian band Tormentor) as vocalist and Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes (who performed solo as Burzum) as bassist. In 1992, Vikernes was behind three church arsons in Norway. This lineup — Euronymous, Hellhammer, Csihar and Vikernes — recorded the album during late 1992 and early 1993 at the Grieg Hall in Bergen. However, the album itself contained no information on lineup and credits. Necrobutcher, who had left the band before the recording sessions, claimed to have written half of the songs for the album. He stated that he and Dead wrote "Freezing Moon" and Euronymous only contributed one riff to that song.[11] Snorre "Blackthorn" Ruch (who performed solo as Thorns) wrote some of the riffs for the album and finished some of Dead's song lyrics, according to himself and Hellhammer.[12][13] The main riff of the Thorns song "Into the Promised Land" (also called "Lovely Children") became the main riff of "From the Dark Past".[14] According to Vikernes, Euronymous was responsible for most of the guitar riffs, but he claimed that Hellhammer, Necrobutcher and himself contributed some riffs, too.[15]

On 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Blackthorn traveled to Euronymous's apartment in Oslo, where Vikernes stabbed Euronymous to death.[16] He was arrested and sentenced to 21 years in prison, while Blackthorn was sentenced to eight years for being an accomplice.[17]

During Vikernes's trial, police said that they had found explosives and ammunition in Vikernes's home. Euronymous and Vikernes had allegedly plotted to blow up Nidaros Cathedral, which appears on the album cover, to coincide with the album's release.[8] Vikernes denied this allegation in a 2009 interview, saying, "I was getting [the explosives and ammunition] in order to defend Norway if we were attacked any time. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union could have decided to attack us."[18]

After Euronymous's funeral, Hellhammer and Necrobutcher worked on releasing the album.[19] Euronymous's parents asked Hellhammer to remove the bass tracks recorded by Vikernes. Hellhammer said, "I thought it was appropriate that the murderer and victim were on the same record. I put word out that I was re-recording the bass parts, but I never did".[19]

The album was eventually released in May 1994, around the time that Vikernes was sentenced. It featured the last lyrics written by Dead before his suicide, and the last songs recorded by Euronymous before his murder.

In 2009, Mayhem released rough mixes of five songs from the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas recording session as the EP Life Eternal.

Title and artwork[edit]

The title De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a Latin phrase meaning "Lord Satan's Secret Rites".[20] The album cover is a monochrome photo of the east side of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.[19]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[21]

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was included on IGN's list of "10 Great Black Metal Albums".[22]

While Mayhem's previous vocalist had been Swedish, Csihar was from Hungary.[23] His style was somewhat atypical for Nordic black metal then, and provoked a mixed reception from fans; for example, gave him the nickname "Attila 'Fingernails' Csihar" (although a subsequent review by the website praised his later Ordo Ad Chao-era performances). The song "Freezing Moon" was included on Kerrang!‍‍ '​‍s 25 Extreme Metal Anthems and has been covered live and in studio by such bands as Dissection (Jon Nödtveidt and Ole Öhman also performed the song with Euronymous in 1991),[24] Immortal,[citation needed] Dark Funeral,[citation needed] Carpathian Forest,[citation needed] Gorgoroth,[citation needed] Behemoth,[citation needed] Vader, Enslaved,[25] Cradle of Filth[citation needed] and Darkmoon.[citation needed] "Funeral Fog" was covered by Emperor with Csihar on vocals.[26]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Mayhem. 

No. Title Length
1. "Funeral Fog"   5:47
2. "Freezing Moon"   6:23
3. "Cursed in Eternity"   5:10
4. "Pagan Fears"   6:20
5. "Life Eternal"   6:57
6. "From the Dark Past"   5:26
7. "Buried by Time and Dust"   3:34
8. "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"   6:21
Total length:


The title track of Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

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  1. ^ Lahdenpera, Esa. "Mayhem. Northern Black Metal Legends". Kill Yourself!!! Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Ramirez, Carlos (6 January 2009). "10 Great Black Metal Albums – IGN". Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Terrorizer Magazine List page". 
  4. ^ Various Artists: Projections of a Stained Mind, CBR Records 1991.
  5. ^ Gunnar Grøndahl (director) (1994). Det Svarte Alvor (motion picture) (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  6. ^ Evil: Mayhem. In: Jon Kristiansen: Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries. Brooklyn, NY: Bazillion Points Books 2011, p. 290.
  7. ^ a b Stefan Rydehed (director) (2008). Pure Fucking Mayhem (motion picture). Index Verlag. 
  8. ^ a b Martin Ledang (director), Pål Aasdal (director) (2007). Once Upon a Time in Norway (motion picture). Another World Entertainment. 
  9. ^ Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind: Interview with Hellhammer taken from the book Lords Of Chaos.
  10. ^ Dan Zimmer: Interview with Hellhammer taken from Sounds Of Death magazine.
  11. ^ Mayhem. In: Slayer, no. 14, summer 2000, p. 77.
  12. ^ a b Sonderkrig, Agnes: THORNS. Voices from the Darkside (zine).
  13. ^ a b Interview with Necrobutcher and Hellhammer taken from Terrorizer magazine #45
  14. ^ "Thorns - Grymyrk/Trondertun". LARM.
  15. ^ Chris Mitchell: "Interview with Varg Vikernes" (10 May 2005), by Chris Mitchell, accessed on 2 December 2012.
  16. ^ Darcey Steinke: "Satan’s Cheerleaders", Spin, February 1996.
  17. ^ Varg Vikernes: A Burzum Story: Part II - Euronymous.
  18. ^ Midtskogen, Rune (4 July 2009). "'Greven' angrer ingenting" ['The Count' regrets nothing]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  19. ^ a b c Campion, Chris (20 February 2005). "In the Face of Death". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 6 October 2007. 
  20. ^ Markheim: Mayhem - De mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Heavy Latin web blog.
  21. ^ Huey, Steve. "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas - Mayhem". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  22. ^ Ramirez, Carlos (6 January 2009). "10 Great Black Metal Albums – IGN". Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  23. ^ Christe, Ian (2003). Sound of the Beast: the Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. p. 275. 
  24. ^ Andrea Biagi: Biography Part One. "The First Era".
  25. ^ Various Artists: Originators of the Northern Darkness – A Tribute to Mayhem, Avantgarde Music 2001.
  26. ^ Attila Csihar: The Beast Of, Cacophonous Records 2003.

External links[edit]