De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
|De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas|
|Studio album by Mayhem|
|Released||24 May 1994|
|Recorded||1992–93 at Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway|
|Producer||Pytten, Euronymous, Hellhammer|
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is the first full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. Songwriting began as early as 1987, but due to the suicide of vocalist Per "Dead" Ohlin and 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.
Background and recording
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. Mayhem drummer Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg claimed that the lyrics of the song "Freezing Moon" are "meant to make people commit suicide". Dead said in a 1989 interview—done by Marduk guitarist Morgan "Evil" Håkansson and 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". 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 as a place for the band to rehearse. On 8 April 1991, while left alone in the house, Dead slit his wrists and throat and then shot himself in the head with a shotgun. He left a brief suicide note, which apologized for having used the gun indoors and ended with: "Excuse all the blood". 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. One of these photographs was later used as the cover of a bootleg live album called Dawn of the Black Hearts.
In time, rumors spread that Euronymous had made a stew with bits of Dead's brain and had made necklaces with bits of his skull. The band later denied the former rumor, but confirmed that the latter was true. Moreover, Euronymous claimed to have given these necklaces to musicians he deemed worthy, which was confirmed by other members of the Norwegian black metal scene. Mayhem bassist Jørn "Necrobutcher" Stubberud, disgusted by Euronymous's behavior towards Dead, left the band. Thus, after the suicide, Euronymous was the only original member left, and the only member besides drummer Hellhammer.
To record the new album, Euronymous first recruited Occultus (Stian Johanssen), to record both vocal and bass tracks; however, he stayed in the band just for a few months, leaving after receiving a death threat from Aarseth himself. Thus, he engaged three more session musicians, Attila Csihar (from Hungarian band Tormentor) as vocalist, Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes (who performed solo as Burzum) as bassist, and Blackthorn (Snorre W. Ruch, playing solo as Thorns) as rhythm guitarist. In 1992, Vikernes was behind three church arsons in Norway. This lineup—Euronymous, Hellhammer, Attila and Vikernes—recorded the album during late 1992 and early 1993 at the Grieg Hall in Bergen. However, the album itself contains no information on line-up and credits. Necrobutcher, who had left the band before the recording sessions, claims to have written half of the songs for the album. He claims that he and Dead wrote "Freezing Moon" and Euronymous only contributed one riff to that song. 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. The main riff of the Thorns song "Into the Promised Land" (also called "Lovely Children") became the main riff of "From the Dark Past". According to Vikernes, Euronymous was responsible for most of the guitar riffs, but he claims that Hellhammer, Necrobutcher and himself contributed some riffs too.
On 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Blackthorn traveled to Euronymous's apartment in Oslo, where Vikernes stabbed Euronymous to death. He was arrested and sentenced to 21 years in prison, and Blackthorn to 8 year of imprisonment for felony murder.
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. Vikernes denied this allegation in a 2009 interview, stating "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".
After Euronymous's funeral, Hellhammer and Necrobutcher worked on releasing the album. 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".
The album was eventually released in May 1994, around the time that Vikernes was sentenced. It features the last lyrics written by Dead before his suicide, and the last songs recorded by Euronymous before his murder.
In 2009, Mayhem released the EP Life Eternal: rough mixes of five songs from the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas recording session.
Title and artwork
The title De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a Latin phrase meaning "about/of Lord Satan's mysteries/secret rites". The album cover is a monochrome photo of the east side of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is widely acclaimed as one of the masterpieces of the black metal genre, and its bleak aesthetics and lyrics have often been cited as an inspiration by other black metal groups. IGN included De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in their "10 Great Black Metal Albums" list.
While Mayhem's previous vocalist had been Swedish, Attila Csihar was from Hungary. His style was somewhat atypical for Nordic black metal then, and has provoked a mixed reception from fans; for example, Metalreviews.com 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), Immortal, Dark Funeral, Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth, Behemoth, Vader, Enslaved, Cradle of Filth and Darkmoon. "Funeral Fog" was covered by Emperor with Csihar on vocals.
All songs written and composed by Mayhem.
|3.||"Cursed in Eternity"||5:10|
|6.||"From the Dark Past"||5:26|
|7.||"Buried by Time and Dust"||3:34|
|8.||"De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"||6:21|
- Attila Csihar – vocals
- Count Grishnackh (Varg Vikernes) – bass, lyrics
- Blackthorn (Snorre Ruch) – rhythm guitar, lyrics
The title track of Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)
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