A quick summary:
De Mysteriis is a great metal album: nothing less, nothing more. It is not the greatest black metal album of all time. It has had no clear major impact on the music scene. If anything, it represents the peak of a certain period where every album from Norway sounded the same, but nothing more. Look past the idiocy that surrounded the album, the murder, arson and petty rivalries and you'll find a group of fairly competent musicians, crafting a mostly standard work. The guitar work is hardly impressive, but the riffs are good. That compliment aside, they are also very formulaic. Two or three riff structures overused over the course of eight songs. The drumming may be amazingly fast, and at times rather inventive, but his timing is horrible and the whole performance sounds sloppy. The bass, when audible, is sufficient, but only of note on one track. The vocals, courtesy of the bonkers Attilha Csihar, are utterly impenetrable, regardless of whether you're new to the scene or you have "Silvester Anfang" tattooed on your bum; he sings in a completely unique, bizarre fashion, and soon enough you'll get used to it, whether you like it or not. The album is not without flashes of brilliance (the explosive opening of "Life Eternal", all of "Freezing Moon"), though it can be hard to get through in one sitting. The length is fine. The production suits the music well. Drums like thunder, vocals reverberating throughout the heavens. The artwork is awful. And only two members are credited on an album with four players, one of whom is dead and another is in prison for murdering him. But I asked you to forget about that, didn't I?