Mayhem are a band haunted by their past. Whatever they do, there will always be the debate as to whether or not they are the "true" Mayhem, should they play live, and are the current members even a shadow of ghosts long Dead?
Who knows. Who cares. The important thing should be: Is the music any good?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, Mayhem are an excellent raw black metal band on record.
This is nothing more than the merest sample of the hyper-speed insanity these possibly diseased minds are capable of. And the best part of the brevity of this disc is it leaves the listener craving more, nay, more than craving, physically addicted and needing more.
Much has been said over the years of the ability of Hellhammer, Mayhem's inhumanly fast drummer. So he's fast, so what? So are lots of drummers. Few, however, are as fast and technically proficient at speed as this man, for such a sustained period. The four tracks (plus a spooky intro) all clock in at over five minutes long. This band just doesn't slow down.
The guitar sound here is total necro (or perhaps that should be the bass sound, since the bass player is called Necrobutcher), all fuzzy, buzzing mid range tones, with not a lot of bottom end. It is almost the perfect black metal sound, providing an unexpected clarity to the high velocity riffing, while retaining the raw, lo-fi power required for convincing black metal.
Maniac's vocals are almost totally indecipherable, his raspy screech losing most of it's human character, leaving just a bare demonic wail. A nice contrasting touch is a clearer melodic voice underlining some of the vocal lines, which introduces unexpected subtleties to the mix.
Forget the "true black metal" debate. Track this down, clear your mind, turn off the lights, and set "Wolf's Lair Abyss" on repeat.