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MAYHEM - 30 Years Anniversary Tour (1984-2014) @ Backstage, Munich, Germany

MAYHEM / Merrimack / Svoid
in Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at Backstage
by Erika Kuenstler

2014 is a big year for MAYHEM: this year marks the 30th anniversary of this archetypal Black Metal band, the 20th anniversary of “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, one of the most influential Black Metal albums of all times, and it also marks the release of their much anticipated 5th full-length album, “Esoteric Warfare”. Having launched on a trail of destruction across Europe to commemorate their 30 year history, I was lucky enough to catch the show in Munich, Germany.

First up on stage was SVOID, a relatively new Hungarian band, founded in 2009. With only one full-length album, “To Never Return” to their name, the majority of their setlist was drawn from this album. The exceptions to this were “A Void of Breathless Fall”, which was taken from their EP “Ars Kha”, and “Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss”, a cover of IMMORTAL’s timeless masterpiece. Besmeared in corpsepaint, this young band nevertheless put on a very good show, and I will most certainly be keeping a keen eye on their future progression. Perhaps a little too eager to showcase their upcoming talent, SVOID went slightly overtime with their set, which had some repercussions for the rest of the night. But nevertheless, they clearly mean business, and definitely got the crowd going.

1. Opus Gnosis
2. Eleven Alpha
3. Queen of Those Below
4. A Void of Breathless Fall
5. Reborn in Flames
6. Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss (Immortal cover)
7. Towards the Horned Father
8. The Pulse
9. Antania

Up next was MERRIMACK, a relatively unknown French Luciferian Black Metal band who has been around since 1994. Delivering a set of pure blasphemic carnage, with songs ranging from the embodiment of pure soul-searching melancholy to the most searing and scorching agony, this band perfectly captured the quintessence of all that is vile. With sacreligious consecrations of the crowd, the vocalist certainly was a personification of complete nihilism, with arms so scarred from years of self-mutilation that he may even be able to best the maze of welts that are such a hallmark of the infamous Niklas Kvarforth of SHINING. MERRIMACK’s performance was also exceptional: the raw emotion which they were able to capture with their music and convey to the crowd was phenomenal, earning themselves a spot on my “absolute must see again” list.

1. Seraphic Conspiracy
2. Arousing Wombs in Nine Angles Pleroma
3. Redeem Restless Souls
4. Horns Defeat Thorns
5. Beati Estis Cum Maledixerint Vobis
6. Ashes of Purification
7. Gospel of the Void
8. By Thy Grace

Finally, it was time for the headliners of the night, the massive and legendary Black Metal behemoths, MAYHEM. This Norwegian band certainly needs no introduction, with their reputation long foreshadowing them. Often hailed as the most notorious and influential band in the history of Black Metal, promises of an amazing performance had fans lining up long before the doors even opened. With Atilla appearing on stage in his idiosyncratic corpse paint, blood besmirched mouth, and blackened teeth, MAYHEM certainly made an entry.

After three decades, you might expect things to be taken down a notch or for the proceedings to have a more sedentary pace, but quite frankly, MAYHEM are on top of their game. The performance was engaging and memorable, each of the members charismatic in his own way, the sound was excellent, and the overall set was phenomenal. Perhaps the only slight down side was the lighting; not being a venue that hosts many metal bands, especially not of MAYHEM’s calibre, the lights were somewhat primitive and primary. However, given the astounding performances put on by the bands, this is barely worth mentioning.

With Teloch, Necrobutcher, and Charles Hedger putting on a blistering set in the front lines, and the machine of a drummer that is Hellhammer providing the backbone that held everything together, Atilla had free reign in mesmerising the crowd. With the almost ritualistic use of an inverted cross made of bones, a skull, and a noose, the enrobed Atilla had the audience’s attention captivated from the get go. This added to their ferocious performance had the crowd going absolutely crazy; MAYHEM is perhaps one of the very few Black Metal bands I have seen who can incite a moshpit without even trying.

1. Silvester Anfang
2. Pagan Fears
3. Deathcrush
4. Buried by Time and Dust
5. To Daimonion
6. Symbols of Bloodswords
7. My Death
8. A Time to Die
9. Psywar
10. Illuminate Eliminate
11. Whore
12. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
13. Chainsaw Gutsfuck
14. Freezing Moon
15. Carnage
16. Pure Fucking Armageddon

With this show, MAYHEM have once again proven that they reign supreme when it comes to the underground Black Metal scene, and that their legacy shall undoubtedly span the next three decades with ease. All in all an excellent night.

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Edited 19 March 2019

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