Mayhem – Ordo Ad Chao (2007) Album Review

I cannot begin to describe how much I appreciate Mayhem. As many of you know, Mayhem is actually a band that spawned in the first black metal wave (most notably with an EP called Deathcrush), but their climax manifested in the second wave of black metal bands with a masterpiece called De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, an album that will forever be credited as the most important and the most influential black metal album.

Mayhem, as time passed, had many line-up changes. Since Dead‘s suicide and Euronymous‘s death, most people though that they will never be what they once were. Wolf’s Lair Abyss was a good start, but the experimental album Grand Declaration of War didn’t produce any reaction… any positive reaction, actually.

Ordo Ad Chao is probably the best work they ever did. This album, in my opinion, can be considered their maturity album. Fast and powerful blast drum beats done by Hellhammer that once again proves that he is the best drummer in the black metal scene, morbid and sinister vocals done by Attila Csihar that always amazes you – scream here, growl there, whisper here, this guy is totally unpredictable and truly a master among all the black metal vocalist. Clear bass lines done by Blasphemer (he claimed that Necrobutcher had absolutely nothing to do with the recording and production of this album) and a more modest performance done by Blasphemer at guitars that chose to reduce his guitar solos and riffs in favor of Attila’s truly amazing vocals and for Hellhammer’s drum solos.

I was actually amazed hearing Mayhem fans (or former fans so to say, not that they ever were though) calling it crap because of the production quality. I’m sorry guys, but this is the True Mayhem, and true Mayhem plays True Black Metal, which should be in low production quality, this way you can really feel that you’ve listened to Mayhem and that you listened to black metal. Anyway, placing production quality over artistic quality shows the fact that fans do not appreciate a band for what they write and compose, but from how good it sounds, which is really a shame and disrespect towards a band.

The fact that it is in low production quality gives the album a more sinister aura, especially when the instrumental is accompanied by Attila’s voice. You can feel this like a chant and not much of a song, sorta speak. This is not an album made for headbanging. This is an album that needs to be listened to in complete darkness and isolation and the most important thing is listening to it many times in order to understand it.

Another thing I want to add is that I credit Maniac and Dead for their impressive vocals on other Mayhem works, but they pale in contrast with Attila. The guy can actually express emotional and spiritual states through his vocals, culminating with his cries in the song Key to the Storms.

Conceptually, unlike the old Mayhem albums, this one does not focus on Satanic, gore, or evil themes like we noticed in Deathcrush or De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. It focuses especially on war, mythology, and misanthropy. We hear about a global flood in Wall of Water, though I don’t really know if they were making a reference to the biblical flood or rather to a flood as a natural disaster.

By far, the best song this album has (not that the other ones aren’t good, but this one makes its presence much more felt that the others) is Illuminate Eliminate. The song spawns for almost 10 minutes and you can also hear elements from doom metal and even progressive metal in it. Attila’s vocals shine mostly in this song, expressing his emotions in a brilliant manner.

The last song, Anti, also marks the first video ever made by Mayhem, directed by Costin Chioreanu. Though the video does not really have any meaning since it only shows footage of a Mayhem concert, the song really has meaning. This song depicts the theme of war and makes references to Annunaki (check Wikipedia if you want to know more).

Overall, a masterpiece. Though I mourn the departure of Blasphemer, I am sure that if, in the near future, Mayhem will release another album, I want it to be like this one – dark, morbid, and sinister. With Attila, Necrobutcher (though I don’t really trust him when it comes to composing music) and Hellhammer will pull off something even better. Now with Teloch as composer, we might see another album in the near future. Hail Mayhem!

Overall Impression: 92/100