Mayhem, Live in New York City

The true sound of black metal invades NYC

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There are no nausea-inducing piles of rotting meat, yet WATAIN [9] stage a cold, grim ritual with songs as strong and sinister as the band’s image. In addition to playing more traditional numbers like I Am The Earth, they vary the pace with the slower, more eclectic Black Flames March and The Wild Hunt.

Erik Danielsson dedicates Sworn To The Dark to “our disciples who have chosen a life in the shadows.” And to the many hipster sightseers in the audience, he warns, “Once you cross the line there is no turning back,” before concluding the blackened ceremony with the evocative, minor key hate-fest Malfeitor.

Having had to cancel three dates before launching in NY without their only original member Necrobutcher, MAYHEM [8] perform as a four-piece, and, thanks to the clockwork precision of drummer Hellhammer, they pull it off like veteran BM warriors, forsaking new songs in favour of classics like Deathcrush and Freezing Moon.

The focal point is Attila Csihar, wielding an inverted cross bone mic holder, dancing with a skull and simulating hanging himself. Even though his discourse with the crowd is almost as indecipherable as his vocals, his charisma is undeniable and when he blasts into a deep-throated howl he sounds like a possessed Tuvan throat singer. Pure fucking Armageddon, indeed./o:p

Jon Wiederhorn

Jon Wiederhorn is a veteran author, music journalist and host of the Backstaged: The Devil in Metal podcast. He is the co-author of the books Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory, and author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends. He has worked on staff at Rolling Stone, MTV, VH1, Guitar Magazine,, and, while his writing has appeared in TV Guide, Blender, SPIN, Classic Rock, Revolver, Metal Hammer, Stuff, Inked, Loudwire and Melody Maker.