Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare


Artist

Album

Esoteric Warfare

Label

Season of Mist

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

Darkthrone - Gorgoroth

Summary

A roller coaster of sheer ferocity.

Rating

80 / 100

Mayhem are no small name in the black metal world. The Norwegian’s arguably wrote the handbook on all things provocative and sinister. The themes and imagery have always extended past the music itself. With their first album release in seven years there are a lot of expectations surrounding new album, ‘Esoteric Warfare.’ The band has had some colourful line-up changes in the past and this album also marks the first with their new guitarist Teloch, who has played with band’s such as Gorgoroth.

Starting with an air of suspense, ‘Watchers’ gives us a slow build up to the onslaught. The track encompasses calmer instrumental moments in the middle that are laced with the ferocious, croaky vocals of Attila, creating a real dark atmosphere. It is Mayhem after all.

Teloch, who is said to have written a lot of this album, has definitely had an impact on the sound of ‘Esoteric Warfare.’ A faster, exciting sound seeps through this full-length, setting it apart from previous works. Moments like ‘Psywar’ show off Teloch’s brilliant riffs and his overall dynamic manages to keep things interesting.

‘Pandaemon’ comes in as the shortest track on the record yet manages to be one of the most intense. In just a few minutes the song manages to annihilate your eardrums with brutality, and we mean that in the best way possible. The following vocal introduction to ‘Milab’ is that of a creepy, croaky voice that you would find in a horror movie. Equally, the different vocal styles and ranges that Attila showcases throughout only add to the compelling power.

Closer ‘Aion Suntalia’ gives the listener the chance to wind down with a less aggressive instrumental approach. However, bonus track, ‘Into The Lifeless,’ seems unecessary. 

Mayhem have managed to make another engaging album with ‘Esoteric Warfare’. While it doesn’t necessarily provide us with a unique or revolutionary sound, it is certainly enjoyable none the less with trademark intense sounds.

Conclusion

‘Esoteric Warfare’ is a powerful album. Mayhem have created an interesting roller coaster ride through the different sounds and styles of black metal.

Tracklisting

1. Watchers
2. Psywar
3. Trinity
4. Pandaemon
5. MILAB
6. VI.Sec.
7. Throne of Time
8. Corpse of Care
9. Posthuman
10. Aion Suntelia
11. Into The Lifeless (Bonus Track) 

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