2016 has been quite a year for Norway’s Mayhem, one of black metal’s most notorious and stalwart bands. Firstly, they’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut De Mysteriis Dom Sathanus by performing the album in its entirety, around the world. Amidst the rubble of Bristol’s ill-fated Temples Festival, your humble blogger managed to catch one of these historic performances – a no-nonsense blast through the 46 minute masterpiece, supplemented by extra snippets of Atilla’s rich baritone incantations between songs. While his vocals were always going to be the most prominent feature – gargling, rasping, demented and genuinely disturbing when heard live – it’s easy to forget how much groove there is in tracks like ‘Pagan Fears’ and ‘Freezing Moon’. While the demise of Temples will be felt for a long time, at least us lucky few got to witness this in a relatively-tiny, 400 capacity venue.
Also, coinciding with these shows, Mayhem released the long-awaited book Death Archives: Mayhem 1984-94, written by the band’s only surviving founding member, bass-player Necrobutcher. This lavish coffee-table tome details the band’s early years through many unpublished photographs and a commentary, and promises to be a revealing and intimate account of the band’s early years that contrasts with that provided in the sensationalist classic Lords of Chaos (1998).
Following a successful late night launch at London record store Rough Trade East, with Necrobutcher in discussion with Sonic Youth’s Thursten Moore, selected photos from Death Archives were exhibited at the London-based store Tender Books. Situated round the corner from Leicester Square tube, this small store “supports independent artist publications, artist research and original print editions”, and is currently stocked with a great selection of items relating to the extreme metal content of the exhibition, including the beautifully designed and printed journal/zine Buried about the South East Asian death metal scene.
Here is a selection of images from the exhibition, demonstrating the suitably dark underground space chosen for the event:
Mayhem continues the De Mysteriis dom Sathanus tour around Europe and South America later in the year.
The Death Archives by Jørn “Necrobutcher” Stubberud with Svein Strømmen & Christian Belgaux is available to order from Tender Books, priced £30.
“Published by Ecstatic Peace Library with afterword by Thurston Moore. Release date 6 June 2016. Ecstatic Peace Library is an art and culture press founded by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and visual book editor Eva Prinz in 2010. Hardcover, 191 x 266 mm, 255pp.”