Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band which was originally formed in 1983. The first band members were two schoolmates, Manheim on drums and Necrobutcher on bass. The name "Mayhem" was taken from the title of the Venom song "Mayhem With Mercy". Much controversy has surrounded the band regarding various murders, suicides, and other forms of violence. Mayhem has moved through a variety of black metal styles, even going so far as delving into the areas of dark avant-garde industrial and electronica. The group (at least in its earliest incarnation; 1983-1993) is widely considered one of the cornerstone bands in the Norwegian black metal movement.
Mayhem was formed in 1983 by Necrobutcher and Manheim with the intent to create utterly violent and chaotic music. The two schoolmates were particularly inspired by the British band Venom, which touched on taboo themes like Satanism and evil. Necrobutcher and Manheim, however, took the violence and Satanic image much more seriously. In 1984, the two boys met Řystein Aarseth, then going by the name Destructor. Upon joining the band, Řystein changed his pseduonym to Euronymous, which he claimed meant "Prince Of Death" in Greek. In 1986 Mayhem recorded two demos, Voice Of A Tortured Skull and Pure Fucking Armageddon, both featuring a session vocalist called Messiah. Early Mayhem lyrics were violent and disgusting, and at times similar to those of death metal bands of the "gore and splatter" variety. The early demos were of extremely poor recording quality (an aspect common to early black metal releases). There have even been misconceptions as to whether the Pure Fucking Armageddon recording contains vocal tracks because the singing is so buried in the mix.
When Euronymous and Necrobutcher recruited Maniac for vocal duties, the band settled in to record another demo, this time an EP called Deathcrush. In 1987 the legendary album was released, but only 1,000 copies were pressed (it was later reprinted in 1993 for Deathlike Silence Productions, the record label founded by Euronymous). Mayhem continued dealing with themes of violence and gore in this time period, but Euronymous' fascination with evil was beginning to manifest itself in the band's work. During the summer of 1988 both Manheim and Maniac left Mayhem – Manheim to pursue a love interest and become a businessman, and Maniac due to depression and a failed suicide attempt. Shortly afterward their positions were filled by Dead on vocals and Hellhammer on drums. Dead was a Swede previously from the band Morbid. He was strongly fascinated (as his stage name indicates) by death, decay, and darkness. Even Euronymous described Dead as mentally unstable and possibly schizophrenic. Dead became well known for his strange behavior: he buried a set of clothes for months underground so that he could wear decaying rags onstage at Mayhem shows. He also kept a rotting raven in a plastic bag so that he could "inhale the scent of death" before each song he performed. It was Dead's morbid fascinations and antics that infected Mayhem with a musical new atmosphere; at this point the band's lyrics moved away from gore and more toward Satanism, darkness, depression, and evil. As Count Grishnackh later stated, "Until Hellhammer and Dead joined the band in 1989, Mayhem was a shitty, 'fun', hobby-band. If you read the lyrics on their Deathcrush album you'll know what I mean." The new lineup with Dead and Hellhammer was quickly to become the band's most famous. After some live gigs in Norway and Germany (where Live in Leipzig was recorded) Mayhem started working on their first full length album: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
In 1991, Dead committed suicide by means of a shotgun blast to the head (he had also slit his wrists several times). The bullets which he used had been sent to him by Count Grishnackh (the sole member of the black metal band Burzum and the man who later killed Euronymous), who apparently thought this was cool but denied having any advance knowledge of the suicide. Dead's body was discovered, along with a suicide note reading "Excuse all the blood", in a back room of the band's house. Euronymous quickly took pictures (which later appeared in the booklets for several subsequent Mayhem releases and other bands' materials) of the bloody scene using a polaroid camera. Persistent rumors assert that he then cooked and ate pieces of Dead's brain, and that fragments of Dead's skull were collected and forged into necklaces by both Euronymous and Hellhammer. In 1993 Live in Leipzig was released as the band's tribute to Dead. The release was followed by the famous bootleg Dawn Of The Black Hearts. Its cover featured a photo of Dead's corpse after the suicide. After Dead's suicide and all of the police and media attention it garnered, Necrobutcher made the decision to leave Mayhem, thinning the band's ranks down to just two.
Later that year, the official recording of Mayhem's upcoming album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas began. In Dead's and Necrobutcher's absences, Atilla Csihar handled vocals, and – chillingly enough – Count Grishnackh played bass. After the recording was completed, Count Grishnackh set out with the intent to murder Euronymous. He had apparently lent a large sum of money to Euronymous (and had argued with him several times), and was jealous of his evil reputation. One morning he traveled along with Blackthorn (of the band Thorns) to Euronymous' apartment. There he stabbed Euronymous to death with a viking knife. The autopsy revealed that Euronymous had suffered twenty-three stab wounds: two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back. Grishnackh left a key piece of evidence, however: a copy of a record contract (used as the pretense for his visit to Euronymous) with his bloody fingerprints on it. Soon Grishnackh was apprehended by police and charged with murder. He continued in prison to record for his one-man project Burzum. With only Hellhammer remaining, Mayhem ceased to exist.
In 1994, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was released and formally dedicated to Euronymous. Its tardy release was due to a complaint filed by Euronymous' parents; they detested the release of the album as long as it contained Count Grishnackh's bass tracks. Contrary to popular belief, however, Hellhammer did not re-record Grishnackh's bass-lines, they were left untouched on the album – despite the complaint. In late 1995 Hellhammer decided to reform the band with the help of a new guitarist called Blasphemer and two former Mayhem members: Maniac and Necrobutcher. The first release of this new lineup was an EP titled Wolf's Lair Abyss in 1997 followed by a some live shows in the next few years. One of these shows, which took place in Milan, Italy, guest starred Atilla Csihar, and was recorded for the Mediolanum Capta Est live album.
In 2000 the band's second full length CD was released, called Grand Declaration Of War. The album was concept-based, dealing with themes of war and post-apocalyptic destruction. It was seen by some as an attempt to recreate and redefine black metal; by others it was rejected for its bold and pretentious avant-garde electronic elements.
After a four year silence, Mayhem has released a new album titled Chimera. It shows a return to a more raw, brutal style, but has been updated with pristine production value, quite in contrast to the band's early recordings. Chimera still maintains a slight progressive edge, however, which is revealing itself gradually as one of Blasphemer's songwriting tendencies.
In 2004, Mayhem's singer Maniac was forced to leave the band, due to his unwillingness to tour. Attila Csihar returned as their new singer.
- Deathcrush [EP] - (1987)
- De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas - (1994)
- Wolf's Lair Abyss [EP] - (1997)
- Grand Declaration Of War - (2000)
- Chimera - (2004)
Live and compilation releases
- Live In Leipzig [Live] - (1991)
- Out From The Dark [Compilation] - (1996)
- Ancient Skin / Necrolust [Compilation] - (1997)
- Necrolust / Total Warfare [Split CD] - (1999)
- Mediolanum Capta Est [Live] - (1999)
- European Legions [Compilation] - (2001)
- U.S. Legions [Compilation] - (2001)
- Live In Marseille 2000 [Live] - (2001)
- Freezing Moon / Jihad [Split CD] - (2002)
- The Studio Experience [Box Set] - (2002)
- Legions Of War [Compilation] - (2003)
Demos and bootlegs
- Voice Of A Tortured Skull [Demo] - (1986)
- Pure Fucking Armageddon [Demo] - (1986)
- Live Zeitz [Bootleg] - (1990)
- Dawn Of The Black Hearts [Bootleg] - (1991)
- Includes the legendary performance in Sarpsborg in 1990 with Dead, as well as Mayhem's first ever live performance in Lillehammer in 1986. The cover is one of the photos of Dead's suicide taken by Euronymous.
- From The Darkest Past [Bootleg] - (1993)
- An instrumental rehearsal from the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas period, including most of the tracks from said album.
- A Tribute To The Black Emperors [Bootleg - Split w/Morbid] - (1994)
- Includes the December Moon demo of Dead's previous band, Morbid, released in 1987. It also features a compilation of Mayhem tracks: "Necrolust" from Deathcrush, "Funeral Fog" from Live in Leipzig, and "The Freezing Moon" and "Carnage," from the Projections of a Stained Mind compilation released on CBR Records in 1991. The tracks from the Projections of a Stained Mind compilation are the only two studio songs Mayhem ever recorded with Dead on vocals.
- In Memorium [Bootleg] - (1996)
- Includes a 1991 rehearsal featuring the "classic" lineup of Euronymous, Dead, Necrobutcher, and Hellhammer, an instrumental rehearsal from 1992 featuring Varg Vikernes on bass, and a rehearsal from 1991, after Dead's suicide, featuring the short-lived member Stian Occultus on bass and vocals.
- Atilla Csihar - Vocals - (1993, 2004-)
- Blasphemer (Rune Eriksen) - Guitar - (1995-)
- Necrobutcher (Jorn Stubberud) - Bass - (1983-1993, 1995-)
- Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg) - Drums - (1988-)
- Maniac (Sven Erik Kristiansen) - Vocals - (1986-1988, 1995-2004)
- Messiah (Eirik Nordheim) - Vocals - (1986)
- Dead (Pelle Yngve Ohlin) - Vocals - (1988-1991)
- Euronymous (Řystein Aarseth) - Guitar - (1983-1993)
- Blackthorn (Snorre Ruch) - Guitar - (1993)
- Occultus (Stian Johannsen) - Bass/Vocals - (1991)
- Count Grishnackh (Kristian (later Varg) Vikernes) - Bass - (1993)
- Manheim (Kjetil Manheim) - Drums - (1983-)
- Torben (Torben Grue) - Drums - (1987)
- Bathory - A Swedish thrash metal band and a large source of musical inspiration for Mayhem.
- Burzum - The primary band of Count Grishnackh, who murdered Euronymous and played bass on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
- Darkthrone - An early 1990s black metal band inspired by Mayhem; its members were part of the original inner circle.
- Emperor - A well-known symphonic black metal band with members in Euronymous' inner circle.
- Morbid - Vocalist Dead's original band before he joined Mayhem.
- Thorns - The primary black metal band of Blackthorn, who indirectly aided in the murder of Euronymous.
- Venom - An English heavy metal band which inspired Manheim and Necrobutcher, the original Mayhem members.
- Season of Mist - Mayhem's record label
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details