The legends of Norwegian Black Metal, Mayhem, are back with a new album, Ordo Ab Chao, and the return of singer Attila Csihar, who hasn't recorded with the band since 1993, replacing the departed Maniac. Ordo Ab Chao is Latin for "order of chaos", a fitting title for this bleak and evil sounding black metal release. In fact, much of the album has a certain cold and chilling ambience that is a trademark of the genre, yet don't expect non-stop blast beats and rapid fire riffing. Sure, there's plenty of that, but Mayhem throws in heaping amounts of doom & gloom, which adds tons of variety to this disturbing stew of malevolence.
Whether you prefer Attila's vocals to those of Maniac's is purely up to you. Attila is for sure an acquired taste, as his bloodcurdling shrieks and inhuman growls will not be for everyone, but you can't argue he fits the music well. Take "Great Work of Ages" for example, an epic sounding black metal tour-de-force that fluctuates between evil speed riffs and more doomy passages, which the singer goes back and forth between high pitched demonic wails and more tortured, gravelly moans. You'd be hard pressed to believe it's the same guy spewing both styles. Fans of classic old school black metal will love the primal sounds of "Deconsecrate", a brutal number with Hellhammer blazing away on the drums. In fact, Hellhammer's drum work is nothing short of amazing throughout this release, as not only does he kill with the blast beats, but he also throws in plenty of intricate, almost tribal fills, at various times, especially on some of the more quieter and atmospheric sections. Listen to his cunning textures on "Wall of Water", and complex patterns on "Psychic Horns"; let's face it, this guy is a genius behind the kit.
The band also has seemed to up the technicality and progressive nature on this album, as tunes like "Illuminate Eliminate" and "Key To The Storms" just seem to take the traditional black metal blueprint and kick things up a notch. "Anti" is as brutal as it gets, led by insane blast beats, Blasphemer's massive guitar riffs, and the gore soaked screams from Attila. When it's all said and done, you'll be wiping your brow, taking a deep breath, and preparing to jump into the boiling armageddon that is Ordo Ab Chao once again. Mayhem are back folks, and are ready to annihilate anything in their path. Along with the new release from Marduk, this one is sure to shake up the black metal world.
01. A Wise Birthgiver
02. Wall Of Water
03. Great Work Of Ages
05. Illuminate Eliminate
06. Psychic Horns
07. Key To The Storms