Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas – 25 Days of Christmas – Metal Countdown: Day 6

Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers gives us a holiday treat as he counts down 25 days till Christmas with 25  of his favorite must own metal and hard rock albums. Join us daily through December 25th to read the latest entry.

How many bands can you think of who released their debut album after they had disbanded?  This is exactly what the situation was when Mayhem released their full length studio debut De Mysterriis Dom Sathanas on May 24, 1994.  The drummer, Hellhammer, and vocalist, Attila Csihar, were the only ones who recorded the album who would have been available for comment at the time of its release.  Guitarist Euronymous had been murdered by bass player Count Grishnackh the previous August.  The Count’s trial was in process during the release of the album.  How crazy is that?

A lot of the songs on this album were actually written in 1989-1990, but it took till 1994 to get the album released due to tragedy within the band.  The lineup at that time consisted of Dead on vocals, Euronymous on guitar, Necrobutcher on bass, and Hellhammer on drums (everyone in black metal uses a stage name). Dead, also the chief lyricist, committed suicide in April 1991.  Euronymous then did some distasteful things after finding Dead’s body which caused Necrobutcher to leave the band. The lineup that recorded the album was solidified in late 1992 when Count Grishnackh of Burzum agreed to play bass and the band recruited Attila Csihar of Hungarian band Tormentor to do vocals. This lineup was short lived however due to the murder.

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Mayhem had already made a name for themselves in the music scene that would become known as Norwegian Black Metal with their 1987 EP Deathcrush. The band did a tour in 1990 which resulted in the album Live in Leipzig which was released in 1993 as a tribute to Dead. Their notorious live performances from that tour inspired other black metal artists and still causes a stir in the music world. Metallica’songs music for their song “ManUnkind” features a portrayal of Mayhem as the video’so characters.

Guitarist Euronymous’ playing helped define the sound of black metal with signature songs such as “Funeral Fog”, “Freezing Moon”, “Pagan Fears”, and “Life Eternal”. All four songs are all essential listening from De Mysterriis Dom Sathanas. If you are looking for a lesson in how to play extreme metal drums you need look no further than the work of Hellhammer on this album. I think hearing his drum playing is the highlight of this classic.

Mayhem regrouped a couple years after this album was released with Hellhammer and bass player Necrobutcher leading the way. They were joined by vocalist Maniac, who did vocals on the Deathcrush EP, and new guitarist Blasphemer. This lineup stayed together until 2007’s Ordo ad Chao album which saw the return of vocalist Attila Csihar.

Mayhem are beginning a North American tour next month playing De Mysterriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety. Metal Mofos will be doing a feature on the tour in February, but more on that later. This is a tour you will not want to miss if you are true kvlt fan of black metal.




Chief Of Operations, 31, lives in North VA but grew up in PA, married, baseball and metal. Kiss, Megadeth, Mötley Crüe, King Diamond, Mayhem, Mortification, Poison, P.O.D., Zao, King’s X, Demoniciduth, Led Zeppelin