Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
Mayhem is a band whose career has spanned 20 years now, although you’d never know it by looking at their discography. With Chimera being only their sixth real studio release, the band obviously takes their sweet time when putting out a new album. It’s even been four years since their last release, A Grand Declaration of War, dropped in 2000. With their last album taking turns into a slightly electronic and slower direction, it signified the arrival of a new Mayhem. However, Chimera will quickly bring you back to the days of the old with its fiery and blasphemous tones, except with a recording that doesn’t sound like it was made in a YMCA locker room.
Now I have to say that I liked A Grand Declaration of War, although I know many others didn’t and were quick to scream “untrue”. So maybe this release will appease the black metal underground once again. This is venomous, hate filled, and blazing fast black metal, just the way the north used to make it. No sissy-ass keyboards, no electronics, no opera singing, just unholy speed. Blasphemer’s guitar riffs are swift and get the job done. They will shred your skin and take time to creep along at times and make quick work of what is left. In addition, yes, it happened, you can actually hear the bass in a black metal album. In fact, the band even takes a break so you can clearly hear the heavy bass line tossed out by Necrobutcher in the song “Impios Devios Leper Lord”. Anyone slightly familiar with Mayhem knows that Hellhammer has the chops behind the kit. He can keep up with the best of them, and rightfully so as he has been setting the bar since the early days of extreme metal. On vocals, Maniac has a truly sinister voice, crisp and raspy almost at once, like the hiss of a snake, and his voice will send shivers down your spine.
I have to say that I am utterly surprised with this album. I had no idea what to really expect, but what is offered I am thoroughly pleased with. I have to say I even enjoy it more so thsn its predecessor in the fact that I think this band excels further when shredding in the old-style of black metal. If you are a fan of Marduk and the like, then this is right up your alley. Definitely, check this out as I see it making a very worthy addition to my collection of black metal.