Mayhem “Ordo Ad Chao” (2007)

The anticipated and well publicized album harkening the return of Attila as the voice of Mayhem. Now although this is a band that firmly resides within the realm of Black Metal as oppossed to avantgarde, this is an album that takes a step in every direction. Where Chimera (previous album) was a more straight forward (comparatively speaking) Norwegian styled Black Metal release, the aptly titled Ordo ad Chao could very well reside on the other end of the spectrum from its predecessor. What Chimera lacked in spirit and individualism, Ordo ad Chao makes up for with sheer daring and reckless abandon.

The song structures and overall writing are audacious indeed, sounding like the members locked themselves in a room with their favorite hallucinogen, hit the record button, then played and wrote it all at once. Like a roller coaster to hell it dives and ascends with use of numerous stops and starts within many of the songs and no chorus’ or conventional writing. It does not play like a collection of singular songs but more like one song split into parts, and when listening to the album on repeat it is sometimes hard to know which track you are on. It compiles aspects of the chaotic movement and technical prowess of Grand Declaration and fuses it with a kind of free flowing playing style, wrapped within the atmosphere and darkness of De Mysteriis. It is an evolutionary step forward into the primordial ooze from where they came. If the universe collapsed again and then a new earth formed this would be the soundtrack of such a neo-sphere.

With Atilla back make no mistake this is not, as some may have hoped for, a repeat performance, a De Mysteriis Prt II. Atilla’s voice is of course a trademark but on this album he brings more than that to the proverbial table. At times psychotic but always dynamic and dark, this is his Oscar performance as the narrator for Chaos. This is also a personae embraced in a live setting as his stage performance seems to be a perfect compliment to the chaotic insanity of the music.

The drumming is as expected from a drummer with a resume such as Hellhammer. His timing is tight but the playing is almost loose, more like a jam session than a studio recording. On his forum he stated that the drums are all natural except for the bass drum which had to be triggered in order to have the clarity when going 300 bpm (you read that right). It’s no wonder that the American tour was cancelled due to his inability to perform, cause no one else could have done it.

Apparently the bass was recorded by guitarist Blasphemer ostensibly in order to see his complete vision to fruition.

Now although a phenomenally written and performed album understandably some may be taken aback by the production and its very low muddled sound. That is to say that the mixing of the album is great but that the CD does not sound as if it was mastered, or at least not very well. So one can either enjoy it as it is presented, or turn the treble up on your listening format of choice, or download a music editing program and turn up the treble on each individual track and then burn your newly re-mastered CD. Whichever method you choose this is a piece that dares you to take a step within and requires above all an open mind, a dark room, and if necessary, a mental enhancement of choice.

A whirling shapeless thing, clawing at you from the deepest pits and abysses of the human soul and the voids outside of our understanding… Scorched black tentacles with chainsaws attached shredding your mind… Dissonant chords strung over chaotic, aimless riffs, devoid of any kind of normal progression or musical shape… The hellhammers float around, disjointed rolls abruptly cutting off the crackling rumbling beats… (nowhere to be found is the trademark Hellhammer sound, fortunately, the percussion sound surprisingly acoustic.)

The prodigal son Attila is the deranged scientist/sorcerer, who gazed a bit too long into the Abyss, seeing too many unspeakable things therein to regain his sanity… Tormented shouts turning into maddened laughter… From barytone proclamations of impending doom to ghastly inhuman squeals and howls to the deepest chants and growls from the maw of Nihil… Voices speaking of humankinds littleness against the forces of the universe; apocalyptic magick spells and mythological chaos-salutations… Praising the fall of civilisation in anti-religious misanthropy and exhaustion of grief and wrath… The guitarwork may be fierce and menacing, but this creation is still thoroughly vibrating with melancholy; like a saddened deity longing for warmth and understanding, only able to spread disease, turmoil and strife to the world in its desperation.

After the clinical sound of its most recent predecessors, Ordo Ad Chao is draped in a filthy damp production, which may deter some listeners. To me, this is preferable, the production (by Mr. Knut Valle) forcing you to really listen and fall into the music. Not easily accesible, as extreme metal should be. For the first time in over ten years, can the Blasphemer step out of the ominous shadow that is the legacy of Euronymus; Ordo Ad Chao is a darkness so complete and possessed that it can compete with the swansong of the Prince of Darkness and Death. For the first time in many years can Mayhem truly claim their name and title. This is nothing but the True Mayhem.



Release:  2007
Label:  Season Of Mist
Avantgenre:  Abysmally Surging Blackest Metal Of Truest DEATH
Duration:  40:46
Origin:  Norway/Hungary
Official site:
Review online since:  16.12.2007 / 13:04:48


1. A Wise Birthgiver
2. Wall Of Water
3. Great Work Of Ages
4. Deconsecrate
5. Illuminate Eliminate
6. Psychic Horns
7. Key To The Storms
8. Anti

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