» Mayhem 2011 02 26  
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Reviewed by Bjorn
Special guests: Marduk, Nifelheim, Assault
City: Strömstad, Sweden
Venue: Restaurang Skagerack
Date: 26 February 2011
Assault set length: 45 minutes
Nifelheim set length: 45 minutes
Marduk set length: 75 minutes
Mayhem set length: 75 minutes


Local "blackdeath-metal" band Assault is the first to enter the stage tonight, wearing executioner's masks during the first couple of songs. Being from the same city as Dissection, the influences are obvious and towards the end of the set they play a cover of Heaven's Damnation which, to be honest, didn't really do much for me. They have some pretty good songs of their own and with the musical similarities already there, a cover almost gives the feeling of a Dissection tribute band. However, they do a good job warming up the crowd and I might actually check out their debut album a little closer.

5 chalices of 10


Obsessed By Darkness
The Slave
Prayers And Lies Become Silent
Heaven's Damnation (Dissection cover)
Eating Hobby
Angels Of Death Calling You


When the hardest (and probably most handsome) band in the world finally enters the stage, luck isn't on their side. After a temporary microphone problem, which results in an involuntarily instrumental Black Curse, the show continues for three more songs before all microphones seemingly die. The frustration onstage grows and nothing seems to happen while the band keeps jamming, and eventually leave the stage, while waiting for a solution.

It takes about fifteen minutes to get the microphones working again and sadly that time is cut from the set. The band, however, doesn't let this ruin the gig and as soon as everything is working again they resume the show as if nothing ever happened, with amazing energy and a great choice of songs. Peter Stjärnvind (Insulter of Jesus Christ) behind the drums is worth an honorary mention as his dynamic drumming really takes the music to another level, and overall the entire band put on an amazing performance.

…and with a short yet subtle "Fuck you" they leave the stage.

7,5 chalices of 10


Black Curse
Unholy Death
Satanic Sacrifice
Infernal Flame Of Destruction
Evil Blasphemies
Demonic Evil
Bestial Avenger
Storm Of The Reaper
Possessed By Evil


After what seems like forever, an hour to be more specific, the stage is finally set up for Marduk. They open up the show with the amazing On Darkened Wings and from the first second, you know these guys mean business.

Among with Attila Csihar of Mayhem, Mortuus is in my opinion the best black metal vocalist today and what really amazes me about him is, apart from that he seemingly can do anything with his voice, that he actually sounds as good live as he does on records. Guitarist and founder Morgan Håkansson also deserves a lot of credit tonight as he does an impressive job, being the only guitarist and still creating such a rich an atmospheric sound.

Speaking of the sound, it is absolutely flawless and the setlist even better, mixing old songs with new ones and fast songs with… Superfast ones. By the end, during Throne Of Rats, Mortuus raises the blood-filled chalice, pours its contents over himself and spits out a mouthful over the audience. By that moment I realize that my choice in wearing a white t-shirt wasn't that thought through.

However, Marduk is on fire tonight and closing the set with Panzer Division Marduk is just brilliant beyond words. I can safely say that this is one of the best black metal concerts I've even attended.

9 chalices of 10


On Darkened Wings
Into Utter Madness
The Levelling Dust
Steel Inferno
The Black
Baptism By Fire
Phosphorous Redeemer
Materialized In Stone
Beyond The Grace Of God
With Satan And Victorious Weapons
The Sun Has Failed
Bleached Bones
Throne Of Rats
Panzer Division Marduk


It's way past one o' clock when Mayhem, the main attraction of the evening, enter the stage. Three pig heads are hanging from the ceiling and Attila is looking scary as ever in his black cape, leather jacket and corpse paint. As I mentioned earlier he is one of my favourite black metal vocalists. He has an unparalleled stage presence and the last time I saw Mayhem, in Gothenburg in 2009, they exceeded all my expectations and I was at loss for words afterwards. Tonight I'm not as excited when I leave the venue.

The setlist is identical to the last gig in Gothenburg, with From The Dark Past changed to Cursed In Eternity. I had, to be honest, hoped for more changes but considering what a great list of songs it is; it's almost a shame to complain about it.

But surely keeping a setlist isn't enough to be disappointed at a band's live performance? No, absolutely not, but something is just not right this time around. First of all, the crowd is pretty tired considering the time and after witnessing three impressive performances already.

The biggest problem I have, however, is actually the guitarists. Former live guitarist Silmaeth recently left and his replacement, Teloch, is far from as good. I frequently get the feeling that the two guitarists are playing different songs and none of them seem to incorporate the "ghostly" playing style that is essential in the more atmospheric songs.

Their sterile playing actually manages to ruin both Illuminate Eliminate and Freezing Moon completely and since those are two of my favourite Mayhem song, it's a great shame. Furthermore, this Teloch actually stops playing in the middle of a song to signal to the guards that somebody is smoking inside. Really? That's worth ruining a song for?

No, this wasn't what I had hoped for. It was nice seeing some pig heads, Attila is a phenomenal frontman and Hellhammer does a good job from behind what looks like two tons of drums but this could have been so much better.

5 chalices of 10


Pagan Fears
Ancient Skin
My Death
Cursed In Eternity
A Time To Die
View From Nihil
Illuminate Eliminate
Freezing Moon
Crystalized Pain In Deconstruction
Silvester Anfang
Buried By Time And Dust
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Pure Fucking Armageddon

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