Mayhem 30th Anniversary Tour w/ Merrimack and Stahlsarg – 21st May 2014, London, UK

Few days before the date an update spread online about venue changes. Many of us thought it was changed due to a fire in Camden few nights before but according to rumours and unofficial sources the real reason to replace the gig from the Electric Ballroom to The Garage was simply the low tickets pre-sales. It is true though that less people look better in a smaller venue and this way Mayhem`s 30th Anniversary show didn’t turn into a small friendly clubbing.

For their debut English show Stahlsarg seemed to come well armed. It was their very first appearence in the UK after their first three shows ever in France and Belgium where they already prooved what they really can do. Tonight Stahlsarg was the only British supporter for the legendary Mayhem. I suppose I wasn’t the only person who discovered ’slight’ similarity in sounds, vocals and basic song elements with Eastern Front. After the members Destruction (drums), Krieg (guitars) and Metzger (vocals) left Eastern Front in 2013 they formed Stahlsarg, which was also influenced by WWII. But what’s the point to run two bands with the same ideas especially if the target audience is the same? Basicaly there is no difference between these two bands at all and this fact dissapointed me a bit. Of course it is also my fault because I didn’t spend hours with any research before I turned up so my expectation from them was to get something new instead of a replica. Stahlsarg harvests on the same fields where Eastern Front already does the job. Currently they are working on their debut album which will be released in 2015. I guess everyone who showed up tonight would give a chance to it and purchase the record. Despite the well known elements that Stahlsarg used with predilection they were precise and cruel enough to deserve our attention.

 

Merrimack is not a new thing. With its long lived background the band is considered as a well known underground horde from the old city of Paris. According to online database every newer Merrimack albums receive less and less positive feedbacks. To be completely honest I’m not familiar with the latest two releases but the album titled ’Of Entropy and Life Denial’ from 2006 is still a much liked piece of art for me. Merrimack has the skill to confuse the audience including me as well with its complex music. I just could not decide what was exactly what I heard from them. Let’s call it sorrow black metal. Most of the tracks they played are powered with storm fast speed and some of them stayed on mid-paced but the desperate figure of the vocalist doesn’t fitted perfectly into the concept. Most of the time frontman Vestal were kneeling in front of the crowd and veiling himself with facepalm. His name is also pretty much descriptive but I really don’t want to draw parallels betwen him joining the band in 2010 and the latest albums being a bit low rated. Aside from the constant mourning from the frontman the crowd doesn’t seemed to be bothered a lot with it. Anyway, there was no problem with the music.

I suppose there is no need to introduce or write a prologue about tonight’s most waited band. Of course Mayhem are not the same than it was back in the years when they called themselves The True Mayhem. I would use The New pre-name instead of the real one as it is more accurate nowadays. Probably the old era died and buried with Dead 23 years ago with the original ideology together. Anyway, there are shit loads of factors why this band should become more legendary and infamous than any other band in this dying world. Most of these factors are well known.

As usual Silvester Anfang’s hammering opened the ceremony. This track is just a perfect intro theme since 1987 and this time the venue’s technical facilities made it more powerful. The sound was pretty close to perfect and loud enough to feel the music for real. Our bodies functioned as an eardrum. Actually that is the main reason why we attend metal gigs.

All the five albums were represented during the show but they put more emphasis on the older ones. Songs like Freezing Moon and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas still keep the ancient spirit alive and brought the old times back. Though nostalgia is not the main goal of the band. The project of ‘The New Mayhem’ is a war against the human psyche. Attila Csihar’s outfit assisted to torture a few souls tonight as there were moments when his presence was really disturbing.

I do believe with the latest album Ordo Ad Chao (released in 2007) and the rejoining of Attila the band left the tiring and witless anti religious subjects and now they walk on a path which lead them to a more spiritual direction. The esoterical approach of the new album is unveiled by the title ’Esoteric Warfare’ and with the first published track ’Psywar’. It is sad and pretty much weird that the tour has been launched before the release date so the new album wasn’t available at the merch stand for those who planned to walk home tonight with the disc in theirs pocket. Since tonight’s gig it is already came out via Season of Mist.

Mayhem@The Garage

Don’t forget to check out the gallery here.

Mayhem’s setlist

Silvester Anfang
Pagan Fears
Deathcrush
Buried by Time and Dust
To Daimonion
Symbols of Bloodswords
My Death
A Time to Die
Psywar
Illuminate Eliminate
Whore
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Chainsaw Gutsfuck
Freezing Moon
Carnage
Pure Fucking Armageddon

Mayhem official site, Facebook

Merrimack official site, Facebook

Stahlsarg official site, Facebook

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