“Whether this holds its own against Live in Liepzeg or Dawn of the Blackhearts is a matter of taste.”
Cursed in Eternity
From the Dark Past
Buried by Time and Dust
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Mayhem will be forever married to their co-dependence of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. The history and events surrounding the original 1994 studio release are common knowledge. When the hype is coupled to an album that would become iconic to an entire genre in both image and musicality, it created a premature apex for Mayhem. Beyond De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was clutter, from Wolf Lair’s Abyss to Esoteric Warfare, and no recorded material the band released afterwards has had the same militant following.
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive is the original 1994 studio album played in its entirety live, recorded during a Swedish performance in 2015. The importance of this record is up to the individual listener. Whether this holds its own against Live in Liepzeg or Dawn of the Blackhearts is a matter of taste. The other live releases by Mayhem are bad examples of capability.
The only measurable difference between the original studio release and live update is production quality. The ambiance is lifted in exchange for sterilized precision, the tonal quality is modern day, each instrument rings clearly, and Attila has a lot more effects on his vocals. Hearing the heavily produced versions of ‘Funeral Fog’ and ‘Pagan Fears’ is interesting, as well as the extended vocal capacity added to the title track. Details that were fighting for sonic control in the original release receive noticeable highlights in the update, such as the bass melody in ‘Life Eternal’ and the iconic solo in the second half of Freezing Moon.
The update in production lifts the atmospheric fog of the original recording and presents the guitar section as a mid-heavy compression system, exposing the already obvious phrasal narrative of the riffs to an even further degree, taking away some of the mystique. The bass tone remains like the original, fuzzy bedroom quality that’s significantly higher in the mix that the original. Hellhammer remains Hellhammer.
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive doesn’t scream cash-grab but it begs for it with puppy eyes at this point in Mayhem’s career. Diehard fans of the original recording who want an overproduced update of it will be pleased here. Fence riders will want to take into consideration that this is the antonym of Live in Leipzig. This is a competent and interesting listen, the lack of additional or ‘bonus’ material prevents it from becoming anything outside of a novelty release.