Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

Dead on Arrival - "Esoteric Warfare" Review (3%)

Esoteric Warfare
Esoteric Warfare by Mayhem.

Everyone knows the story of Mayhem: young Oystein "Euronymous" Aarseth was stabbed to death by Varg Vikernes of Burzum after threatening him with torture and homosexual satanic rituals.

Following the incident, Euronymous' band, the ultra-cult Mayhem, dissolved and the name became synonymous with black metal in the extreme metal underground, most notably due to their debut full-length album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.

Sadly Attila, Hellhammer, Necrobutcher and newcomer Blasphemer were not content to leave this legacy as it was. Instead they reformed Mayhem in an attempt to recapture the glory of the past... and the money of the fans?

After a few releases, including the horribly shitty Ordo Ad Chao in 2007, the "new Mayhem" is back with their latest release Esoteric Warfare.

Is it good? No.

It sucks, plain and simple.

The new Mayhem project is laughable.

Attila may have been in the band once, but he was kicked out for a reason. Rumours suggest that Necrobutcher was also going to be kicked out of the band by Euronymous only days after Euronymous was killed.

And, well, Blasphemer seems to be exactly the kind of trendy goth metal fan that Euronymous would have hated when he was alive.

And yet all of these forces came together to somehow reform Mayhem?


The least they could have done is thought up a new name, something like "Gaygoroth" to go with Attila's cheesy cock-rock vocals. I'm not even sure that I can call this a black metal album, truthfully.

Esoteric Warfare is plastic black metal, made for plastic posers... and their money.

Dead on Arrival


Some will disagree but I believe that Deathcrush was good.

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was great.

A Grand Declaration of War was hesitant, but showed potential.

Ordo Ad Chao was absolute shit.

Can the new Mayhem go any lower? Of course it can.

Yes, you read that right, Esoteric Warfare is even worse than Ordo Ad Chao.

Esoteric Warfare is pure commercial garbage.

It bring nothing new to the table, musically or otherwise.

Necrobutcher is Necrobutcher as usual, Hellhammer is okay I guess, but the guitars are so mediocre, generic and uninspiring that any potential is immediately buried under a sea of shit. And to add insult to injury, Esoteric Warfare has a horrible, modern, compressed sound as well.

The riffing is also quite monotonous and it comes in basically two ways: either a fast palm muted chug on the E string or a try hard arpeggiated chord, and it's almost the same one over and over throughout the album.

With Burzum going out on a fairly high note in the metal department, and continuing to impress in his later endeavours, Darkthrone returning to a more serious form with Arctic Thunder and even Venom regaining some dignity with their last album Unholy, it really is tragic to see Mayhem end up like this.

Esoteric Warfare was destined to fail from the start due to its commercial aspirations, but the poor song writing and musicianship is just the final nail in the coffin.


Esoteric Warfare score: 3/100.

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