A night of Norwegian black metal is at hand. One of the most important albums of the genre is being hailed up high. Mayhem is playing two nights in a row at Sentralen in Oslo, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, from beginning to end.
As I enter the marbled halls of Sentralen, (which is located not too far away from where Euronymous had his Helvete) the lights are dimmed and a dark purple silhouette of the mighty Nidarosdomen from the album cover is seen on the backdrop. Yes, welcome to the elder ruins again. Bells chime out across the venue and the incantation of De Mysteriis has begun. For some reason people around me are still continuing to talk and laugh about non-important matters. The sound of their tongues quickly drown as the guitars and drums fills the room with the grip of Funeral Fog.
My main concern before this concert was if whether Hellhammer was going to use his usual drum sound, which I’m not a big fan of, or if he was going for the sound he uses on the actual album. I was, to say the least, very pleased when I heard the drums sounding just like it did in 1992-93 when the album was recorded. From the point where I was standing, the sound was perfect from the first to the last second of the gig.
As Freezing Moon starts, people cheer in excitement. A moon appears above the dome in the background and a freezing chill enters my body in form of goosebumps. A painting on the stage, which looks very much like Dead with his blond hair, lights up and stays that way during the entire song. Those 6 minutes of Freezing Moon was magical, and Attila does his vocals in an incredibly impressive manner.
The song ends and ambience of something burning are soaring out from the stage. If you closed your eyes for a few seconds during this segment, images of burning churches were imminent and just enhanced the brilliance of Cursed In Eternity.
The only light during this entire seance is the purple light which illuminates the Nidaros cathedral, with small spotlights casting shadows here and there. There are no lights on the individuals on stage, a very effective way of doing this special event, only 100% focus on the album at hand. And as Attila screams during Life Eternal “The past is alive!”, I felt that truer words have not been sung in years.
On stage there were four paintings of which one I thought looked very much like Dead, as already mentioned. Another one of them looked similar to Euronymous, but I can’t confirm that, could have been wishful thinking. The only hint I got of this was during Buried by Time and Dust, in which Attila went over to both of these paintings and seemed to make a respectful gesture. Yes, buried by time and dust, indeed.
This tremendous hour of darkness is closer to the end, and as a piano is heard in the background playing the main melody of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, people behind me were still talking and paying no attention at all. I was standing quite a long way back, but still, these people are most probably just leeches who know someone that got them in on the guest list and just want to hang around such as special event because it’s a “cool” thing to do, knowing nothing. A bad taste in my mouth.
The piano ends and one of the most recognizable riffs in Norwegian black metal history enters the marbled halls.
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas live has always been a pleasure when seeing Mayhem in the past, but this time around is was so much more. The whole setting, the sound, the feeling, it was truly alive. And as Attila does his chilling clean vocals during this opus, thoughts goes out to norwegian black metal, church burnings, murder, suicide, media, circus…22 years has gone since this record was released, and we are still haunted by it, for better and for worse. It’s a milestone, and some might say that this is not The True Mayhem. Well, this was De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas sung and played by certain individuals who were a part of it back then, and made me and a lot people whom I know hold the album dear, astonished and respectful, regardless.
The concert ends, Mayhem walks off the stage, and does not return.
Hail De Mysteriis Dom Satahanas.
Words by U.
Live picture by Monica Løvald