Live at The Wiltern Theater
Los Angeles, CA
March 8th, 2022
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Mayhem return to North America bringing their dark ritual to the masses once more. One of the founders of the Black Metal scene in the 1980's, they continue to burn bright, entrancing audiences with one of the best live performances; not only of this genre, but the music world at large.
Much has been written, photographed, and documented of their long (and at times sordid) history which can easily be found online. Rather than treading through the past, focus is better spent on the present. Their ability to put on such a moving show is why they maintain such a solid following (this evening's show was sold out) and their music continues to have relevancy in an ever changing world.
Mayhem were initially going to be touring with Watain, a band nearly as notorious as themselves but unfortunately Visa issues are still plaguing artists even as the pandemic recedes.
In retrospect, having them both on one stage might have been too much, as Mayhem's three act performance was intense and relentless, washing over the audience and leaving everyone speechless as it concluded - followed by a joyous exodus from the venue in camaraderie and exclamations of how amazing the show was.
Mayhem's current lineup has been together for over a decade and shines with talent and presence. Eldest ranking of the members includes the nefarious Necrobutcher on bass guitar followed by the renowned drummer, Hellhammer.
Attila Csihar has been the front man for nearly 20 years, and to me is far and above their other vocalists, deserving a lot of the credit for the intensity of their live performances. Rounding out the band with the essential guitar duties are Teloch and Ghul, whose relentless work put the audience in awe.
The set was broken down into three acts. The first act focused on songs from their latest album, "Daemon" as well as a number of fan favorites from "Chimera", "Grand Declaration of War" and "Wolf's Lair Abyss". Attila wore a bloody devil's face and evil pope-like garb. His voice fluctuating between snarls, hisses, growls, and chants as he gestured out magical symbols traced in the air with fingers and a skeletal scepter.
The second act featured songs entirely from 1994's "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" including the outstanding "Freezing Moon" and "Buried by Time and Dust". The backdrop behind them changed to the haunted monument from this album's cover and everyone in the band donned black hooded robes for this segment.
The third and final act focused on the infamous "Deathcrush" EP. Atilla still had makeup on but wore a vest covered in spikes and was the most visible of the three pieces. The banner in the back was changed to a large red field with the tell-tale band logo from their earliest release.
Sixteen songs in total, they covered their entire career and put on a brilliant performance bathed in atmosphere and captured all of the mystique and magic that is Mayhem. I highly recommend seeing these guys live, they actually live up to the history and hype.
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