Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando by Mayhem

Release date: July 9, 2021
Label: Century Media Records

Unless you have been stuck in your own solitary pandemic lockdown for the past 36 or so years you should be more than familiar with Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem and the chaotic whirlwind that revolves around their existence. Open any black metal book or view any documentary and there will likely be a detailed account of said chaos, so I won’t need to go there for this review.

Coming hot off the heels of Daemon, their most lauded release since De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Mayhem unleash a tidy little EP entitled Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando, with seven tracks of mayhemic metal. Featured on the EP are one unreleased track, two from the Daemon sessions that previously feature on special editions of the album and finally four cover tracks.

Unreleased track ‘Voces Ab Alta’ creeps in with sinister strings, building up to a satisfying hit of blastbeats and Attila’s hissing snarls. The skippy, slow and trve march of drum beats brings instant Nordic nostalgia with angular Emperor-esque picks. With Attila’s raspy vocals and wailing calls it’s a Mayhem track through and through. It’s a solid track, catchy and very memorable. ‘Black Glass Communion’ and ‘Everlasting Dying Flame’ were deemed unsuitable for Daemon and left for special editions, which is a surprise seeing as they are two devastatingly on-point tracks and some of their most fiery work, with the former especially featuring a dissonant tremolo and blastbeat duet assault that shows the veterans haven’t cooled it down over the years.

 

Black metal is rooted in punk so it’s no surprise that Mayhem chose a few punk covers, paying homage to some of the leading rebels of that vintage era and rounding off the EP nicely. Short-lived vocalist Billy Messiah takes over vocal duties on the feisty Discharge track ‘In Defense Of Our Future’, and the uber-punky ‘Hellnation’ by Dead Kennedys features another former vocalist, Maniac, channelling his best Jello Biafra. Attila returns to spew forth ‘Only Death’ by Rudimentary Peni and does a commendable job bringing ‘Commando’ by The Ramones to life.

The three Mayhem tracks are blistering, bringing fire and fury but it’s the playful punk covers that ignite the real interest that makes this release particularly great. This EP will satiate fans until a new album comes and likely gives die-hard supporters a glimpse into Mayhem breaking the barriers of what they are perceived to be and taking a dive into what inspired much of their early output.

Daemon was Mayhem at the top of their game, and with Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando, Mayhem continue that thrill ride and inject a little fun into the mix.

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