Mayhem
Ordo Ad Chao


4.0
excellent

Review

by Angel STAFF
May 4th, 2010 | 41 replies | 9,802 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Imagine that – Attila returns and Mayhem put out their best release since De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.

Mayhem is a band with an interesting history, to say the least, and after founding guitarist Euronymous’ murder, it was unclear what would come of the influential group. However, the ubiquitous metal percussionist Hellhammer has managed to keep one of the oldest black metal bands for another sixteen years, albeit with plenty of personnel changes. In that time, Mayhem have offered up releases of varying quality, none coming close to rivaling their landmark 1994 album – except one.

“Ordo ad chao” is an incorrect Latin translation meant to read “ordo ad chaos” or “order to chaos,” and that is precisely what the band delivers. One might have assumed that with Attila back, the band would rehash some of the second wave ideals that established their legacy, and how wrong they would be. With unorthodox song structures and more dissonant passages than you can shake a stick at, Ordo ad Chao is a stark departure from anything the band has attempted previously. Mayhem show they can do dissonant and avant garde black metal better than the bands that have made a career out of it.

The production and overall atmosphere of the album lends itself to the thought of being in an ancient torture chamber: dark, wet and full of despair. In fact, you can almost smell the blood and sweat. Hellhammer is quoted as saying, "the production sounds necro as ***, but that's the way we wanted it – this time. It represents Mayhem today." And “necro as ***” it is. With the most bass-heavy mix since Deathcrush, Hellhammer’s drumming and Blasphemer’s basslines unrelentingly pummel the listener into submission while the droning guitar riffs provide the backdrop for another memorable and inhuman vocal performance from Attila.

Little has been said for the technicality of this album, and make no mistake – Ordo ad Chao is extremely technical. Blasphemer serves up creative and interesting guitar riffs, often tremolo-picked at speeds rivaling 1349’s Archaon. And while the guitar passages are impressive, they serve to sculpt the atmosphere of the album and don’t command too much attention. Though Necrobutcher is credited in the album inserts, Blasphemer has claimed to have also laid down bass for Ordo ad Chao. Hellhammer outdoes himself for this release, giving what may be his best performance yet. The drumming is, at times, as fast as Frost’s but far more creative. His bludgeoning double-bass paired with insane fills and impressive cymbal work is a delight to behold. The drumming on this album almost suggests as if Hellhammer has had formal jazz training. The always unorthodox Attila is even more so on Ordo ad Chao. His vocals sounded nothing like his contemporaries in the early 90s and the vocals on this album sound nothing like anything around today. Attila conveys bleak lyrics through a wide variation of vocal styles that can only be described as pure evil. Croaks, hisses, squeals, grunts, and shrieks are utilized in almost gut-wrenching effectiveness. The sum of these rather prodigious parts yields a sinister product that can take time to fully appreciate.

This album stands in a class of one, unique as it is. The listener abandons the notion of songs in favor of the overall feel of the album. That feel has nothing to do with winter or nature – only suffering. Mayhem may be the signature second wave black metal band, but it is also a band that has never known trends and certainly not compromise. Here they remind us of that once again, presenting new ideas for a new era of black metal. Ordo ad Chao is indeed an album that may take some time for growing, but given the chance, you may find that in time you give it as many spins as DMDS.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2010



16135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I finally decided to quit being lazy and actually write a review. Hope you all enjoy it.

Hopefully we can expect to see these guys put out a new album soon and give us some new U.S. tour dates.

Eakflanderyof
May 4th 2010



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Excellent review for a kickass album. Underappreciated and overshadowed by DMDS me thinks.

bloozclooz
May 4th 2010



1770 Comments


CD is hard as balls to get into. might try again after reading this

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2010



16135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Word. I can definately see why people don't dig it. I kind of dismissed it at first too, but recently (particularly after getting it on vinyl a few weeks ago) I've really appreciated the genius of this album.

Willie
Moderator
May 4th 2010



15912 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great first review. I just hate the damn production too much to keep listening to this. Loved the two albums before this, though.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

TBliss
May 4th 2010



987 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, good review. Pos'd.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2010



16135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. And I hear ya Willie.

Eakflanderyof
May 4th 2010



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I thought the production was pretty listenable on this. It's not that raw and everything sounds very natural and not gayly overproduced. And best of all the drumming is insane on here and there are no triggers.

TheSpirit
May 4th 2010



17730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Chimera is their best, but this was pretty fucking awesome.

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

Willie
Moderator
May 4th 2010



15912 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hellhammer is an awesome drummer, no doubt about it. It doesn't take much for me to not like a production. I like very clear productions (even overproduced). I can deal with bad production on stuff like Emperor albums, but that's only because the music is so damn good. This on the other hand, disappointed me because I liked what they were doing on Grand Declaration... and Chimera.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2010



16135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hellhammer said the bass drums were triggered, nothing else though. And nothing on the drums were equalized so you don't get a clicky drum sound, which is nice.

TheSpirit
May 4th 2010



17730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Embarrassingly enough my favorite Hellhammer moment is his playing on the Stormblast remake of "Når sjelen hentes til helvete"

Eakflanderyof
May 4th 2010



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I dont think he played on the stormblast remake. That was still Nicholas Barker. I have to admit that the old Stormblast is one of my favorite bm albums though.

Hellhammer said the bass drums were triggered, nothing else though. And nothing on the drums were equalized so you don't get a clicky drum sound, which is nice.


Wow, that's surprising. The bass drums sounds pretty natural on this.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2010



16135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I know. I was surprised myself.

Eakflanderyof
May 4th 2010



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hellhammer is an awesome drummer, no doubt about it. It doesn't take much for me to not like a production. I like very clear productions (even overproduced). I can deal with bad production on stuff like Emperor albums, but that's only because the music is so damn good. This on the other hand, disappointed me because I liked what they were doing on Grand Declaration... and Chimera.


I feel ya. I do think this album is a lot more of a cohesive and refined work though.

TheSpirit
May 4th 2010



17730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dont think he played on the stormblast remake. That was still Nicholas Barker. I have to admit that the old Stormblast is one of my favorite bm albums though.



Nah Nicolas Barker left sometime before the end of their Deathcult Armageddon touring cycle. It was definitely Hellhammer. Original Stormblast kicked ass though.


AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2010



16135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yah, Wiki says it was indeed Hellhammer who played on Stormblåst MMV.

Hawks
May 4th 2010



35638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Hellhammer took over when they re-recorded Stormblast. Nick Barker left right after Death Cult Armageddon. And really good first review dude. Album is awesome.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

bloozclooz
May 4th 2010



1770 Comments


I just hate the damn production

black metal

TheSpirit
May 4th 2010



17730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Your seriously ignorant if tag all black metal with bad production. The production on this isn't even that bad, especially not compared to other stuff out there.



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