Review Summary: If anyone knows of a better live metal album, please let me know.
Mayhem is a band that needs no introduction. If you're reading this review in the first place there's a good chance that you're pretty familiar with the band and their history. Suicide, murder, self mutilation, all of that good stuff. Euronymous was killed by Varg, Dead blew his own brains out, and the list could go on and on. With this live album, the legendary Live in Leipzig
, you see the band's infamous reputation come right in front of a crowd in November of 1990 at Eiskeller Club in Germany.
The most notable thing about this album is that it's the only recording to feature Euronymous and Dead on the same album playing together, along with long running and also legendary bassist and drummer Necrobutcher and Hellhammer respectively. That fact alone gives the album a whole different feeling. As great as Atilla is, Dead just has a different aura about him. Obviously he was a very emotionally deprived kind of person that in general hated human beings. Before going on stage he would sniff a dead raven to get the "stench of death." The vocals on this album are the best of any Mayhem release for me. The pure hatred he possesses in his soul is obvious by the performance he gives here and his vocals are truly chilling at points. Production here is obviously a little muffled considering it's a live black metal album recorded in 1990, but everything is still pretty clear and easy to decipher.
Being that this was recorded so early in the band's career, they didn't really have a lot of selection when it came to the setlist. While some could see this as a setback, it's honestly the best setlist they could've picked because almost every song played is a classic in Mayhem's catalogue. So with that being said, you could probably imagine that this album is full of riffs and full of riffs it is. Euronymous was an amazing riff writer, probably the best in the early Norwegian black metal scene until he was killed. The main riffs in Funeral Fog and Freezing Moon come to mind in particular. Hellhammer, even in his early days, is on top of his game as always too, proving why he's one of the best drummers black metal has ever seen.
Honestly, everything about this album is amazing. The classic riffs from Euronymous, the terrifying vocals from Dead, and the frantic drumming by Hellhammer, and the overall atmosphere of this album make it one of the best live metal albums out there. Listening to this makes you feel like you're right in the middle of this show all the way back in late 1990 seeing Mayhem in their prime.