No one talks about the later Mayhem albums for good reason. It didn’t take long after their initial burst of creativity, coinciding with the release of their masterpiece “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas“, for the band to lose all relevance and start churning out incredibly boring albums for people who would simply buy anything that Dead, Euronymous and Varg were once affiliated with.
“Esoteric Warfare” is one of the most embarrassing and lame of all these latter-era Mayhem albums, somehow managing to be both musically more inept than “Deathcrush” as well as eliminating any artistic legitimacy they might have still clung to.
This is embarrassingly awful music, whether you still call it black metal (lol) or the product of a band being treated like a 9 to 5 job and not a creative endeavor, either way it sucks. Hard.
It’s heinous. It’s offensively bad. I feel dumber every time I listen to it.
The band slogs through 10 excruciating tracks composed of music that sounds like it was either thought up in fifteen minutes per song, stolen from older Satyricon tracks (yes, literally), or just cribbed from earlier parts in the band’s own catalog.
Attila’s vocals sound ragged out and out of breath, not nearly as aggressive as they used to be, and the rest of the music sounds similarly sluggish and disinterested. Only Hellhammer’s performance somewhat redeems the endeavour, but given his past with Dimmu Borgir, I’d venture to say salvaging the unsalvageable from the world’s most useless albums has become a second nature for him at this point.
It’s obvious, so obvious that the members of the band are completely and utterly phoning the album in – there’s never a moment that surprises you, there’s no riffs which actually communicate anything, and all the dumb chugging in the world brought Mayhem closer to the world of Slipknot and Watain than even recruiting Corey Taylor ever could.
There’s nothing to recommend about this “Esoteric Warfare” album. It’s really just a complete shit smear on the legacy of Mayhem that shouldn’t be listened to by anyone. Find a copy of “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” and enjoy the band for what it was, not the embarrassing direction they went in afterwards.
DMDS > Grand Declaration > Deathcrush > Ordo ad Chao > Chimera > Esoteric Warfare.