A queue had already begun to develop well before the doors opened, as the Irish metal scene prepared for a night of Black Metal in the form of legendary Norwegian act, Mayhem. This was a welcome return to The Academy in Dublin, supported by Gaahls Wyrd and GosT.
Doors opened just after 6:30 PM, and the venue was still filling up when GosT hit the stage. The duo was drowned in shadow as bright strobe lights provided a backdrop for their blend of Black Metal and Synth. It was an interesting setup; bass player stage left, and vocalist on the right. The lack of members led to a heavy reliance on backing tracks, which resulted in bizarre moments where neither member appeared to be doing anything, yet the music kept pounding. By the third track the singer had taken on a synth duty which was more visually appealing, and the latter tracks were more enjoyable. GosT is certainly making their own path, but not for everyone.
When Gahhls Wyrd took to the stage the venue was approaching capacity, and it was clear a large proportion of the crowd had spilt over from the conclusion of the matinee performance by ‘A Pale Horse Named Death’ show nearby. The band hammered into “Ghosts Invited” with Gaahl himself appearing from the back of the stage a few bars in. A demanding presence, Gaahl’s slow gestures and clean vocal captured the room and delivered a fantastic set. The Gorgoroth track “Carving The Giant” was a surprise early in the set, appearing second, closely followed by a Trelldom cover “Slave til en kommende natt.” The band ventured back into Gaahls Wyrd material from their debut album, with “Carving The Voices” being an absolute highlight. It was very enjoyable for 45 minutes.
The headliner prep began; the crew quickly stripped the stage of excess equipment, and the backdrop was raised to display the haunting cover of Mayhem’s brand new album “Daemon.” Hellhammer’s almighty drum kit provided a focal point for the new stage show and looked fantastic as the band, dressed in black, graced the stage. An understated entrance was completed when the cloaked and masked Atilla took centre, and he was as terrifying as ever.
The sound and lights were excellent as Mayhem plunged into “Falsified and Hated” from the new album. The old school black metal guitar tones cut through perfectly, allowing the bass and drums to fill the low end. Atilla was completely on form, captivating the crowd, burnishing a bone cross, and barking into a human skull at various points throughout the performance.
Unlike the last Dublin show where the band where cloaked throughout, with minimal purple lights being the theme; it was great to be able to see the band up close, appreciate Atilla’s highly detailed mask, and of course, the joy of watching Necrobutcher scream along with the vocal lines. A great mix of old and new material followed as the set was broken up into three sections. The final bars of “Invoke the Oath” saw the band drift off stage, only to return in cloaks, and start “Freezing Moon,” with the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas imagery suitably behind.
The third act of the set was highlighted as the iconic album cover of ‘Deathcrush’ was hoisted, coupled with the anthemic tones of “Silvester Anfang,” much to the Irish crowd’s delight. Mask gone, Atilla howled through the remaining set of older material, the climax, of course, being “Pure Fucking Armageddon.”
It was a great night out, and one of my most enjoyable Mayhem shows to date. If they’re playing your area, I strongly urge you to attend, as Necrobutcher and co. are really on form.
You can check out our recent review of Mayhem’s new album Daemon here:
Review: Andy Clarke
Photography: Kerri Clarke // Exposing Shadows Photography