One of the
strengths that will let a band pass the test of time is musical integrity, that
is cultivating an expression of their own, without giving in to the fashion of
the moment. Additionally, capacity of evolution will be praised, none the less
when reaching the third decade of their existence. In terms of integrity and
capacity to reinvent themselves, Mayhem can be safe for none of
their albums has seen them gulping up the past, if the rest of the world has
won't have lasted for long. From the first riff of the first track, "Watchers",
it was clear to me that this was Mayhem playing. For the other,
more nuanced pair of ears available, this could have been Keep of Kalessin. True
enough, Esoteric Warfare, the band's fifth studio album, displays a
modernised face/phase of Mayhem, that combines the technical riffing already
present on Grand Declaration of War, while connecting to ancient roots,
with necro tunes all across the board and Attila's twisted, raging vocals. If
you have been missing Reclaim, you might believe "PsyWar", the second
track on Esoteric Warfare, to be a kind of response to KoK's epic album
with a processing à la Mayhem of course.
Esoteric Warfare shows that the band has many ideas to visit so there
is little time to dwell on one stable atmosphere although there is a soundly
thread throughout the album. You will be surprise all along. In this sense you
could call the album progressive, as Mayhem always has had a tendency to be.
Eventually they be eclectic and mayhemish.
During the first times of listening through, Esoteric Warfare grew on
me. Musically it is a good album, in which Mayhem seem to
steadily experiment and search for a new direction. The question is: will they
stick to it, find themselves in it? Let madness take them further?
Let's hope that Mayhem won't let their fans hungry for too
long, for Esoteric Warfare will be keeping me curious.
The band started touring a while ago, be sure to attend asap!