June 6, 2000 - 2020: 20 years of: Grand Declaration Of War.

Blackmetal's most controversial album from blackmetal's most controversial band.

Hard to believe, yet Norway's legendary act went thru the suicide of their lead-singer and then, bassist murdering the guitarist rampage ...and now this: darkwave and industrial-beats !?

Creating blasphemous low-fi extreme-metal, commonly known as blackmetal, with 1987's Deathcrush EP and later rewriting the book of traditional blackmetal with 1994's iconic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas CD …the MAYHEM story-book is a full adventure into the dark ways and true macabre.

But how did we get from self-mutilation and dead pig-heads to mesh-shirts and latex-pants, the Grand Declaration Of War era is a full 66.6° turn, from one end of the spectrum to another. To quote one famous British guitarist: "How much more black could this be ? and the answer is ...none, none more black." We all remember CELTIC FROST's cock-rock Cold Lake, METALLICA's huge Load and the recent PARADISE LOST One Second dark-pop adventure, well it is now time for the inventors of blackmetal to go into full millennium-fashion.

Foreseeing trend-setters or merely jumping the shark ?

Remember that the 1999-2000 era was the tail-end of the new blackmetal renaissance, as powermetal and symphonicmetal were slowly but surely swallowing the evil ones. The experimentations of MAYHEM 4.0 in 1997's Wolf's Lair Abyss MCD where now fully bloomed to perfection and the masters took this opportunity to lead the way into the sophisticated future.

The title-track intro is a prelude to Armageddon, where Maniac kindly reminds us that "Christendom, religion of pity, God of the sick, we have discovered our way". As soon as "In The Lies Where Upon You Lay" ignites, all Hells breaks loose. The old-feeling is present and atrociously beautiful, until the clean-vocals jumps in, an unprecedented rock-approach ...for a blackmetal-pioneer !

The cyber-black attack of "A Time To Die" will immediately please old fans, as it is an incendiary 1:49sec firebomb that goes into Mach IV. The military-beat of a "View From Nihil (Part I)" hammers away until the explosive blasts at 1:09sec. Another brilliant Hellhammer, Necrobutcher and Blasphemer collective and destructive performance.

Avantgarde-metal is present on the house-mix meets future-metal of "A Bloodsword And A Colder Sun (Part I)". The whispered-intro sends chills and lays the way into EBM-type beats of "A Bloodsword And A Colder Sun (Part II)". With an open mind, this is a one-way walkthrough another spatial-dimension, and just like that, the poison is fed with a spoon.

Now the street-style vocal-intro on "Crystalized Pain In Deconstruction" may be too much for some to swallow. Totally breaking the chains of extreme-metal, while still being extreme-metal, this aseptisized-track is a one-of-a-kind in the genre. Highly volatile yet lovable !

Released following the successful Wolf's Lair Abyss cycle to an hungry blackmetal audience, swamped in CRADLE OF FILTH, MARDUK, DIMMU BORGIR and EMPEROR, the true MAYHEM didn't disappoint, or did they ? The initial reactions were harsh and extremely critical of the band's new clean sound, ultra compressed production, experimental ways and tame looks. Yet the true answer lies within everyone's own perception of musical growth and it's residual evolution.

The live-companion Live In Marseille CD and European Legions CD are brilliant exhibition of brute untamed and unadulterated savagery. A fine selection of old and new material, featuring their stiff hog-friend.

Grand Declaration Of War's high-point remains Hellhammer's over the top drumming and the pristine digital-production. So pristine that in 2018 a new fully remixed-version of the album was issued under original label Season Of Mist Records. This time more mids and harshness in the overall tone have been added, giving the album a new-found life.

We are at full war, this declaration was a mere warning-shot, as MAYHEM would destroy this new millennium with subsequent spews of hate.

Grand Declaration Of War = full CD
Picnic with the band
Live in Marseille in 2000
Interview backstage in Marseille in 2000
Grand Declaration Of War = full CD 2018 remix
What's in my bag with Necrobutcher in L.A. in 2018
some guy
some guys

Référence croisée Helter Skelter:

Black-Metal la naissance


Black-Metal l'expansion


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