October 30, 2016

Mayhem - Live In Leipzig (1990)



Depending on who you ask, Live In Leipzig is the truest Mayhem album. It is one of the few sessions to feature their iconic singer, Dead, who was also one of the most pivotal figures in metal music. There is a small handful of other recordings to involve Dead, but they are all almost undecipherable demos and concert recordings--some people love that though. From what I've read on social media, there are plenty fans of more technical metal that dislike Live In Leipzig; calling it sloppy or sludgy and berate Dead for not having what it takes to be a complete metal singer. I'm not a metal-head though and I've spent many hours indulging in all kinds of sloppy and sludgy punk, post-hardcore, and noise rock from SST and related scenes, so this is awesome to me. About a year ago I posted Mayhem's debut studio album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Most of those songs were written by Dead and rehearsed and recorded many times in concerts and demos, but never properly cut in a studio because of the singer's untimely suicide. The band recruited Attila (of Hungarian origin) to sing for them, and the reception to that lineup change is pretty polarizing. Some listeners love his cold and demonic style incorporated into classic Mayhem songs, but others who cling close to the aggressive Scandinavian style can't really mess with it. I don't really have a dog in the fight here, but I'll go with Dead on Live In Leipzig all day over Attila on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. A lot of the crusty black metal recordings reveal nothing but two-dimensional screams from the singer, but Live In Leipzig captures a ridiculous amount of pain and hatred in Dead's delivery--something I look forward to when I'm in a dark place. As a result, Live In Leipzig is one of the only metal albums to thoroughly move me on any sort of emotional metal. The rest of the band holds up incredibly well also; this is one of the best metal groups of the late 80s/early 90s, after all. Euronymous might be the biggest loser of all time, but damn does he justify it with his guitar skill. I don't really give a shit about drums and bass on recordings this horrific, but I do think that Necrobutcher and Hellhammer give off a tremendous amount of energy and precision. Live In Leipzig is one of the genre's best and also features two of the coolest album covers of all time. Take time out of your day this Halloween to play this classic.

Sample

Live In Leipzig