This is especially audible after tracks like "Symbols Of Bloodswords", "I Am Thy Labyrinth" and "The Vortex Of Inhumanity" (this is just an electronic intro), which are definitely the best announcement of the new style of the group. "Symbols of Bloodswords" is composed of a mixture of generic riffs as well as some more thought-out ideas. A little different from the Deathcrush days. Get rid of that. If they would have kept in this direction instead of opening a big jar of what the fuck on the next album it would have been great. Terrible. Certainly worth several listens. The vocals are still pretty awful, but less comical. The band has never ceased the churning of its creative gears, as few and far between as their studio outings might have seemed for a while. AllMusic Review by John Serba Wolf's Lair Abyss symbolizes two major steps for Mayhem : First, the return of vocalist Maniac, who contributed to 1987's Deathcrush EP before being replaced by the soon-to-be-dead Dead (who was followed by session vocalist Attila Csihar for black metal benchmark De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas ). However, most importantly it was the turning point for a lot of long-term fans, disgusted by the non-'trueness' of their newfound clinical precision. So it was in 1997 that Wolf's Lair Abyss was vomited forth. It is almost the perfect black metal sound, providing an unexpected clarity to the high velocity riffing, while retaining the raw, lo–fi power required for convincing black metal. Like a previous reviewer mentioned, ‘Wolf’s Lair Abyss’ really does feel like its own album rather than an EP, despite only having a playing time of 25 minutes, such is the weight of its presence. 'Wolf's Lair Abyss' marked three major factors in the history of Mayhem. Für ploetzinho vom Metalglory Magazine ist Wolf’s Lair Abyss „einfach das Album der Norweger schlechthin […], da die rohe Brutalität, Aggressivität und Stärke der 4 Ausgeburten der Hölle einfach nur überzeugen können“. This isn’t as raw as Deathcrush or the legendary DMDS; the production is much more clean, dry and sharp. That's not to completely disregard this release. Erst der Selbstmord (Ex-Sänger Dead) und die sagenhafte Geschichte mit den Schädelstückchen als Postsendung, dann der Mord an Mastermind und Szenegröße Euronymous: Aus einer guten, aber … I just believe this would have been infinitely better had Attila or someone new maybe took on vocals, Maniac's performance is the only aspect here that significantly lowers the score here. Right away, the production becomes very annoying as the drumming is far too high in the mix. So this isn't all too worthless, I just wouldn't listen to it with expectations of finding something as amazing as their previous works, but even then don't let that discourage you. Not only that, but this is far too short (I’ve seen the price on this album going for as much as a regular CD, which I find to be a tad ridiculous). While his vocals are something that, with time, you get used to, the first listen might prove embarassing for some. Or The Doors without Jim Morrison. Maniac will often use somewhat clean vocals, and surprisingly they're not too bad. Hellhammer more or less single-handedly had to bring back together a lineup for the band following the death of guitarist/primary song writer Euronymous, a new bassist, and a vocalist which the band had been lacking. The first track proper, ‘I Am Thy Labyrinth’, launches with a booming drum-roll into a quick-march classic sounding Euronymous-style riff before sliding into a blast beat that announces an intensity that would characterise the whole release. The crushing drums, the decapitating guitar and bass, and Maniac make this a essential record to listen to. There were also those for whom the death of Euro was tantamount to the end of this band, but to be honest...they do not know what they are losing! Who knows. Unfortunately, the piece could have used a bit more refinement. The style is somewhat reminiscent of DMDS (which is no surprise since most of the riffs were Euronymous's anyway, but the delivery is a hell of a lot different. So he's fast, so what? Of course, he would never be able to live up to the expectations that many had of him. This is often considered to be part one of Grand Declaration Of War by the band, but luckily, they have very little in common with each other. Not only was it the return of Maniac's wretched bile-soaked vomits into the microphone, but it was the debut recording of then new guitarist Blasphemer. The final track, ‘Symbols of Bloodswords’ contains a riff that would later appear on the more experimental ‘Grand Declaration of War’, connecting the two works, albeit fairly superficially. Some people may pick up on his singing right away, others may find it to be an acquired taste, and then the rest will despise his singing. i dont mind the intro. The drums are played restlessly and mindbogglingly fast by Hellhammer, undoubtedly one of the best drummers in metal, and it's crazy to see how well and perfectly he adapts to each and every tempo, be it slow or quite the contrary, without the bat of an eye. It's like using the main thing black metal gets attention from toget attention for the review, I guess. Burzum frontman Varg Vikernes then proceeds up to the apartment of former band mate Oystein Aarseth, better known as Euronymous. They surely and thoroughly provoked anyone who might have thought they were done for and over with to try and test their worth by unleashing a powerful, angry, mean-spirited, violent black metal attack like it had never been witnessed before by adepts of the genre and challenging their contemporaneous creators with more than enough credit to do just that. This is as it should have been, for despite all of the wasted potential that now rested beneath the earth, there was simply no way for a band to continue without the one person who had given it birth and kept it alive for so many years; the one from whose mind the very concept of the musical movement had spawned. By the time the album finishes with the last chilling riff of "Symbols of Bloodswords", your neck will be begging for mercy. Get it sometime, but don’t put it ahead of a kick ass full-length that you might be looking for. Because one of the most prominent characteristics of Wolf's Lair Abyss is just how much Hellhammer beats the everliving fuck out of his drum set. If I were to criticize this EP further, I would say that the production is rather inconsistent from track to track. There's not much one can say about Maniac's insane and inhuman vocal delivery throughout this release, since probably any attempt at labeling or describing it would run short, and one must listen to it to truly comprehend how his animal fury displayed on all tracks couldn't have been matched by anyone else taking his spot, effectively making him the ideal individual for this job. After a few rehearsals to "see if it felt right", the not-so-true Mayhem began working on new material. Why am I saying this? Raw, dark, hatefilled, dirty and a bit fuzzy. The drums are incredible artificial and martial their his sound. The album is well-mixed to create a great black metal-atmosphere. Originally on: https://subiektywnymetal.blogspot.com/2020/04/mayhem-wolfs-lair-abyss-1997.html. Starting from the first moment, you get some aggressive riffing pounding on your face. On this release the intro is the sound of a sonic re-wiring; a restoration and reformation of the band. I happen to like all the tracks on this mCD. I’m not a big Mayhem fun. He's a hell of a drummer almost inhuman sometimes. While this line-up would go on to even better things with ‘Grand Declaration of War’, this EP is a grand statement of personal and philosophical artistry, and it propels the legend forward. It is true he has big shoes to fill, and actually does quite good on this album, but he'd disgrace his performance here with the next musical abortion by this band. Maniac's vocals are absolutely brutal, although this of course does not mean everything. The Musicianship itself is also nothing amazing. This is what most probably did not expect from the content of "Wolf's Lair Abyss"! Instead you have very standard generic black metal both in terms of musicianship and delivery as a whole. By the time "Fall of Seraphs" begins, the listener is already drained from the overwhelming sense of disappointment and the tedious songwriting. The sound of Wolf's Lair Abyss is extremely sharp, razor-edge, metallic, and heavy, while still sophisticated, measured, smart, and always stable. At times Maniac’s singing reminds me of Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, but I still manage to enjoy it when I’m not thinking of those big bug eyes and that voice that calls out for his precious. They explore the concept of life, and try to comprehend many things ordinary mortals cannot. Prime Einkaufswagen. It is not a guitar album, it isn't a drums album, it isn't even a lyrics album, it was just meant to head-bang until your wimpy head falls off. It is very stereotypical of black metal. The beginning song, The Vortex Void of Inhumanity reminds me of a King Diamond intro to an album. It's a typical norwegian black metal album with good production which is cool. 81%) Songs; Lineup; Other versions; Reviews; Additional notes; 1. is decent enough, on its own, but does not deserve to be labeled as a Mayhem release. This album fascinated me since the first audition. Keeping in mind how time has treated this and considering a release of around this length nowadays could easily be considered as a lazy full-length by modern black metal bands, it's noteworthy how dedicated enough they were to have the decency to not label this as a full album, but just as a small taste-bite of what was to come and what anyone who would follow the ride along had waiting for them (and they certainly didn't disappoint). He's playing is splendid. I mention this controversy only because it cannot be dismissed, especially in a critique of this particular EP. I really enjoyed this, and thanks to this EP, I’m going to further explore Mayhem’s later discography. Mentioning that, Dead's lyrics are absent from here and Mayhem's lyrics are no longer "dark and mysterious", and have more to do with WWII than anything. The guitar tone is quite good, too - a chilling, overdistorted sound, perfect for black metal. Simple, menacing axe work, (The cliche E to F, to E to E flat) somehow creates a atmosphere that demands respect, and gives goosebumps. The year is 1993. The intro is pointless and worthless annoying static that fails to create atmosphere and drones on way too long. Entitled Wolf’s Lair Abyss, it brought with it some definite qualities of classic Mayhem material along with some newer touches, undoubtedly influenced by the increasing technical aspects of the genre. Again, intelligent lyrics impress me. Maniac is back on vocals, and to say the least, his style is much different than it was on Deathcrush. This is proof that even without Mayhem’s former “leader,“ they can still manage to pump out some blistering and worthy black metal. By the time the final song begins, the entire experience seems more than a little tiring. This is Mayhem's best and rawest release IMO, as I said on the topic. There are some thrashing breaks in the material ("Fall of Seraphs"), and a few psychedelic, haunting streams of notation ("Symbols of Bloodswords"), but all in all, I've always felt like I was listening to an eerie vocal trip, a drumming tour de force, and not much else aside from guitars which feel functional at best. In the city of Oslo, Norway, it is the dead of night as a car drives up to an apartment building. No compromise. In particular, due to the circumstances that befell the band and the expectations that their fans had for them, they owed it to everyone involved to put forth the extra effort to make something truly special and in that regard they failed. Wolf's Lair Abyss is probably the most competent release of post-Euronymous Mayhem, yet it still falls short in many ways. Necrobutcher is nowhere as prominent in the mix as he once was, but you can still hear him. As far as the guitars go, the sound is not as cold and crisp as on the debut L.P. Then again, even an identical sound would not have saved this material. Sadly, they could only ride the riffs of a dead man for one EP, then decided to turn to complete dogshit. The riffing is considerably more technical than DMDS, without becoming masturbation at the least, and it being pretty catchy is a major plus. It was clear with ‘Wolf’s Lair Abyss’ that Mayhem were committed to demonstrating that their existence was warranted. The introduction ‘The Vortex Void of Inhumanity’, while sounding nothing like ‘Silvester Anfang’ from 'Deathcrush', serves a similar purpose to that piece in that it announces the band’s (re)arrival, except this time with broad digital strokes and piercing electronic radio sounds. It’s not like in “De Mysteriis..” where there was the perfect black metal drums sound. While the music is not so bad, during the slower parts, Maniac's vocals completely ruin the atmosphere and one cannot help but laugh at his feeble attempt to emulate Attila. Starting with what is, in my opinion, an evolution of the songwriting seen on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. From a technical view, I'd say he does a decent job here, perhaps a more intensified version of the very style Euronymous was producing. Of course this is Mayhem, so all of the songs with the exception of the opening instrumental are fast and tenacious. It never stuck out as being a bad thing, it is just something to take note of. Everything has been increased since their fist LP: the aggression, the heaviness, the brutality, the intensity, the technicality and the dark atmosphere. This ep perfectly shows that the Norwegians, even in a much different configuration, were able to maintain a very high level of music, and at the same time that despite some novelties in the style, it's closely related to the patents previously developed by Euro. Carefully constructed from its original release with an extensive booklet and including the Ancient Skin/Necrolust ep as bonus tracks this ultimate re-issue is a gem not to be missed. Hellhammer's drums to be honest are overproduced, triggered, and well....kind of shitty. Much more complicated riffs, but still an awesome atmosphere compel me totally! Quite pathetic, really. The intro - the breathing of a septic body and the trumpets annnouncing a new Era (in black metal), followed by the unleashing of high speed and immense brutallity and a very good instrumental technique. The main creative force behind the band was now in his grave, and following the delayed release of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (which was recorded prior to his death), it would appear that Mayhem would rot there with him. Maniac's vocals are a controversial topic for a lot, but I think his shreaks are well suited for Mayhem's new style. This band just doesn't slow down. The bass work by Necrobutcher is pretty good as well: check out the middle break in "Ancient Skin" and the outro riff of "Symbols of Bloodswords". Maniac’s voice is like a cry of a baby mixed with a mad who’s screaming something I don’t understand. So are lots of drummers. In my opinion the good period for Mayhem lasted only for few years (the ones used in the production of “De Mysteriis…”) and yet from here those good years are over. And did I mention the blasting? It helps me transition to when Mayhem sort of dissolved then re-formed. Maniac screams inhumanly and even presents some chant-like backing vocals during the track. Wolf's Lair Abyss was the first 'major' piece of new studio material to be released by Mayhem after the murder of Euronymous by fellow artisan of extremity Varg Vikernes, and thus it's no surprise that it is welcome with only a bittersweet reception. The production, by the band with Knut and Garm from Arcturus - which I found somewhat surprising but there you go - is extreme and much denser and more chaotic than ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’. Genres: Black Metal. So what of the music? ‘Wolf’s Lair Abyss’, evidently named at least in part after Hitler’s Eastern Front headquarters, came only four years after the infamous turmoil – an unthinkably quick turnaround from band destruction to newly released material, especially by today's glacial standards of release. The complex, which became one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) in various parts of Central and Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa—the invasion of the Soviet Union—in 1941. Other than that, he shows a great mastery of the kit, playing parts that compliment every guitar riff, while keeping obnoxiousness to a minimum. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Wolf's Lair Abyss at Amazon.com. Everyone's beloved vocalist Maniac handles the vocals here, and he sounds nothing like he did in "Deathcrush". I was really anticipating a similar approach, but instead his vocals aren't that impressive to begin with. The opening riff for "I Am Thy Labyrinth" is the same as the opening riff for Emperor's "Ye Entrancemperium". It's obviously no de mysteriis. The guitars are full and even dirty sounding, and Hellhammer’s drums have introduced the triggers that would become his standard sound for the next several years. The only new member was Blasphemer, who was admittedly an uncertainty - could he maintain the magic created by Euronymous? Was the Oslo incident where Eronymous was found with his brains blown out or was it when Varg and Blackthrone murdered him? So there's not much since going on about it. Even though there are clean vocals, the voice of Maniac on Symbols of Bloodswords is totally demoniac. All in all, as much as some would criticize Wolf's Lair Abyss for it representing the opening of a new chapter in Mayhem both lineup and style wise, I happen to believe this is quite the perfect outing, and I have no complaints about it or wouldn't want it to be different in any way, so this is one of those very few pieces I would label as perfect black metal. What is remarkable here is that some of the riffs seem to be "borrowed" from Euronymous, but this fact makes no difference - it is actually better that his riffs were brought to us in an album, rather than die with him. It's your typical black metal album, and given the EP length rather than letting it drag on forever with the same generic sound (like another norwegian band out there) and as a whole the album itself is flawless black metal, which is more than many generic mayhem/darkthrone/burzum clones that come out of the woodwork on myspace these days can ever dream to sound like. So, as explosive a proclamation as Wolf's Lair Abyss might seem upon initial contact, it's simply not enduring as their earlier works, nor as experimentally curious as their later full-length efforts like Grand Declaration of War. The bass is of course well played by legendary and founding member of the band Necrobutcher, and one can only wonder what his contribution on their debut album would've sounded like by admiring his work on this following EP. Now the actual music on this EP, you know, the thing a review is supposed to address, is very good. Bassist Necrobutcher returned for this, and Hellhammer stayed in his drum seat. Unfortunately, it does sound somewhat mechanical due to the drums, but it's not that big of a fault. Album Rating: 3.5Why? I don't like the only Mayhem album I have, 'De Mysteriis...', I've only listened to it once and it bored me to hell. The noise/ambient intro "The Vortex Void of Inhumanity" with its horns and vocal samples was an interesting experiment, but not really conducive to the ensuing eruption of "I Am Thy Labyrinth". Good review. Yeah, I think the intro is well-done being this is the album AFTER it happened. I consider Attila the only good singer Mayhem had, and here I miss him a lot. Remembering interviews with Euronymous that made mention of trashing many guitar riffs because they weren't dark enough, one can see that the new version of Mayhem would not be hindered by such integrity and would merely toss on anything that came to mind. 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