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Stage Buzz: Mayhem

| January 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Mayhem, one of Norway’s most notorious black metal bands will perform at Bottom Lounge tonight. Controversy has followed the band since their inception in 1984. From former member suicides, alleged church burnings, and murder, Mayhem has experienced it all. The band has just released its latest slab of classic black metal, Esoteric Warfare, its first new material in seven years. With the departure of influential guitarist Blasphemer (in 2008), his replacement Teloch has stepped into a more prominent role and “owns it” on this album, as he wrote the majority of it. It’s a role in which he feels pretty comfortable in, as he explains in a recent e-mail chat.

Mosh: Given the turbulent history of Mayhem, what has the whole experience been like since you joined in 2011?
Teloch: It goes without saying. It was nice to get that gig. Little did I know when I first got hooked on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, that I would one day play in the same band. Not to mention even writing an entire album for them. That said, I was kind of prepared for the whole deal, since they asked me already in 2008 to join. But I had to turn them down because I had tours with Gorgoroth going on at the time and it would have been impossible to do both bands.

Mosh: It’s been seven years since Mayhem’s last release, Ordo ad Chao. What was the reason for taking this long?
Teloch: What took this long was for the guys to find a new composer since their main musical driving force (Blasphemer) left the band in 2008. They tried different people and at the end, they landed on me. It’s also not like the band have been lazy, its been constantly touring since Blasphemer left. Plus it’s not like you can pick any guitarist from the street to do this kind of music. So there has been some periods rehearsing and trying out different guys.

Mosh: This is your first recording with the band, how much did you participate in the writing of the album and how did the whole process go?
Teloch: Actually, I started writing some stuff back in 2008 to try out what I could contribute with, just to see where I stood [with the band]. But I didn’t use any of that on this album. The whole album process started with us having a month of recording and trying out stuff down in Budapest. But it didn’t work out, the songs lacked something. As soon as I got home I scrapped the songs – almost a full album – and started fresh. I wrote the whole album; even bass lines, drums and vocal guide. When it was time for recording it, the guys added their own flavor to everything.

Mosh: Esoteric Warfare definitely has that distinguishable Mayhem sound, even right from the beginning with the opening notes of “Watchers.”
Teloch: Yeah, I agree. You get the Mayhem feeling very instantly. My main thing about the riffs was to make it sound like Mayhem, so that any Mayhem fan could pick it up, listen to it for 10 seconds and recognize it. As I talked some about earlier, it took some time to get there. And I worked with the band throughout the process. Yes, there were some parts that some of the other members didn’t like very much that I liked. And other stuff I didn’t like that they liked. It’s not always agreed upon. If you feel really strong about something, you just go ahead and sneak it in anyway, and deal with the complaining later.

Mosh: Vocalist Atilla sounds absolutely terrifying on this new album. What was the atmosphere like in the rehearsal room and then the studio?
Teloch: Yeah, he sounds like he was born in Hell or something. Attila and I recorded the vocals at [my family] cabin all alone, with not a soul close by for miles. It was some priceless moments going on in that session of course. Can’t really go into any details.

Mosh: How excited are you for this tour to begin?
Teloch: It’s going to be great, we first tried touring with Watain for a couple of dates in Australia and the fit was perfect. So it’s stellar to finally bring this beast of a tour over to North America! We’ve been looking forward to doing this for some time now, and luckily it’s getting closer. We are eager as fuck to do this tour. All the boys are focused as hell on doing great shows. It’s a blast playing live these days with the band, everyone performs at their best! Plus, it’s gonna be cool to finally see what Revenge is all about. We don’t know much about the band, but we hear it crushes.

Mayhem, Watain, and Revenge appear tonight 1/16 at Bottom Lounge, Chicago

– Kelley Simms

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