Monday, October 25, 2010

Mayhem - Wolf's Lair Abyss

Wolf's Lair Abyss seems to get short shrift in the Mayhem discography, and understandably so. It was the follow-up to a record that couldn't possibly be followed up (De Mysteriis dom Sathanas) and preceded one that bitterly divided the band's fanbase (Grand Declaration of War). You can feel both of those albums trying to pull Wolf's Lair Abyss to their side. In the futuristic touches of the intro and the cold, mechanical production you can hear where the band is headed but in many of the riffs - most notably much of "Ancient Skin" - you can clearly hear where they have been. I think Wolf's Lair Abyss is better than just a transitional album though. As with every Mayhem release there is a lot of thought and creativity put into it and they have certainly never been afraid to take risks. Bonus points for a stellar layout on the CD from Mr. Stephen O'Malley himself.

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