Mayhem – Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando (EP Review)

Mayhem – Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando (EP Review)

The Black Metal force known as Mayhem needs no introduction. Rooted in the turbulent adolescence of Norwegian Black Metal, the band has surpassed its own legacy musically if not sensationally. Benefiting from an influx of talent and a return of its most successful vocalist, the band storms forth and of late, has bestowed an EP upon its following known as Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando.

Released on July 9, 2021 through Century Media, it consists firstly of a previously unreleased song, “Voces Ab Alta,” we experience firsthand a song that encapsulates the atmosphere this band captured so well ‘back in the day.’ Attila Csihar sounds amazing, going from his rasp to a vampiric clean baritone from the very hills of Transylvania. The song is built to blast everything in its path. There is blasting from the unrivalled drumsticks of Hellhammer, but the song also rips with mosh-pit pacing, and the style suits them so well.

The second and third tracks should be familiar to anyone who purchased the bonus tracks version of their last full-length Daemon. “Black Glass Communion” and “Everlasting Dying Flame” are arguably too good to be bonus tracks, so their inclusion here makes sense.

The final three songs on the album are cover songs, and before you can say Bathory, Possessed, or Venom, it turns out the covers are Punk songs. But anyone who studies the history of extreme music knows the close relationship those bands had to Punk, and indeed many of Mayhem’s first creations were also rank with a filthy form of the style, bleeding over with the nascent Black Metal which would soon overtake it all.

The mighty Discharge is given the once-over by the Norwegians, “In Defense of our Future” being the choice. So much Proto-Thrash in this one, the tone is right in the guitars and the vocal carries a bellowing abandon. Next up, “Hellnation” by Dead Kennedy’s is ratcheted up. An unusual choice, but damned if Mayhem doesn’t hit it just right as well.

From SoCal punk to Brits from the street, Rudimentary Peni gets the treatment via “Only Death.” Anarcho-punk anthem to the max, the song is over and gone in a swift smack at just over a minute. Ending things off is a tribute to the masters, The Ramones, in the form of oft-covered “Commando.” Mayhem does a fine job here, nailing the feeling and authenticity of Joey and the boys from New York.

This ambitious EP by the enigmatic and usually much darker Mayhem is a nice peek into their past influences while providing a killer unreleased song at the same time. This is a quality listen and for that, Cryptic Rock gives Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando 4 out of 5 stars.

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Nicholas Franco
[email protected]

Nick has been writing for CrypticRock.com since October of 2013, covering mainly artists and albums from slightly more obscure corners of the musical realm. From interviews and live event reviews to retrospective analyses and album reviews for new releases, Nick enjoys sharing a fresh perspective from a fan's point of view. He is also counted on as an occasional editor and proofreader. In addition to his work with CrypticRock.com, Nick is a contributing writer at Metalinjection.net and SeaofTranquility.org.

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