Mayhem - _Chimera_
(Season of Mist, 2004)
by: Chris Flaaten (
Mayhem. This band is almost legendary, despite their limited discography and its varying quality. The "grand return" with their previous album failed to impress me, although there were a couple of interesting tracks. I remember thinking that if they had just kept the intensity of the first few tracks throughout the album, and had better vocals, that it would actually have been quite good. _Chimera_ is the answer to this withered hope. Mayhem has somehow crafted an album that exceeds even the wildest of expectations. This is not the gem that fans of _De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas_ have been longing for, though. _Chimera_ is an inferno of detailed, riff-based extreme metal, executed with an almost arrogant machine-like precision. The musical mayhem is fittingly presented in a crystal clear production that really accentuates the technical and cold aspects of the music. The word "Chimera" is from Greek Mythology, where it represents a fire-breathing monster made up of disparate parts (usually lion, goat and serpent). Similarly, Mayhem's album is also a fearsome, multi-headed monster oozing hate and ferociousness. Imagine a mix of the furious "A Time to Die" from _Grand Declaration of War_ and the chilling moods and timing off Thorns' self-titled album and you're pretty close. Chimera attacks you viciously from the first track, "Whore". No compromises and no mercy, a feeling that really sinks in as Maniac screams the chorus; "She fucking hates you all!". His vocals are ugly as ever, but thankfully less annoying and with a lower pitch. The next couple of tracks present more variation, but the changes of pace only serve to highlight the intensity that runs consistently throughout the album. Some of the slower passages pack quite a punch themselves too, like the magnificent ending of "My Death", with its haunting riffs and chanting (!). Another peak is the absolutely mindblowing "Slaughter of Dreams", where the riffs have such fantastic details and interesting time signatures that Cynic and Spiral Architect could pick up a thing or two. _Chimera_ is the manifestation of hateful arrogance; an incredibly solid album from a band that finally lives up to its name.
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