Mayhem - _US Legions_
(Renegade Records, 2001)
by: Quentin Kalis (3 out of 10)
_US Legions_ marks Mayhem's third live album and their second in as many years. Before proceeding any further, let me just state that only little more than half this album consists of live tracks -- the last five tracks are inferior pre-production versions of songs from _Grand Declaration of War_ [CoC #48], while tracks one to seven are live songs. What I can't understand is why the compilers chose the songs that they did. Only two tracks are live versions of songs from _GDoW_, and these are also featured as pre-production versions. Such repetition is tiresome and unnecessary. The remaining five tracks are nothing we haven't heard before -- in fact, the same five tracks can also be heard on _Mediolanum Capta Est_ [CoC #50], albeit recorded at a different location. Strangely, _De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas_ is not represented by a single track, which is highly unusual considering the album's status as a modern classic. Furthermore, the aforementioned pre-production versions give the impression of being hastily added in order to flesh out the album. If a new live album release was unavoidable, surely they could have used songs that Mayhem have yet to record live? What about "Ancient Skin"? Or "Cursed in Eternity"? Personally, I think that a live version of "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" without Attila's pseudo-operatic vocals would make for a killer live song. I fail to see the need for a live album so soon after the last one, especially one that doesn't really offer anything new. _USL_ appears to have been compiled more for financial reasons than for artistic concerns, and the album does absolutely nothing to enhance or sustain Mayhem's considerable legacy. The only thing approaching a high point on _USL_ are the live versions of "To Daimonon" and "View From Nihil"; without these two songs I would have given this album an even lower rating.

(article published 12/8/2001)

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