Since its inception in 1984, Norwegian black metal group Mayhem has been one of the most polarizing and challenging acts in the genre it helped bring to prominence. With 2014’s jarring Esoteric Warfare (available from Season of Mist), Mayhem further cemented a legacy of quality music that stands apart and above their easily sensationalized past. Driven onward by the long-standing rhythm section of drummer Hellhammer and sole founding member, bassist Necrobutcher, Mayhem seems to carry the same energy and ferocity that they’ve had since the days when black metal was still relegated to tape trading and homemade fanzines.
With the recent two year anniversary of Esoteric Warfare, the band has elected to release a music video for “Watchers,” the album’s bizarre and urgent opening track. The video contains footage professionally shot by nine separate cameras, courtesy of Magnetar Studio. The performance was captured during the Baltimore stop of the Black Metal Warfare II Tour, which also featured heavyweights Watain and Rotting Christ. With alternating shots of severed pig heads, a frenzied crowd, and the mesmerizing presence of legendary frontman Attila Csihar in both real-time and unsettling slow motion, the video manages to capture not just the actual performance by Mayhem, but also the larger-than-life feeling created by their theatrical and musical juxtaposition.
If this is the sight and sound of these veterans at a point when many others would be content to rest on their laurels, it’s clear that Mayhem still has much to share with the world.
Ben Handelman is waging esoteric war on Twitter.