Attila Csihar of Mayhem: The Brotherhood

"When I heard Mayhem for the first time, it was unbelievable - it was a whole new level of music".

Mayhem are a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo. They were one of the founders of the Norwegian black metal scene and their music has strongly influenced the black metal genre - but you guys know all this, hell the story is one for the ages, what we're getting down to today is the Australian tour highlighting the famed album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas this tour in particular has been whetting the appetite of fans since the announcement - as Mayhem embark on this tour we caught up with Attila Csihar; vocalist for the Norwegian horde for Metal As Fuck to really grasp the influence this album has and still continues to have on Black Metal and how it has shaped its future... 

"I’ve been doing so many interviews and I am so happy about this great interest in this tour, really looking forward to coming back to Australia. I’m in Budapest at the moment, it’s a bit cold outside, but I love this city. I’m lucky – I live in this 15th century building. Thick walls [Laughs] it’s fucking nice. It’s good to be home. We’ve just finished two months of touring the US and Europe".   

Yes! The tour for the album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas has taken the world by storm; arguably the single most important and prolific album in Black Metal’s history -  fans describe and take what they will from this album, but in your words Attila, state your reasons as to why this statement is true. It turned out to be like that, we couldn’t have foreseen it, no one could but on the other hand I had heard of this band, they were making a mark and rapidly. So I was in a band called Tormentor from 1985 and when I heard about the band it was like – interesting, it was fucking great and my name in Tormentor was ‘Mayhem’ so it was this real fucked up coincidence [Laughs] and then I got to know more about the band – and they called me, followed by a very sophisticated letter [Laughs] it was even done on a typewriter and everything. It was cool. When I heard their new stuff [at the time it was very Mysterious] I was like ‘fuck’ that was a whole other level, nothing like this had been done before". So as Tormentor is going on, I'm also in a band called Plasma Pool, inspired by Skinny Puppy and I was into that when Mayhem approached around the same time, and I’m talking to the Mayhem guys while I’m doing this Skinny Puppy rip off [Laughs] – but just hearing the new material, the arrangements, the composition of the songs - it was just on another level. The guitar players, the drummer, the whole thing together – then I knew I wanted to do it – all this excitement was built around it. I was 22 years old – yeah it was very exciting. And what happened – all that shit that happened, no one predicted it - it was extremely important for the scene but not so great for the band.  The band were burnt, it was in ashes. Luckily not everybody died. It looked like it was over. The publicity behind it opened a lot of opportunities – the scene opened up again and Mayhem were able to rejoin the scene once again. I believe they are/have made a movie about it, this whole story – I hope it doesn’t suck. I’ve heard so much about this story and how much it truly affected the scene and it was about this time the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album was being made". 

Now where did the idea come about to play the album in full? "We were just shooting ideas around, what I thought was nothing serious - then it happened, someone asks the question, why don’t you guys play the whole album – fuck it, yeah let’s do it. Here is the thing, the lineup for Mayhem is very important. You need two good guitarists firstly. And we have had a solid lineup for about 5 years now, with such amazing guitar players. Somehow we just said yes and we felt ok with it. Put on one show, there were candles. It was a challenge for us too – we had never done this before. The show was received well – this show in particular is on DVD as we thought it might not happen again – then of course the offers started coming through after that. Maryland Deathfest wanted it. Ok – someone said yes again [Laughs] we figured people love this and we slipped into it. We were solidly sold on it at this point. And now we are taking it everywhere and now back to Australia – it’s fucking great!". 

Reviving this classic and playing it in full – do you feel the entire scene is getting a reaffirmation of what black metal is or perhaps just recognition of the past? “This record is really old right, like twenty something years – it’s the one thing I love about our band, its maintaining itself. Time will take us down eventually but right now we are still pulling it out after all these years. This is Mayhem, its grip around the neck of black metal will never loosen". 

MAYHEM De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018

with BÖLZER, Ruins & Départe 

Jan 17th – Melbourne, Max Watts

Jan 18th – Sydney, Max Watts

Jan 19th – Brisbane, TBC

Jan 21st – Hobart, Mona Foma

Tickets are on sale - grab yours here!