Mayhem need no introduction. The lives of these pioneers of Norwegian black metal are inextricably tied up with murder, suicide, substance abuse and violence. Mayhem’s live shows have been called ‘the epitome of debauchery’. In those pre-internet times, word of mouth was everything and by the time their studio debut dropped their reputation preceded them. ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’ (1994) set the bar for an entire generation of black metal bands and helped Mayhem tap into a wider audience. There have been a number of personnel up changes over the years – some band members died, others were incarcerated. However, since the formation of the Teloch-Ghul guitar partnership the line-up has been stable and that’s paid off on their last two albums. On ‘Esoteric Warfare’ (2014), Mayhem once again succeeded in pushing back the genre’s boundaries without compromising their identity and this year’s Daemon (2019) is a slab of incendiary metal that plunges into the depths of spiritual horror, just like their debut, although no two Mayhem albums sound the same. Each album explores a theme and Daemon evokes the fathomless despair and endless sufferings of hell.
Mortiis is a band from Notodden, Norway fronted by Håvard Ellefsen, who is also known as the namesake of the band. The name is a misspelling of the word “mortis”, which is the pronunciation used by the band. Mortiis started as the solo project of Ellefsen as a means to convey a story. This aspect was lost over time and Mortiis slowly formed into a band.