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[Review] Mayhem @ Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne 21/01/2023

Even if you’re not into Mayhem or Black Metal, you would have heard stories of this band, they are one of the most notorious acts to play stages around the world. You don’t go to see Mayhem, you go to experience it. The last time I saw these guys they played De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in it’s entirety and THAT was mind blowing! This time around, well… we will get there.

This was my first time heading to the Croxton Bandroom and it’s a pretty decent venue, just a bit smaller in capacity to Max Watts in the city but the layout is great as you can get a good view of the stage anywhere in the room. I stood to the side of the sound desk, as is tradition, cause you know, there is no better place to hear it than standing next to the people mixing it.

Kicking off tonights disorder is Melbourne’s own Werewolves. I have been wanting to see these guys live since hearing their album What a Time to be Alive back in 2021. These guys came out and gave the crowd a complete 30mins of solid machine gun precision blasts, it was incredible, they did not let down my hype or expectations at all! The room was filling up pretty quickly and I did have a bit of a laugh to myself as it was stereotypical black metal fans in the crowd, standing, arms crossed and nodding their heads in time, a couple of people were head banging and getting into but yeah, just a bit funny when people play the stereotypes, in saying that, each song was met with applause and screams of appreciation so everyone was still into it. If you can, go and catch these guys play, Dave Haley is one of the best drummers going around and watching him is always impressive. Ending on their first single of What a Time to be Alive, I Don’t Like You with “Don’t get the shits now, this is out last track” got the reaction they wanted from the crowd with more movement and involvement, Im really keen to go and see these guys play again somewhere.

Next up is Ulcerate from New Zealand. Coming off the back of blistering blasts and thrash guitars these guys had a polar opposite approach, with their Progressive Doomier style of playing, no less impressive though. Their drummer is unbelievable, his fills and playing style had me focusing more on him than anything. Ulcerate had a 45/50min set and played probably the same number of songs as Werewolves had in 30mins, they seemed pretty long and intricate. There were a couple of issues when the guitarist changed to a cleaner tone, I found that it got lost in the mix and unfortunately the room was pretty damn full at this stage so there was no chance of getting closer, what a shame that they played to a 3/4 full room. A quick thank you to the crowd was the only interaction from Ulcerate, they came out and got the crowd in the mood for the instilling anarchy coming up next.

By the end of Ulcerates set, the room is completely full, looking around, people are getting hyped and excited for what we are about to witness. As I watch the stage set up and looking up at Hellhammers drum kit is nuts, its massive! You can’t see him playing it, you just hear it. The stage goes dark, smoke fills the air, then everything goes red and the opening track of Daemon, Falsified and Hated explodes. Atilla takes the stage like a ghoul that has just come out of the grave, the guy is next level. Cloaked, painted and baring a bone cross he moves erratically and with the strobe lights, it even looks puppet or animated, eerie effect but goddamn it just adds to the experience of The One True Mayhem. They play 3 Acts through the set, first 5 or 6 tracks are newer material with the likes of Malum and Bad Blood, then they dissapper and all come back fully cloaked to give us tracks from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. The crowd go absolutely nuts for Freezing Moon. I could never get sick of hearing those drums live, the amount of reverb on them is crazy. The Third and final act was the Deathcrush EP, banners showing black and white pictures of the original or line up from the ep, and the band coming back out to Silvester Anfang then kicking into Deathcrush itself! This is the second time I’ve seen Mayhem, the first being De Mysteriis… in it’s entirety, now that was unreal, seeing a classic album played in full but I left being greedy and at least hoping to hear Deathcrush, finally hearing it live was just incredible and to the effect that these guys put in on stage, it definitely hit home.

No one left disappointed that night, full house, all bands played tight and incredibly well and the set had songs from all eras of the band, how could you be disappointed? As I said at the start, seeing Mayhem, one of the greats of the genre is an experience and anyone that is into Black Metal should be trying to see these guys at some stage. Clearly Australia gets it with 2 out of 4 shows sold out.

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