Few, if any, bands can claim the level of notoriety enjoyed by Norway's black-metal legends Mayhem. From lurid but true stories of suicide to intra-band murder and connections with the burnings of numerous churches to purge the Viking homeland of the taint of Christianity, the music of Mayhem is almost always overshadowed by its non-musical activities and reputation. This band didn't invent black metal, but it did make important contributions to the genre with albums like 1994's dark masterpiece De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and the acclaimed 2000 concept album, Grand Declaration of War. Rather than the cartoonish satanism of Venom, Mayhem seemed to embrace the dark side of the human psyche with relish and conviction. Never short on theater in its live shows, Mayhem nonetheless doesn't fake being scary.
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