Mayhem, "Grand Declaration of War"
Well, this the "Black Album" of black metal. This is the one that's going to draw a line in the sand and at the end of the day, you will find yourself on one side of it, staring at the people on the other. But, since almost everyone's already heard this album by now, I'm just gonna skip the description and give you my opinion, ok? It's great. That's it, end of story. One of the best albums of last year. And the track that sounds like old Skinny Puppy that people like to point at when they say "sellout?" I like that one too. I find myself humming it every so often at work. It's good. Get over it. Personally, I can't see why people are getting so angry. First off, "Grand Declaration of War" is in no way a "sellout" or "commercial." Anyone that thinks so is a fool. And second, why is this such a surprise? I mean, didn't anyone listen to "Wolf's Lair Abyss"? Half of the ideas on here are threads that started on that album and the the other half are just taking them to their logical conclusions. Yeah, they've added some electronic sounds and samples, but they only serve to twist the sound further.
And Mayhem sound just as indifferent to their audience as they've always been. This album - from its riffs to its vocals to its production - is the sound of a band with complete and total confidence. No pity, no second thoughts, no remorse. They've never sounded colder. The all-digital production and ultra-tight playing have just made everything that much more precise and icy.
Admittedly, Maniac's new "oral-dictator" vocal style takes a bit of getting used to at first, but it could turn into something powerful. Black metal's been preaching for years, and only now has someone actually tried to sound like a preacher. If he studies a little political history and starts listening to some of the great orators like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Hitler, and Castro, he might develop this idea into an awesome vocal weapon. Could be interesting.
So stop whining and get used to it, already.