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Mayhem Drummer Hellhammer Reveals More About New Album, Speaks On Lords Of Chaos Movie And More

What can be said about Mayhem that hasn't already been said? They are perhaps the most infamous band in all of metal, if not of all time, with a history drenched in blood and controversy. Arguably the leaders of the Norwegian black metal scene which of course included such other legendary names as Emperor, Immortal and Darkthrone, their debut full length, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" remains an essential part of any self respecting black metal fans collection and over the years, the band has pushed themselves and the listener with ever more creative and avant garde releases.

Now, in 2019, the band are preparing to record and release their first album since 2014's, "Esoteric Warfare" and have also been one of the year's most talked about metal bands once again, after the release of a controversial biopic, "Lords Of Chaos." Yesterday after their show in London with Septicflesh, Carpathian Forest, Shining and more, I sat down with drummer Hellhammer, the only constant member since 1988 to discuss these subjects, as well as future touring plans, the state of Arcturus and more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Obviously the big news right now is that you'll be releasing a new album in August. Have you begun writing material or do you already have some songs written?

Hellhammer: We have everything actually. We'll be in the studio in Sweden on the 24th of May. I'll be there for a week, we'll record the drums first and then the usual stuff.

Oz: So once you do the drums will you just go home or will you stick around for the rest of the process?

Hellhammer: I'll just go straight home.

Oz: Material wise, how does it compare to "Esoteric Warfare"?

Hellhammer: Well the pre-production stuff is always going to be different from the finished product. I would say it's very much more like the old stuff, like "Deathcrush" kind of thing. It's more basic but it's more dark and evil (than "Esoteric Warfare".)

Oz: Cool, very old school Mayhem?

Hellhammer: Yes.

Oz: Good. I think that's what everyone likes to hear, even though I've not heard any complaints about "Esoteric Warfare" or "Ordo Ad Chao."

Hellhammer: I didn't hear complaints, but I read some! (laughs)

Oz: I don't suppose you'd like to reveal any more about the album? You've said you've got everything done, the title too I assume?

Hellhammer: We don't actually have a title yet. I can reveal that many of the lyrics are in Latin. We've gone away from the hyper blast stuff to a more mid tempo sound, of course there's some fast stuff there as well. Drums wise of course I go back to the old school, no triggers. I'd actually like to have the same drum sound as the second Bathory album.

Oz: Well that's not a bad target to aim for! Of course in 2019, it's quite difficult to talk about Mayhem without bringing up the film, "Lords Of Chaos." Have you seen it yet?

Hellhammer: No, I have not seen it yet. I would love to see it. I've had the chance many times but it never fits in with my schedule.

Oz: I heard that Mayhem weren't giving permission for their music to be featured in the film and then I heard that they were, so is there Mayhem music in the movie?

Hellhammer: I don't know. I tried to download the movie but it was always crappy so I thought "If that's the whole movie, then I'll wait."

Oz: As I said before filming, the first time I saw you was two years ago at Graspop performing "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" in full. How was it for you to revisit the whole album?

Hellhammer: It was great actually. That was one of the very first shows that we did it that was actually taped and the venue was great and of course we just had to release it.

Oz: It was such an experience to witness and I think it's an interesting way to contrast today's Mayhem with the Mayhem back then.

Hellhammer: Absolutely, plus it's a chance for Necrobutcher to finally play on the album! Of course, his song "Freezing Moon" doesn't have his bass playing so the live album was a good idea for us too.

Oz: I read that when you were younger, your main passions before getting into drums were football and wrestling. Do you still follow football today?

Hellhammer: Well, my favourite team is still Leeds United. (laughs)

Oz: (after some confusion) Well they beat Derby County today! That's amazing, I never would have expected you to be a Leeds fan. But they were good back then.

Hellhammer: Uhhh... Quite good! Not as good as they were before I began following them.

Oz: I have a few fan questions to finish off with. One is regarding the current status of Arcturus, obviously you reunited in 2011 and put out the new album in 2015. Are there any plans for more material?

Hellhammer: The status now is that we'll be doing some live shows here and there. We are recording a new album and Mortem is going to be coming back. It contains the original singer and my fiance Anna, who I also have a band with. It's quite interesting.

Oz: Cool. Antonio from America wants to know if you've ever watched Varg Vikernes' YouTube channel?

Hellhammer: No. I don't want to. There's so much shit written about Mayhem that if I was going to read or watch all of it I would just... *sighs*

Oz: Well just finally, Rae from Japan wants to know if the band has any plans to come to Asia in the near future and if when you do, she can give you a shirt from her clothing line.

Hellhammer: Yes, I would say so. We have a European tour coming up in October. The plan is to incorporate Asia, including Japan, so if not this year then for sure next year. Of course she can give me one of her shirts too. Thank you very much!

Oz: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me tonight. I really appreciate it.

Hellhammer: My pleasure. Thank you.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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