Opening for Mayhem: Keep of Kalessin, Hate, Abigail Williams
Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, Norway and regarded as one of the pioneers of the influential Norwegian black metal scene. Mayhem's career has been highly controversial, primarily due to the their violent stage performances, the suicide of original vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin in 1991 and the murder of guitarist Øystein Aarseth by former band member Varg Vikernes, then of Burzum, in 1993.
Inspired by groups such as Venom, Slayer, Motörhead and Celtic Frost, Mayhem was founded in 1984 by guitarist/vocalist Øystein Aarseth (aka Euronymous), bass guitarist Jørn Stubberud (aka Necrobutcher), and drummer Kjetil Manheim (aka Manheim). With Sven Erik Kristiansen (aka Maniac) on vocals, Mayhem recorded the band's first EP, Deathcrush in 1986 and 1987, and released it through Euronymous's newly formed label Posercorpse Music. By mid-1988 both Manheim and Maniac had left the band.
After two brief replacements, their positions were filled by Swedish vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin (aka Dead) and local drummer Jan Axel Blomberg (aka Hellhammer). With Dead as vocalist, the band's concerts became notorious. Whilst performing, Dead would often cut himself with hunting knives and broken glass, and the band often had pig or sheep heads impaled on stakes at the front of their stage. On 8 April 1991, Dead committed suicide in the house owned by the band, affecting Necrobutcher so much that he left Mayhem.
Later that year, the recording of Mayhem's upcoming album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas resumed. In Dead's and Necrobutcher's absences, Attila Csihar of Tormentor handled vocals, and Varg Vikernes of Burzum handled bass guitar. To coincide with the release of the album, Euronymous and Vikernes had conspired to blow up Nidaros Cathedral, which appears on the album cover. On 10 August 1993, Varg Vikernes murdered guitarist Euronymous, claiming Euronymous had planned to torture him to death. Regardless of the circumstances, Vikernes was arrested within days, and a few months later he was sentenced to 21 years in prison for both the murder and church arsons.
Mayhem continues on today with Hellhammer, with their latest album, Ordo Ad Chao, being released in 2008.