De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas


De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is the first studio album by the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. Songwriting began in 1987,[1] but due to the suicide of vocalist Per "Dead" Ohlin and the murder of guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, the album's release was delayed until May 1994. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is widely considered one of the most influential black metal albums of all time.[2][3][4] It is the band's only studio album to feature Aarseth and Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes.

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Mayhem demysteriisdomsathanas.jpg
Studio album by
Released24 May 1994 (1994-05-24)
Recorded22 June 1992 – May 1993
StudioGrieg Hall in Bergen, Norway
GenreBlack metal
LabelDeathlike Silence
Mayhem chronology
Live in Leipzig
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Grand Declaration of War

Background and recordingEdit


Mayhem began writing songs for the album in late 1987 or early 1988, depending on the source. Vocalist Dead started to write the lyrics when he joined the band in 1988. In 1990 studio versions of the songs "The Freezing Moon" and "Carnage" were recorded, appearing on the CBR Records compilation album Projections of a Stained Mind.[5] Mayhem's drummer, Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg, claimed that the lyrics of "Freezing Moon" were "meant to make people commit suicide".[6] Dead said in a 1989 interview by Marduk guitarist Morgan "Evil" Håkansson, published in Slayer fanzine, that by then he had written the lyrics for "Funeral Fog", "Freezing Moon", "Buried by Time and Dust" and "Pagan Fears".[7] Finished versions of these songs appeared on the album Live in Leipzig, a concert recording from November 1990 which was released in 1993.

By 1991, Dead and Euronymous were living in a house in the woods near Kråkstad, which was used by the band to rehearse.[8] On 8 April 1991, while alone in the house, Dead slit his wrists and throat and then shot himself in the forehead with a shotgun.[9] He left a brief suicide note, which apologized for having used the gun indoors and began with "Excuse the blood".[8] His body was found by Euronymous. Before calling the police, he allegedly went to a nearby shop and bought a disposable camera with which he photographed the body, after re-arranging some items.[10] One of these photographs was later used as the cover of a bootleg live album titled The Dawn of the Black Hearts.[11]


To record the new album, Euronymous recruited Attila Csihar (from the Hungarian band Tormentor) as vocalist and Vikernes (who performed solo as Burzum) as bassist. This lineup – Euronymous, Hellhammer, Csihar and Vikernes – recorded the album during late 1992 and early 1993 at the Grieg Hall in Bergen. According to Attila Csihar, the whole album was recorded in three days.[12] The album itself contained no information on lineup and credits. Necrobutcher, who had left the band before the recording sessions, claimed to have written half of the songs for the album. He stated that he and Dead wrote "Freezing Moon" and Euronymous only contributed one riff to that song.[13] Snorre "Blackthorn" Ruch (who performed solo as Thorns) wrote some of the riffs for the album and finished some of Dead's song lyrics, according to himself and Hellhammer.[14][15] The main riff of the Thorns song "Into the Promised Land" (also called "Lovely Children") became the main riff of "From the Dark Past".[16] According to Vikernes, Euronymous was responsible for most of the guitar riffs, but he claimed that Hellhammer, Necrobutcher and himself contributed some riffs, too.[17]

On 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Blackthorn traveled to Euronymous's apartment in Oslo, where Vikernes stabbed Euronymous to death.[18] He was arrested and sentenced to 21 years in prison, while Blackthorn was sentenced to 8 years for being an accomplice.[19]

During Vikernes's trial, police said that they had found explosives and ammunition in Vikernes's home. Euronymous and Vikernes had allegedly plotted to blow up Nidaros Cathedral, which appears on the album cover, to coincide with the album's release.[9] Vikernes denied this allegation in a 2009 interview, saying, "I was getting [the explosives and ammunition] in order to defend Norway if we were attacked any time. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union could have decided to attack us."[20]

After Euronymous's funeral, Hellhammer and Necrobutcher worked on releasing the album.[21] Euronymous's parents asked Hellhammer to remove the bass tracks recorded by Vikernes. Hellhammer refused, saying, "I thought it was appropriate that the murderer and victim were on the same record. I put word out that I was re-recording the bass parts, but I never did".[21]

The album was eventually released in May 1994, around the time that Vikernes was sentenced. It featured the last lyrics written by Dead before his suicide, and the last songs recorded by Euronymous before his murder.

In 2009, Mayhem released rough mixes of five songs from the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas recording session as the EP Life Eternal.

Title and artworkEdit

The title De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a Latin phrase meaning "(About) The Mysteries of the Lord Satan", with "Dom" being an abbreviation of "Domini", often used as an honorific prefix for ecclesiastics of the Catholic Church.[22] The album cover is a monochrome photo of the east side of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.[21]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [23]

The album is widely considered one of the most influential black metal albums ever. According to a long feature by Metal Hammer, "Two decades after it was recorded, it continues to top 'best album' lists by longtime fans of the genre, while at the same time providing primary inspiration for new bands whose members were not even born when it was recorded. There are many who would say it is the single most important album in black metal's broad and ever-growing catalogue, and very few who would argue that it is not, at the very least, a strong contender for that accolade."[4] Metal Injection described it as "one of the most essential black metal albums of all time", writing that "In one record, the listener is exposed to all the power, glory and contradictions inherent in Norwegian black metal, thus making it a fascinating artifact from the dark past, and an essential piece of black metal listening."[24] De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was included on IGN's list of "10 Great Black Metal Albums".[2] Metal Hammer named it one of the 20 best black metal albums of the '90s.[25] Loudwire named it the 8th best extreme metal album of all time, writing that "The riffs are unforgettable and the atmosphere is caustic and suffocating with Attila Csihar's twisted, throaty cries sending it all to hell. They also argued that the album has a "stranglehold" on "black metal's legacy".[26] Treble Magazine named it one of the 10 essential black metal albums.[27]

In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas as 40th on their list of 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.'[28]

While Mayhem's previous vocalist, Dead had been Swedish, Csihar was from Hungary.[29] His style was somewhat atypical for Nordic black metal then, and provoked a mixed reception from fans; for example, gave him the nickname "Attila 'Fingernails' Csihar" (although a subsequent review by the website praised his later Ordo Ad Chao-era performances). The song "Freezing Moon" was included on Kerrang!'s 25 Extreme Metal Anthems and various songs from this album have been covered live and in studio by such bands as Dissection (Jon Nödtveidt and Ole Öhman also performed the song with Euronymous in 1991),[30] Immortal, Dark Funeral, Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth, Behemoth, Vader, Enslaved,[31] Cradle of Filth and Darkmoon.[32] "Funeral Fog" was covered by Emperor with Csihar on vocals.[33]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Mayhem.

1."Funeral Fog"5:47
2."Freezing Moon"6:23
3."Cursed in Eternity"5:10
4."Pagan Fears"6:20
5."Life Eternal"6:57
6."From the Dark Past"5:26
7."Buried by Time and Dust"3:34
8."De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"6:21
Total length:45:58


Recording lineupEdit

Additional personnelEdit

  • Necrobutcher – co–wrote some of the music for tracks 1–4 and 7, and lyrics for tracks 3 and 4.[34]
  • Dead – wrote the lyrics for tracks 1, 2, 5 and 7, as well as most of the lyrics for tracks 6 and 8.
  • Blackthorn – wrote some of the lyrics and guitar riffs for tracks 6 and 8.[14][15] "From the Dark Past" features riffs taken from his band Thorns's demo "Grymyrk".[35]


Chart performance for De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Chart (2020) Peak
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[36] 60
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[37] 35


  1. ^ Lahdenpera, Esa. "Mayhem. Northern Black Metal Legends". Kill Yourself!!! Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  2. ^ a b Ramirez, Carlos (6 January 2009). "10 Great Black Metal Albums – IGN". Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Terrorizer Magazine List page".
  4. ^ a b "How Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas changed metal". Metal Hammer. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. ^ Various Artists: Projections of a Stained Mind, CBR Records 1991.
  6. ^ Gunnar Grøndahl (director) (1994). Det Svarte Alvor (motion picture) (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.
  7. ^ Evil: Mayhem. In: Jon Kristiansen: Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries. Brooklyn, NY: Bazillion Points Books 2011, p. 290.
  8. ^ a b Stefan Rydehed (director) (2008). Pure Fucking Mayhem (motion picture). Index Verlag.
  9. ^ a b Martin Ledang (director), Pål Aasdal (director) (2007). Once Upon a Time in Norway (motion picture). Another World Entertainment.
  10. ^ Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind: Interview with Hellhammer taken from the book Lords Of Chaos.
  11. ^ Dan Zimmer: Interview with Hellhammer taken from Sounds Of Death magazine.
  12. ^ Sciaky, Davide. "Interview with Mayhem's Attila Csihar". Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  13. ^ Mayhem. In: Slayer, no. 14, summer 2000, p. 77.
  14. ^ a b Sonderkrig, Agnes: THORNS Archived 21 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Voices from the Darkside (zine).
  15. ^ a b "Interview with Necro Butcher and Hellhammer taken from Terrorizer magazine #45".
  16. ^ "Thorns – Grymyrk/Trondertun" Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. LARM.
  17. ^ Chris Mitchell: "Interview with Varg Vikernes" (10 May 2005), by Chris Mitchell, accessed on 2 December 2012.
  18. ^ Darcey Steinke: "Satan’s Cheerleaders", Spin, February 1996.
  19. ^ Varg Vikernes: A Burzum Story: Part II – Euronymous.
  20. ^ Midtskogen, Rune (4 July 2009). "'Greven' angrer ingenting" ['The Count' regrets nothing]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  21. ^ a b c Campion, Chris (20 February 2005). "In the Face of Death". The Observer. Retrieved 6 October 2007.
  22. ^ "Dominus | Roman title". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  23. ^ Huey, Steve. "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas – Mayhem". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  24. ^ "Essential Black Metal Listening: MAYHEM De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas – Metal Injection". Metal Injection. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  25. ^ "20 of the best black metal albums from the 1990s". Metal Hammer. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Top 25 Extreme Metal Albums of All Time". Loudwire. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  27. ^ "10 Essential Black Metal Albums". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Rolling Stone Share Their Choices For 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time'". 21 June 2017.
  29. ^ Christe, Ian (2003). Sound of the Beast: the Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. p. 275.
  30. ^ Andrea Biagi: Biography Part One. "The First Era".
  31. ^ Various Artists: Originators of the Northern Darkness – A Tribute to Mayhem, Avantgarde Music 2001.
  32. ^ "A Tribute to Mayhem: Originators of the Northern Darkness – Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  33. ^ Attila Csihar: The Beast Of, Cacophonous Records 2003.
  34. ^ Half of this album was previously recorded for Live in Leipzig and all tracks on that album are credited to Mayhem, which would include Necrobutcher as well.
  35. ^ THORNS – Grymyrk [Full Demo 1991], archived from the original on 13 December 2021, retrieved 21 February 2021
  36. ^ " – Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  37. ^ " – Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 July 2020.

External linksEdit

  • Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas at Metal Reviews