It’s incredible, the old demons the Internet pulls out from the dark corners of the past. How can this video exist? Maybe just to dislodge the following relic.In early 1986, a young Jon “Metalion” Kristiansen was sitting on the floor of his boyhood room floor, listening to Hellhammer and Bathory and writing an article about up-and-coming Norwegian extreme metal band Mayhem for his now-classic fanzine Slayer Mag. Here’s the gist, translated from Norwegian with original punctuation:
“On 2/15/86, they’ll play a show in Ski, at Folkets. BE THERE OR BE DEAD! For that show, they have bought 40 kg of ‘effects’ at the butchers! (FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!) They also promise some pyrotechnics! (FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!!) TOTAL MAYHEMIC DESTRUCTION.”
The reality of Mayhem’s situation in 1986 is captured in the following clip. Unlike our wet fantasies, there is no pyro, no 40 kg of rotten meat, not really any TOTAL MAYHEMIC DESTRUCTION, either—but who the hell cares? Venom and Celtic Frost covers, a touch of mascara, and a bit of spandex and studs rule the night. They may not be technically proficient, but they are the first in Norway to turn this way. The uncanny upside down cross on the forehead of Euronymous is great—so is the perfectly snapped off bass guitar topping off a furious show. This is how it was done in Ski, Norway, when the extreme metal manual was still in its first draft:
Fast forward 25 years. Slayer Mag is a metal institution—important enough to be compiled into the universally celebrated book METALION: The Slayer Mag Diaries. This small episode is one reason why. The legendary first-ever Mayhem article in a metal mag appears there, right along with the elusive spirit of a dedicated and ever-spawning underground. We celebrate that.