The Needle Drop

Mayhem - "Psywar"

New MusictheneedledropComment Norwegian black metal titan Mayhem is back with their first new material since 2007's Ordo Ad Chao and the departure of longtime guitarist Blasphemer. The band will be releasing its currently untitled fifth LP in May, but they have been kind (or perhaps cruel) enough to give us this new single to tide us over.

"Psywar" is as ferocious as anything Mayhem has done in the past. Despite being quite breezy at three-and-a-half minutes long, you'll be thankful for the brief droney break about halfway through. Attila's groaning, wretched voice is expectedly just as impressive during these precious slow-downs as it is when Hellhammer, Necrobutcher, and Teloch are playing at breakneck speeds.

Mayhem also continues dealing with challenging themes in their music. From the title of the song, as well as lines like "The battlefield is your mind;" "Psywar" is evidently about mental turmoil to some extent, although turmoil of the physical variety can't be ruled out. The imagery of this lyric video, including ouroboros and bullets being used as sarcophagi, seems to convey the perpetuity of violence and the impossibility of achieving external or internal peace.

So, Mayhem's outlook on life is a bleak as ever, thank goodness. "Psywar" will be released as a limited edition, stand-alone 7" EP and will have the B-side "From Beyond Event Horizon", an unreleased track taken from the band's 2012 Budapest sessions. This is due out on various colored vinyl editions April 25 via Season of Mist.