Editor’s Introduction: For years I’ve been an admirer of the photography of L.A.-based magician Levan TK. In my humble opinion, there is no better concert photographer to be found. And so we feel fortunate indeed to present his photographs from the performance of the legendary Mayhem in southern California on February 7, 2017, along with Levan TK’s thoughts about the show. To view more of his photographic art, go HERE.
And by the way, to hear the first time De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was ever performed live in its entirety (in Norrkjöping, Sweden, on Dec. 18, 2015, at the Black Christmass Festival), it’s available on Bandcamp HERE.
Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas US tour hit LA — well, Santa Ana, which is part of the greater Los Angeles area to be precise. Though the band had performed the album in its entirety last year at Maryland Deathfest, as well as a few European fests and shows, they have never before attempted a full stateside tour for the pivotal album.
It was an uncharacteristically rainy and dreary evening, but that did not stop the masses of metal heads from converging on the nearly filled-to-capacity Observatory in Santa Ana. Expectations were high for this performance, and the crowd seemed very eager and anxious.
The lights dimmed to nearly pitch black and the stage was awash in cold blue light as shadows emerged from behind the stage to the ecstatic howling of the crowd.
Cloaked and hooded, Teloch, Attila, Necrobutcher, and Ghul took their places at the very front of the stage and immediately launched into the barrage. There was no stage banter, no calls for “raise your fists” or “let me see your hands, LA”, and no nonsense. Just the pure black metal assault that the audience had been so eagerly awaiting.
The band remained shrouded in darkness and silhouetted against the blue lights for most of the show. Despite the fact that the band members were nearly indiscernible black shapes moving about the stage, the crowd was kept raptured and the pit frenzied.
Attila commanded the stage and worked the audience like only he can: Simultaneously a portrait of depraved insanity, and a fearsome larger-than-life figure commanding unwavering attention from the spectators. He utterly loses himself in the performance and transforms into something nearly otherworldly, at times seeming possessed and not fully in control of himself. Attila’s presence on stage is unlike any other and he remains one of the greatest frontmen in extreme metal today!
Their set concluded, the band unceremoniously left the stage as the lights brightened. There was, again, no banter, no goodbyes, and no pomp and circumstance. Attila reemerged to eerily grimace silently at the crowd before disappearing into the fog. There was no encore, none was needed. The point had been made.