De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is the fourth official release and second studio album by the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. Songwriting began as early as 1990, but due to the suicide of vocalist Dead and murder of guitarist Euronymous, the album's release was delayed until May 1994.


Mayhem began writing songs for the album in 1990, with vocalist Dead composing the lyrics. However, in April 1991, Dead committed suicide and bassist Necrobutcher left the band as a result. Mayhem were now in need of a vocalist and bassist to record their next release. In 1993 they recruited vocalist Attila Csihar (who performed with Tormentor), additional guitarist Snorre Ruch (who performed solo as Thorns) and bassist Varg Vikernes (who performed solo as Burzum). The year before, Vikernes had been involved with burning down three churches in Norway. This lineup recorded much of the album during the first half of 1993 at the Grieg Hall in Bergen.

During the recording, tensions arose between Vikernes and Euronymous. On 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Ruch travelled to Euronymous's home in Oslo. Upon their arrival a confrontation began, which ended when Vikernes fatally stabbed Euronymous. His body was found outside the apartment with twenty-three cut wounds – two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back. Vikernes defends that most of Euronymous's cut wounds were caused by broken glass he had fallen on during the struggle. He was arrested within days and sentenced to 21 years in prison for both the murder and the church burnings.

After Vikernes was convicted for the murder, Euronymous' parents requested that the album not feature the bass parts recorded by Vikernes. Hellhammer allegedly agreed to remove the bass parts and re-record them himself. However, instead of re-recording the bass parts, he simply lowered Vikernes' contributions in the final mix of the album.

The final product, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, features the last lyrics written by Dead before his suicide, and the last songs recorded by Euronymous before his murder. It may also be the only heavy metal album on which both a murderer and his victim perform.

Title and artwork

The title De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a Latin phrase which Euronymous translates (and intended to be translated) as Lord Satan's Secret Rites; but the phrase translates more literally as Of Lord Satan's Mysteries. The album cover shows the east side of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. The first editions of the album feature lyrics in the booklet and the cathedral coloured a shade of purple. Most subsequent editions do not feature lyrics and the cathedral is coloured a shade of blue. However, there are some versions which feature the lyrics in the booklet and have a blue shaded cathedral on the cover.


De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is widely acclaimed as one of the masterpieces of the black metal genre, and its bleak aesthetics and lyrics have often been cited as an inspiration by other black metal groups.

While Mayhem's previous vocalist had been Swede, Attila Csihar was from Hungary. His style is somewhat atypical for black metal, and has provoked a mixed reception from fans; for example, Metal Reviews gave him the nickname "Attila 'Fingernails' Csihar" (although a subsequent review by the website praised his later, Ordo Ad Chao-era performances).

Track listing

  1. "Funeral Fog" – 5:47
  2. "Freezing Moon" – 6:22
  3. "Cursed in Eternity" – 5:10
  4. "Pagan Fears" – 6:21
  5. "Life Eternal" – 6:57
  6. "From the Dark Past" – 5:27
  7. "Buried By Time and Dust" – 3:34
  8. "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" – 6:22



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