Mayhem mark 30th anniversary with “ritual” performance at Oya Festival

Norwegian Black Metal band were joined by guest Bjørn Muller of Backstreet Girls

Norwegian Black Metal band Mayhem marked 30 years since they started as a band with a performance at Oslo’s Øya Festival last night (August 8).

Playing in the festival’s Sirkus arena, their stage set-up featured rows of candles, various animal carcasses and rib cages and seven severed pigs’ heads mounted on spikes.

Frontman Attila Csihar, sometimes known as Void ov Voices, appeared wearing a cowl, clutching a human skull and wearing a noose draped around his neck. During the set he frequently prostrated himself before the pig head in the centre of the stage, as well as occasionally pretending to duet with it.

After the opening four song salvo Csihar addressed the audience, which was substantial despite the fact that Mayhem’s performance clashed with the second half of festival headliners Röyksopp and Robyn’s set. Csihar said: “Good evening Oslo. We would like you to welcome you to this ritual musical experience.”

Later in the set he added that they intended their music to serve as a message to political leaders who use “religion, politics, money and greed to create fear.”

Csihar also said that as the band are “celebrating the 30th anniversary of Mayhem” they would play music from throughout their career, from songs originally performed in 1984 through to their single ‘Psywar’, taken from new album ‘Esoteric Warfare’.

Towards the end of the set a roadie appeared on stage to set the central pig’s head alight. The usually subdued Norweigan crowd were by this point engaging in one of Øya festival’s very few circle pits.

The band’s only surviving original member, bassist Jørn Stubberud better known as Necrobutcher, thanked the crowd for their support in Norwegian before introducing special guest Bjørn Muller of Backstreet Girls, a band who like Mayhem formed in Oslo in 1984. After his performance, Muller left the stage with the word: “Outstanding.”

After an hour-long set, Csihar and Stubberud took their bows before being joined by drummer Jan Axel Blomberg, known as ‘Hellhammer’, who threw his sticks into the crowd.

Øya Festival continues today (August 9) with performances by Omar Souleyman, Mac DeMarco and Todd Terje among others.