All interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: April 8, 2021
April 8, 2021, marks 30 years since Per Yngve Ohlin, aka "Dead" from the infamous Norwegian Black Metal group Mayhem, sadly took his own life at the age of 22. Dead, the name most of us knew him by, was a unique individual with beliefs that he uncompromisingly followed until the end of his days. He did not care about social pressure and did what he enjoyed most: being a fan of extreme music and living his life to the fullest. He fronted Mayhem for three years (1988 to 1991) and was perhaps the very first Black Metal musician who began to use corpse paint on stage, which added a whole new visual dimension to the band's notorious live shows.
Despite only fronting Mayhem for a few years, he achieved a lot of cult status before things started to get a tad too crazy and ugly in the Norwegian underground Metal scene at the beginning of the '90s (we all know the history too well, don't we?)
Dead was undeniably respected by many Black Metal fans around the globe although some of us considered him a bit too extreme due to his, let's just say, bizarre and dangerous habits, especially as far as his stage presence was concerned.
We here at the pitch-black and evil-reeking headquarters of The Metal Crypt thought it would be appropriate to honor his memory and invited several musicians to share their thoughts about him and how he inspired or influenced them when they formed their own bands.
Thanks to every individual who took some time to share a few comments for this remembrance of "Dead" and Mayhem.
When was the first time you heard of Mayhem with Dead as the front man? What was your initial reaction?
Thomas Eriksen (MORK): Probably on the cover of Live in Leipzig at a record shop. Iconic photo.
Shatraug (HORNA): That would be the Freezing Moon/Carnage demo, which still feels fresh even today. It defined how Black Metal should incorporate darkness, and Dead's voice was one of the best that ever existed in the genre. Before I started Horna back in the day, I had a friend who sounded quite similar and I wanted him to be the vocalist but unfortunately, he was never interested in being in bands or doing any kind of music apart from drunken night growls.
Sablast (ZIMOROG): The first time I heard Black Metal and liked it was when I heard Satyricon's Mother North at my cousin's place. It was magical. I felt like the genre itself was calling me. The first thing I did when I got back home was to research Black Metal. Mayhem's "Freezing Moon" with Dead on vocals was the first thing I listened to alone. I still remember the feeling. Mother North helped me to find Black Metal and "Freezing Moon" cemented my feelings about it. It was magical. I appreciate all the Mayhem vocalists but my first touch with the band was with Dead and he is my favorite.
Adrastos (TOTAL HATE): I have been listening to Metal since 1990 and it was around 1994 that I first heard about Black Metal in general. I had neither contact to people who listened to Black Metal nor idea about the things that happened in Norway, so I had to discover everything on my own. In the mid '90s, I bought nearly every Black Metal album I could find and the Morbid/Mayhem Tribute to the Black Emperors split was one of the releases that I bought. The sound just blew me away! When I heard the music and saw the photos of Dead, it felt like one of the Evil Dead demons had become real and formed a band. That may sound funny these days, but it was anything but that.
WOLVES' WINTER: We heard about him in different stages and ages because our members range in age from their 20s to almost 40s. Our first exposure was around 1999/2000 because, in our country, things arrived pretty late and most of us were too young to be involved. But when we discovered Mayhem and Dead, it was a game changer.
He was a legend that influenced so much, not only in music but in a way that was part of something bigger. Becoming a myth was something that all of us dreamed of.
His attitude on stage, the "aura" of death around him, the mysticism, were things that made Black Metal what is nowadays. True Black Metal.
Luka Milojica (HAIDUK): I borrowed some Mayhem CDs from my older brother when I was a teenager. I'd known about Dead and his suicide and found some old recordings with him. Dead was the best Mayhem vocalist and one of the best in the genre.
Lycanthrop (NECRO FOREST): I heard Mayhem and Dead back in high school. I'm not quite sure how old I was, but my first reaction was, "this guy is crazy, but somehow cool." The name Dead perfectly describes his morbid personality, or should I say "un-personality". I was instantly a fan of the band, but his image was the thing I explored the most.
Jontho (RAGNAROK): I first heard about him after the cult concert Mayhem had in my hometown of Sarpsborg in 1990. At that point I was only thirteen years old so I couldn't go to the concert. But around that time and the year after I became friends with Cultoculus and Metalion who were close friends with him and I remember they told me about the gig, how "real" he was, and about his death. Back then I got more and more into Black Metal very much because of the guys I mentioned who introduced me to this new, dark music.
The performance and the stories about Dead and how he acted on stage, this was Black Metal for me. I was inspired by this and to this day I stay true to how Black Metal was and should still be, but time changes and music develops. I still think "true" Black Metal is exactly how Dead performed it and even more important, he was one of few that meant what he expressed.
Black Emperor (SUPREMACÍA SATÁNICA): I think it was around the year 2000 or 2001. My first reaction was of shock since it was when I saw the cover of The Dawn of the Black Hearts.
Dolgar (THE DEVIANT): I am honestly not sure if I heard Deathcrush or if I heard the songs with Dead on vocals first, but it is very possible that I heard Mayhem for the first time after Dead had already taken his own life. I do remember thinking these were two very different incarnations of the band. My initial reaction on hearing Mayhem with Dead on vocals was that it was brilliant, simple as that. He had a great voice. I also remember I liked that he had not dyed his hair black (in a time when that was more or less the norm). Blonde hair and corpse paint, very few did that back then and it gave him a unique visual appearance. 1990-91 was a period for me when I discovered the underground for real, when I went from only buying what I could get at the local record stores (Bathory, Venom, early releases from Earache) to getting involved in tape trading and ordering demos in the underground. I lived too far away from Oslo to know much about what was going on there around the time when Dead was fronting Mayhem, so I never heard about the shows they played with him when they were actually happening. Like most people reading this, I really wish I could have been there at one of those shows.
Vulturius (IRAE): It was in the mid '90s that a friend of mine at that time got the first press CD of Live in Leipzig. We listen a bit at his place and he told me about Mayhem's history, and I got very curious and later I borrowed it. As soon as I could, I bought it. I was both fascinated and fixated.
Meleager (ARCHEMORON): My first experience with the haunting sounds of Mayhem had a huge impact on me at the age of around 14, as I recall. It was the era where tape trading was still the prime source of discovering bands and music, especially if you lived outside the capital cities. Having been initiated in the Black Metal genre by Bathory, Venom and Celtic Frost, the urge to get my hands on their offspring like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, etc. was inevitably growing. Eventually I obtained a copy of Live in Leipzig. After the trepidation of the intro when I pressed the "play" button, Dead proclaims, "only death is real!" and all the surroundings darkened and my body was grabbed by the hands of the dreadfully hostile and unbidden world his voice open before me. It was ecstatically terrorizing and triggered otherworldly vibrations in the unexplored regions of my soul and became one of the landmarks on a solitary path I have walked since then, till now and beyond...
Vrag Moj (VRAG): Probably the book Lords of Chaos. At this point, Dead was long dead and thanks to this book, his legacy was already being mystified by the metal media. Regardless, I went out and bought De Mysteriis and the Tribute to the Black Emperors bootleg. Listening to those two back-to-back, at that point I preferred Dead's voice to that of Attila (that took a bit to get my head around). The music itself was everything it was promised to be: grim, atmospheric, the ultimate extreme Metal. I walked around in my Mayhem shirt and felt a smug elevation above my friends who still listened to indie rock and grunge. I was enlightened, because I'd read the lines. "I am mortal but am I humaaan..." and "only silence can be heard/silence of human tears/no-one knows my grave..." and I thought I got it. Dead's photos were great, the style of corpse paint he used, the clothes, the fact that he was so pale he could just put on the black without the foundation, a luxury I did not have due to my skin tone and a summer in the Sydney outdoors. I used to load up a tape of De Mysteriis and drive down to the city at night, yelling along to the lyrics. I'd say Dead, Attila and Mayhem taught me the Black Metal vocal style.
U.N.T. (HATEVOMIT): I heard Dead, Morbid and Mayhem for the first time on a bootleg compilation when I was a teenager. I have an old handmade Morbid shirt and the Dawn of the Black Hearts LP. Mayhem with Dead played a show in our country (in İzmir, Turkey) back in the day and it is such a rare and legendary thing it really happened. Dead overall proved himself to be quite a road sign in extreme Metal.
Sanctus (SUFFERING): It was a long time ago, 20 years from what I remember.
When I got Live in Leipzig it was quite an experience to be there, like a possession!
You listen to these sounds and you feel as if you are alone in the cemetery for the night.
K.E.P (ENGORGE): I first heard of Mayhem in 1988-89 or so, once the Deathcrush EP found its way to the states via the tape trading circuit. I had heard the rumors of Dead's before-the-stage-rituals of breathing in the carcass stench of dead ravens in a plastic bag, self-mutilation and the proclamations he'd make before performing. Interestingly, Mayhem had somehow found their way onto a mass-produced "Metal" compilation that was being offered through mail order on the "Heavy Metal Power Hour" TV show of UHF Channel 68 in the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State area. The song "Deathcrush" was on it. At the time, I knew it was far more extreme than Motörhead or Metallica and I wanted to know more, hear more, but the actual EP hadn't hit the States in hard copy form just yet.
The washed-out image of Dead in the commercial was indeed jarring and important to me. Before that, it was Celtic Frost and all the images that Tom Warrior projected.
Ianzél "The Hermit" (PRECARIA): By the time I got to know the details about Dead and Mayhem in general, I had been listening to them for years. When I learned the history behind Per Yngve Ohlin and the band, I wasn't surprised at all. That's exactly the energy I had always felt from their music, a chaotic force of destruction.
Lux Tenebris (AEGRUS): My first encounter with Mayhem was Deathcrush on a tape via a friend. I barely knew the whole band and didn't care too much about it at the time. But when I later heard De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, that album hooked me good and tight, and it still has a strong hold on me. Because of that album and little use of the Internet at the time, Attila was first the "real" singer of Mayhem for me. Little did I know that all the album lyrics were written by Dead. My first encounter with Dead was the Live in Leipzig album and I still consider it one of the best (if not THE best) live album ever made.
Nornagest (ENTHRONED): I think it was around 1991 when I got a copy of a rehearsal tape via one of my tape-trading contacts. The first time I heard Mayhem with Dead on vocals, I was blown away by the filth that came out of that guy, and when I say "filth" it is in the utmost positive way! I had never heard such a tortured, dark and emotional voice all mixed together. I played that tape again and again even though the sound was terrible, and it gave me goosebumps every time. It was another complete dimension compared to the Deathcrush EP.
Just a few days later, I ordered myself a copy of the December Moon demo from Morbid and I remember that I asked myself how the fuck could I have overlooked such an amazing band.
Conspirator A (REPVBLIKA): In the mid '90s when I started listening to Black Metal I heard about the suicide of Dead and the impact was enormous. Without knowing beyond his mental issues, the idea of taking Metal to a radical level of taking your own life was inspiring. I was very young and at that time I believed so. Now I think differently.
Nicola Bianchi (HANDFUL OF HATE): I remember it was 1993 when Peaceville Records released Live in Leipzig, originally recorded in 1990. I remember I was pretty curious. At that time, I was more into Swedish Metal but I claimed, "I need to know more". Soon De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was released by Deathlike Silence Productions but Dead was no longer there, having committed suicide in 1991. This album is obviously a masterpiece and I proudly collect my original CD copy.
Winterthrone (HAK-ED DAMM): The first time I heard of Mayhem was in the early 2000s when Maniac was their singer. I dug up their past as I always do with bands and then I found out about Attila and then Dead. The first time I heard the Live in Leipzig album I thought his voice had something really special. The band truly were pioneers of the second wave of Black Metal and I was impressed by the chaos they channeled through their music.
Amok (HAK-ED DAMM): I was 15 years old and discovered cold and grim Mayhem with Wolf's Lair Abyss. When I listened to "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" back then, I thought what a horrible sound and awful vocals this song has, but still somehow attractive and insane at the very same time.
Xepher (DRACONIS INFERNUM): It was in the early 2000s when we rehearsed at the now defunct To Megatherion Studios in Singapore which was owned by Shyaithan of Impiety. I remember seeing Morbid's December Moon and also Mayhem's Live in Leipzig posters on the walls at the studio. Much later I learned that Dead was also the vocalist of Mayhem for a short period of time.
I personally thought that he was really into his ideology and music with the fact that he used to cut himself on stage and do really bizarre stuff.
Balpehor (MORBID FUNERAL): The first time I heard Dead as Mayhem's vocalist was on a cassette tape back in 1994 that included Live in Leipzig on side A and Live in Zeitz on side B. At that time, I was only familiar with the Deathcrush and Pure Fucking Armageddon demos and I already knew about his work in Morbid, so it was quite a surprise hearing him sing in Mayhem since his vocal texture fit perfectly with the style of the band.
Acerbus (ONDSKAPT): In 1998 I believe. I was a longtime fan of Mayhem and still am a big fan of their past history and music, although I enjoy the older productions of the band. My first reactions were that I found them to be legendary and extreme Metal people. I think that I looked up to them and wanted to live like they did. Before I heard about Mayhem, I was a weird personality myself. When I finally heard about them at the age of 16, I was more and more drawn towards a Black Metal lifestyle. I quickly became associated with the Black Metal scene in Stockholm and met Pelle Ohlin's younger brother, who at one point seemed to be interested in Black Metal himself. I believe this was a short-lived period for him. I don't know what became of him.
I had heard a lot of stories about Dead through mutual acquaintances. One was that when he was my age at the time (16-18 years old) he had a dead rabbit on his moped motorcycle, one of his funny oddities. I had heard about Pelle and read his interviews and it always put a smile on my face. He was someone I would have liked to have known on a more personal level when I was young. Getting older, I still thought of him in a way of respect although minds mature with time and mine was no exception.
Alexandros "I" (THE ONE / MACABRE OMEN): My first encounter with Dead and the Mayhem alliance was the Live in Leipzig vinyl which I purchased back in 1993 from a then close contact. It was the first time I listened to both artists and although I knew of the backstory behind it, the music was unfamiliar to me. The music, from what I remember as a 14-year-old kid, was raw as hell, possibly one of the rawest things I heard at the time. I mean, I had a lot of extreme music in my collection, but this was brutally raw obviously because of the live setting and the lack of effects such as reverb and delay. What I couldn't grasp was how something so raw, minimal and "untreated" could sound so deranged and intense. I could really appreciate the texture of Dead's vocals on this release, despite the lack of production and effects, it had certain "Dead" qualities to it which were confirmed to me the year after when I managed to get hold of the Morbid/Mayhem split vinyl. That really blew my mind and still does to this day, both sides!
Jonathan Egmore (THE INFERNAL SEA): My first experience with Mayhem was while record shopping in my early teens, probably around 1994-95. I wasn't aware of the impact the Black Metal scene would have on me back then, but I'll always remember seeing the front cover of Live in Leipzig and not quite knowing what it was all about. It was so alien to me, to the point it was exciting holding these records. Like horror movies you're not allowed to watch because you're too young.
Nocturnus Horrendus (CORPUS CHRISTII): I remember very well the impact it had on me the day I listened to Live in Leipzig. I already had De Mysteriis... but once I listened to that live record, I heard how harsh and crude Dead's vocals were. Only later I did have a listen to more of Dead's vocals, like on the Nordic Metal compilation.
I have to admit I was struck by his grim vocals because I was already used to Attila's vocals. I thought it was so different, but it did make all the sense in the world to me. In fact, I was for many years not sure which vocals I liked best. Both versions have such a different impact and I think that makes it even more relevant. For me, Dead is the beginning of real grim Black Metal, of real pure intensity in straightforward Black Metal. Back in the day, I was still very young, so it has stuck with me and I cherish that. Dead will remain forever the voice of Black Metal and all its essence.
Woewrb (SERPENTFYRE): I remember buying Live in Leipzig in the late 1990s. Before that, I had read some stories about Mayhem and heard a bit of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, but it took a while before I started to understand this record and its black magic. Today, this album is the best. The only problem is that Dead didn't get to sing on this album, but he wanted to go to Transylvania.
Akhtya Nachttoter (BLACK FUNERAL): It was 1991 and Mayhem was tape-traded to me with two songs, "Freezing Moon" and "Carnage", mixed in with other more popular Death Metal bands at the time. I listened to Mayhem and l was intrigued with the lyrics to "Freezing Moon". I had some zines with Mayhem featured or reviewed in some way, which guided me to finding Deathlike Silence Productions. Dead's persona as an artist was so different and strange and inspired me as a vocalist at the time.
Beldaroh (BESATT): I found out about Mayhem quite late, around 1994/95. At that time Poland was undergoing changes. We were still far behind Western Europe and there was no Internet, so we received rudimentary information about what was happening in Norway. I know that I heard the information about the Mayhem's front man who committed suicide, but I was much more impressed by the murder of Euronymous.
Nikolaos Spanakis (DØDSFERD): It was back in 1999 when I first listened to Mayhem with Dead on vocals on the Live in Leipzig album. I was really amazed by his vocals and his obscure performance! I remember shivering every time he sang. Every word, every single word was pure, raw and poetic! After that I couldn't listen to the same songs of Mayhem with other vocalists. Dead was one of a kind, a pioneer, and a dark poet!!! He never betrayed his beliefs and never cared to please the masses!!!
Heergott (MAGOTH): I think it must have been around 10 years ago. I was a bit confused because I thought De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was with him on vocals, which turned out not to be the case. I've listened to Live in Leipzig but wasn't that awestruck, to be honest. But it must've been pretty brutal stuff at that time, so I give him that.
Balc (BALMOG): Due to an age and geographical issue, my first image of Dead was after his death and, of course, I had little information about him, so his legend grew even more at that time when I was still a young teenager, probably around 1994 after the release of Mayhem's first opus. Here, living in a small village, info about the Black metal scene was very limited, but I still remember watching the news about the church burning and reading a little info about what was happening in the Black Metal scene in the early '90s. After getting a copy of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, just few weeks later, I got a copy of Live in Leipzig, and that recording blew me up. The atmosphere, that rotten voice resounding in the venue and those few pictures that will remain forever in my mind.
MB (MALTHUSIAN): I first became aware of Mayhem around '98. The ways and means of finding new music were a far more primitive affair back then and I was a Pantera fan, so I took inspiration from Phil Anselmo's choice of shirt. The logo was and still is unreal. Coupled with the stories I subsequently read about them, mainly the Euronymous and Varg story but also of Dead's suicide, it had my 12–13-year-old mind fascinated. Deathcrush was the first thing I bought by them and it confirmed to me that this was pure madness. I didn't understand it and was annoyed it was so short but loved it and was addicted. I bought Live in Leipzig the following year and it was 2001 before I finally got De Mysteriis... but that's another era. While I knew Dead offed himself, it was only much later when I heard the extent of his antics and the infamous stories about him. I wasn't as impressionable at that point and just thought it was the signs of mental illness. Still a good story, though.
Schizoid (MALAURIU): When I was about 13, thanks to my first Internet connection at home, I discovered Black Metal. It was summer and I had created a playlist with Mayhem, Burzum, and Darkthrone.
I was literally thunderstruck listening to Mayhem. I still get goosebumps today when I listen to Dead's voice. A few months later I bought the record Live in Leipzig in a shop.
Blk (PHLEGEIN): It was probably around '92/'93 when I got Mayhem's music via tape trading and in '94 it was an instant purchase for DMDS. It was a bit challenging to get new information about bands or band members back then and the only way was through zines or snail mail letters. There was quite long delay to get hold of things. It's hard to remember exactly what I thought about Dead, but at that time I probably saw him as an uncompromising and hardcore individual, and I still do.
Hoath Daemnator (RIIVAUS): The first time I heard Mayhem with Dead on vocals was back in 2001 at the beginning of seventh grade and Black Metal was in its early steps in my life. The album was Live in Leipzig and the first song "Freezing Moon", which gave thrills through the spine with the opening speech, "When it's cold, and when it's dark, the freezing moon can obsess you!", never mind the song itself and afterwards the whole album. The reaction was really strong, and the effect was dark on the path of a young apprentice to this music in general.
Taaken (ODAL): I first heard of him in '93/'94. I "discovered" Black Metal when I listened to Immortal for the first time in '92/'93. It was the album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. I used to listen to Speed/Thrash/Death Metal before that. I went deeper into the scene by tape trading, zines and so on. I saw Mayhem first in zines and photos and got to know the story and listened to Live in Leipzig. I always thought about the special story behind the band and especially Dead. The photos had a great attraction and aesthetics for me.
Isaroth (ANTZAAT): I remember hearing Dead on vocals for the very first time when I listened to the Live in Leipzig album. I was about 14 years old, so it must have been in 2007. Unfamiliar with Black Metal at that time, Dead's sharp and melancholic vocal style pierced straight into my brain. My initial reaction was to dig more into the archives of Mayhem and the Norwegian Black Metal scene. This experience pushed me in new direction in my life.
Wolf (ISKRA): I first heard of Mayhem in 1996 when I picked up De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas from 1994, which I thought was, and still do, one of the best Black Metal records ever made. Besides Euronymous' amazingly crafted guitar work, the album had one of the most creative vocal performances I'd ever heard. At that point I was not aware of Attila's work in his prior band Tormentor, which was somewhat similar in vocal delivery to what Dead was doing in Morbid and later Mayhem. Attila, Like Dead, had already been experimenting with theatrical elements in Tormentor, something he would bring to the table when he officially joined Mayhem for the Ordo Ad Chao record in 2007 (he was a studio musician on De Mysteriis). It's interesting to surmise that perhaps Dead had been in communication with Attila, as he was also interested in theatrical performance. When I picked up De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas I had no knowledge of Dead or his prior work until a few months later when I first heard Live in Leipzig from 1993, which utterly blew me away. What struck me, having listened heavily to Attila, was the depth of Per's vocal style. If I were to compare the two, I would say that the level of commitment and sheer vocal brutality was somehow heavier, more desperate, and more believable than Attila's performance. Not to say Attila's work on De Mysteriis is not good, it's amazing, but you can tell that Per was a 100% committed in an insane way, whereas Attila's performance is somewhat understated, although perhaps darker. I'm comparing two of the greatest Black Metal vocalists here, so it is a matter of difference rather than superiority. It didn't surprise me that Per had written much of the lyrical content on the studio record. His attack is visceral, both in Morbid and Mayhem. It hits you in the head and stomach whenever he opens his mouth. It seemed to me that I was listening to a tormented soul who was shrieking for his life. I probably wasn't too far off with that assumption.
S. A. Destroyer (NOCTURNAL BREED): I heard of Mayhem way before Pelle ever entered the band but it was in bits and pieces back then. I was young and had no money for zines and stuff like that, except once in a while. I had heard the infamous first radio appearance of Mayhem on one of Oslo's local radio stations on a rotten tape owned by my best friend who was 20 years my senior. It was insanely extreme, as Venom, Celtic Frost, Death and Slayer was my kind of standard of the most extreme back then. I guess this was in 1986 or '87 but I had also heard of them through the local grapevines. I was playing in my first bands around that time and the buzz about Mayhem had been going a long time between the older guys at the youth club we had rehearsal room in. Every now and then you got a glimpse of the Mayhem guys on the train or in the city or local places as Kolbotn, Langhus and that area was only 10 minutes from my house. This all came naturally as did Darkthrone, who were also emerging and showing a strong underground presence in those days. The word was that this dude from Sweden had come over and lived like a madman up in a house in the local woods. Having already heard the antics of Maniac in the old days and some of their infamous shows, my brain and ears just ate up all this mystic rawness. When I saw the first pics of Pelle, I was instantly sure that "Here was another type of wicked" none of us had ever seen. Then came the tapes with his voice. I got a hold of the Morbid demo stuff and mixed in with the evermore mad stories of burying his clothes and carrying around dead birds, it all became like a living entity. The Mayhem guys are a couple years older than me and I just kept my distance and reveled in the craziness. During this time, I worked at a gas station with Zephyrous from Darkthrone. Every week there were new rumors and stories and music and inspiration. Truly influential on my own musical direction and becoming über extreme, too. As Zephyrous is not a "sunshine" kind of guy, he more or less spat the few words he spoke. He never smiled, and was definitely the cold, evil streak of that band. And that, mixed with the Mayhem mythos... I was "doomed" to fall face first into Black Metal and all things utterly extreme.
Arkhon Sakrificer (TEMPLE OF EVIL): Upon first contact with Metal, it's quite impossible not to be captured by the story surrounding the origin of Mayhem and Dead. I believe we first heard of Mayhem and Dead in high school while exploring and diving deeper into the metal underground. I still remember when I first listened to Deathcrush and Live in Leipzig, which were some of my first contacts with Black and extreme Metal in general. The reaction was one of awe and uncertainty, trying to digest what I had just listened to, as it was nowhere near anything I'd heard before.
Jørn (HADES ALMIGHTY): The first time I heard that Dead was in the band was around 1988. Some friends and I were in Oslo (Norway) to see Slayer on their "South of Heaven" tour. We saw Euronymous and Dead in the crowd. I'd just bought the Deathcrush EP. We got to know them right after this Slayer gig! I can remember that I thought they both looked really cool and grim! I was a "Death Metaller" and they were hardcore "Black Metallers". I met Dead sometimes when visiting Euronymous, Helvete, etc. in Oslo. I was also partying sometimes with them in their apartment and so on. There were such great guys in my opinion!
D (WARKVLT): The first time I listened to Mayhem was a copy of Dawn of the Black Hearts on cassette from a friend of mine. It was a copied cassette from the bootleg CD of the album and had a very shocking picture on the cover; a man who had a gunshot wound to the head. I didn't know this band or why he was shot this way. Finally, I listened to this cassette and became very curious about the band. The whole thing about them was very mysterious; the horrible picture just added more mysteriousness on top of the band and later on I found out it was actually the band's ex-vocalist, Dead, who had committed suicide by shotgun, and it was used illegally on the cover of Dawn...
B. von Doom (PESTLEGION): I first heard of Mayhem when they released De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas back in the day. As DMDS was and still is a killer album, I started to look at the discography of Mayhem and when I found out about Dead I was kind of shocked and amazed at the same time. Of course, I listened to the tracks he recorded with Mayhem and I actually like his vocals better than Attila's.
Sigward (LIFVSLEDA): Well, it must have been through fanzines in 1990-91. Putrefaction mag for instance, I still clearly remember reading an interview with Dead in the fourth issue. Pure gold still to this day. Hearing Mayhem for the first time was simply a mind-blowing experience. Projections of a Stained Mind, the Swedish sampler came out in 1991 and featured two Mayhem tracks among the Swedish Death Metal, and especially "Freezing Moon" with Dead on vocals is beyond words to describe. It pretty much changed my world and from there on everything turned BLACK. It surely is one of the most classic vocal performances of all time.
And then Live in Leipzig, of course, was/is an important release.
Nick "OldNick" Superchi (CEREMONIAL CASTINGS): It was sometime in the mid-nineties. Probably '94 or '95. De Mysteriis... had recently come out and was getting high praise. Many underground zines from Europe were talking about the history of Mayhem which was very intriguing to me in my youth. Being from the USA, it was not easy to find releases on American soil, but luckily I was able to track down Live in Leipzig. While Dead's vocals are top-notch on this recording, knowing his history only adds to the mystique and thus makes Dead's work with Mayhem some of the most powerful and mysterious in the history of Black Metal. I also feel his work on Morbid's December Moon demo is vastly overlooked.
Deathwalker (NIHIL INVOCATION): Mayhem's music introduced me to the ways of Black Metal. An initial reaction could be described as cold and focused chaos, something so understandable to the lost soul it touches. Dead's willingness to live by the words he performed is an unforgettable example of Black Metal's power and lifestyle.
Semjaza (THY DARKENED SHADE): I was in middle school when I first heard about Dead. That would be around '96, if I remember correctly. I was 13 years of age and way too young to fully grasp Dead's essence at the time. When I first saw the cover of the bootleg called The Dawn of the Black Hearts, it was really a life-altering experience. Seeing this image really haunted me forever, thinking that this guy is like one of us, could be one of my close friends. Killing himself in such a way was really chilling for me, when I was growing up and at such a young age, it had a really profound impact archetypically. It represented that the genre was much more than a musical genre. It represented the mindset of that time as well. Being ready to offer yourself fully to the art and eventually becoming the art fully. It also transmitted a rather sinister feeling since he wanted to join the dead from such an early age, it was rather a very otherworldly experience for me. Dead became a personification of Black Metal, a Black Metal archetype, the embodiment of the art.
If I think about it now, his whole obsession with Transylvania also reinforced my own obsession with vampires, werewolves and the undead in general. I am obviously opposed to blindly following anyone apart from the Higher Self, meaning I translate things my own way and follow my own Self however, he is still and always will be an endless source of inspiration. Later in life I understood the importance of openly embracing the shadow of yourself and of this world. Dead not only embraced the shadow self but he became the shadow as well and an archetype of the collective (Black Metal) unconscious.
Sense of Premonition (INVOCATION): I remember seeing the cover of Live in Leipzig and that damn good Mayhem logo in some old extreme Metal store in my city. I immediately bought it, put it on the stereo and it was a bombshell of darkness and speed from the start. The reaction was immediate, and I began to investigate more albums and merch until I could find fanzines and also some photos of the time (in the early days of the Internet). Something that I will always remember was seeing Dead wearing corpse paint and a Sarcófago t-shirt on the Jessheim show, which was totally awesome.
Kaosbringer (FRONT): For me the first time hearing Dead perform was through Mayhem's Live in Leipzig, which is to this day one of the rare live albums I truly enjoy! I also got my hands on A Tribute to the Black Emperors bootleg around the same time. Fukken love Morbid's December Moon demo as well!!!
Pesten (TUNDRA): I first heard of Mayhem sometime in 1990. I had this pen pal of mine from the north of my country. He was rich and he spent all his money and time writing letters to bands, tape trading and stuff. He was very kind and usually dubbed a copy for me of everything he got from bands and labels. He sent me a box of dubbed tapes where I found Deathcrush between tons of other titles and listening to that EP totally changed my life. We talked about it during one of our long phone calls and he told me that the band had a new singer, the guy from a band called Morbid and that the guy was so unique in his letters, with drawings all around and lots of interesting info about their new music, etc. It was something absolutely new, stunning and fascinating. We were just kids discovering all this new extreme music, and we recognized immediately that something so different and obscure was developing in the north of Europe. From those days on, we saw him and Euronymous as the originators of something that never left us.
Holocausto Inferni (EZURATE): Early '90s I was like what the hell is going on with these guys I also thought they were true Satanists.
Do you consider Dead one of the most iconic figures of Black Metal who also inspired or influenced you in terms of extreme music in general?
Thomas Eriksen (MORK): The way he portrayed himself and how he acted, he seemed to be very dedicated to the darkness of being human. A big part of Black Metal to me is about the dark side of humanity, so you could say he was a spearhead as he lived it to the fullest.
Shatraug (HORNA): In many ways, yes. He defined that you simply do not make Black Metal for the sake of music alone, which has always been the most important factor in the genre for me since the beginning. There is no Black Metal without that kind of devotion.
Sablast (ZIMOROG): Of course! Dead was a huge inspiration for my Black Metal vocals. Even though I try to be myself the most, I learned a couple of things from him. Dead was also a huge inspiration in my music. He reminds us how to do things. Why do we create Black Metal? To fight with our inner self/demons. To write about the things we want and not about the things the scene wants to hear. When I want to leave everything behind, I just remember people who killed themselves, and think about the things they could've accomplished. A lot of artists left this world but for Dead it was too soon. This may sound a bit ugly from me, but he could've given us more material. I'm just being honest. That's what Black Metal is all about. We even made a Dead tribute song with my ex-band Proklet called "Excuse All the Blood". That's the impact Dead had on us.
Adrastos (TOTAL HATE): Yes, definitely! Dead has shaped the whole genre with his outstanding morbid aesthetics, his death worship, his stage acting and his definition of Black Metal. Even if I have never seen Dead live, he always was and is, besides Pest and Legion, a big inspiration for me, since I started my first band in 1997.
WOLVES' WINTER: Of course he is and anyone that says otherwise is ignorant.
We took some of his essence to replicate it on stage, not in the same way, but in a way that it's our own, different, but you can see a resemblance.
So yeah, of course he did.
Luka Milojica (HAIDUK): Yes, he was one of the most extreme and iconic Black Metal musicians and has inspired and influenced me.
Lycanthrop (NECRO FOREST): Shortly after my fascination with the Black Metal crime scene, Dead became like a ghost to me. Sure, he is iconic, but somehow after I explored every corner of his story, there was nothing left to explore, so my interest slowly faded away. He was an inspiration for me as a poet, his lyrics are powerful, especially "Freezing Moon".
Jontho (RAGNAROK): Absolutely! He is the icon and an idol when it comes to what I still consider Black Metal. The energy, the way of expressing and put a face on your inner demons and mean what you do on stage, in song writing and having no compromises. He was really into what he did and sadly I see too many bands who only care about the music and not having the "true" expression he had. It is something I express through our live shows.
Black Emperor (SUPREMACÍA SATÁNICA): I consider him one of the most iconic figures.
Dolgar (THE DEVIANT): He was and is absolutely iconic, no doubt. It is hardly possible to talk about those early days in the Black Metal or extreme Metal scene without mentioning him, his bands, his persona or his tragic suicide. Since I never met him, I can only attest to how much I appreciate the music he helped create and record. The work he did with the music was great, and as such it was also inspiring, of course.
Vulturius (IRAE): Yes, Dead is the most iconic figure due to his history, corpse paint, lyrics, death obsession and self-mutilation. He really put Mayhem and Black Metal on another level! No other band had done that before.
Meleager (ARCHEMORON): Dead, for those who bear and know the "Black Mark", will always be the usher of its "Sign" and the principles of Black Metal in whole. Resonating the shuddering mystical frequencies from the realm of the dark into ours is a unique feature of the genre and he is one of its pacesetters, so his influence is inarguable to me. Although his extreme stage figure and recluse personality might be a more crucial sway to the essence of Black Metal.
Vrag Moj (VRAG): No. But due to his short career yet brilliant input he's become a part of the pantheon. His death illustrates the tragedy of death, especially of a young person. You're nowhere near your creative peak at 22. Quite frankly, you're just an idiot that managed to score some goals (and maybe some pussy along the way). It's riding on fumes, because you've spent your last ten bucks on beer. There is so much more that he could have done with his life and art. What he did manage to do in his short time has aged well and is still on regular rotation, especially the Morbid demo. His iconicism is largely due to media coverage, chief among them Moynihan. Sadly, I think he would be long forgotten, but for that book.
U.N.T. (HATEVOMIT): Yeah, I do. He still has some impact on metalheads and Metal in general. Simply look at all of those patches, shirts, tributes, etc. that are constantly being made in his memory. Vocalists in many bands are trying to ape a similar vocal style to Dead's etc. In a way Dead is still alive as a spirit in the minds of many metalheads even today.
Sanctus (SUFFERING): I'm sure I shall, I often come back to these recordings.
In the middle of my album's booklet, you can read that it is dedicated to his memory. His vocals were really scary. You can feel pain and depression in him.
In the song "I Am The Existence", I tried to scream like him. Did it work for me? Well, let others judge...
K.E.P (ENGORGE): Dead, Euronymous and the whole of the Norwegian scene at that time was new and exciting to us stateside. The open guitar chords of Euronymous along with Dead's otherworldly vocals of decay and hate were something that most of us aspired to emulate to some degree, while projecting our own brand of influence into our music. This can be heard in the songs "Vampyric Blood" and " Enchanted by The Battles of Azazel", most notably. We use blood, smoke, ritual and transcendental energy during our live shows and have since our inception. I'd like to think Dead and Mayhem played a part in that, definitely!
Ianzél "The Hermit" (PRECARIA): I'm not sure if he influenced me artistically, but there's something about his ethos that I identified with. If my life wasn't entirely based around this dark art, or for some reason I felt "stuck" without anything else to contribute, then I'd be leaving this world right away. Death is better than being a spiritually empty parasite.
Lux Tenebris (AEGRUS): Yes, I do. There are few of those figures and Dead is definitely one of them. For me he took the aesthetics and essence of the genre to deeper levels in some way since he was one of the first who seemed to be literally deadly serious with his lyrics and real fascination towards death. Dead's overall look affected me to that extent that he was one of the heaviest influences for me to start to use corpse paint on stage.
Nornagest (ENTHRONED): Denying it would be a lie, the character was as impressive as his vocals, just because Dead was not playing any roles. He was the same on and off stage, what I know and heard since I never knew him personally, but regarding what I did hear from people who knew him well, he was that kind of person. That's something I utterly respect and can relate to in many, many ways.
He was the first one to bring the words to another level of authenticity and honesty, basically, to me the whole of the second/third wave of Black Metal and the bands labeled as such are following, even unconsciously the path that Per laid in front of us—from Darkthrone, Enthroned, Marduk to Behemoth and so on.
Conspirator A (REPVBLIKA): Dead represents the first iconic figure of Black Metal. The marketing of the cover of The Dawn of the Black Hearts was very powerful and that idea was exploited to generate a fan base around the world. That cover created the most sinister and obscene genre due to the ideological base around death.
Nicola Bianchi (HANDFUL OF HATE): I consider his presence short but so intense and for sure an iconic frontman well known after his death, pretty unknown previously. Maybe I got more influenced by his echoes some years later than during his short activity.
Winterthrone (HAK-ED DAMM): Dead wasn't the only one but yes, he definitely had an influence on how I acted and sung as a frontman.
Amok (HAK-ED DAMM): Considering him as one of the most iconic figures of the Black Metal genre, no, but as an inspiration for me, yes.
Xepher (DRACONIS INFERNUM): Dead is definitely an iconic figure of Black Metal and whenever Norwegian Black Metal is brought up, Dead's face will always appear. Dead was the epitome of all that was ugly, disgusting and crude, which is what Black Metal should be. What was really intriguing and disturbing at the same time was when he used to cut his arm when performing live and also had to inhale the stench of a dead bird before going live on stage. How many people would actually cut their arm to express themselves on stage? While some might say that Dead was mentally ill, he was definitely for real in that aspect.
Balpehor (MORBID FUNERAL): Yes, I do consider that he is a figure in the Black Metal scene, both in image and in stage presence I think that he was a complete showman, although he himself didn't know that. This makes its value much more important in the underground scene because he never did it to show off or to impress anybody. What he transmitted in his lyrics and music was something that came naturally. Over the years many front men have done on stage the same thing that Dead did 30 years ago and that definitely shows the impact he had in the Black Metal movement.
Acerbus (ONDSKAPT): I truly believe that there is much to learn from people that don't live by the same norms as others. The individuals that live by their own norms and perceptual realities are more likely to be the teachers of life to others. Although Dead was an individual that may have promoted death, he was I think genuine as a character that was his own. I think it is rather impressive that he had the courage to be himself as so many others fail to do exactly that; be themselves. Although mental illness may have been a part of him, mental illness is only a fact that a future civilized society puts upon its citizens from within its own norms. If he had lived in another age of time, he might have been perceived in a different way and also had a different role to play in everyday life.
Alexandros "I" (THE ONE / MACABRE OMEN): He was definitely an iconic figure that offered so much in such a short space and time on this plane. I can only imagine what further art would be out there if he had not departed this early simply by reminding myself how bad the follow-up to December Moon was. I remember getting hold of the Last Supper... demo back in the day which is a prime example of where things can go with Dead in absentia. As an artist myself, I get inspired by the attitude and vision of such a character and have in my own way offered my tribute to Dead on the 2008 I, Master album of The One on one if not more than one part.
Jonathan Egmore (THE INFERNAL SEA): Of course he is. Maybe not for the right reasons in some circumstances, but for bringing the deathly element into Black Metal. The horror side and, unfortunately through no fault of his own, the tragic side also. Those elements will always live throughout the style of Black Metal, if you let them.
Nocturnus Horrendus (CORPUS CHRISTII): Like I said previously, he is the base for all that is Black Metal. He started it all. Some people may disagree but that is my opinion. I completely dislike the new trends with masks and hoods. I think what Dead created is meant to be preserved and cherished. It has to be the way it has to be. Some might think that is not part of evolution, but I don't want evolution in Black Metal. The '90s spirit and the way it was lived will never return but we need to have a grasp on it and continue it. Black Metal these days is fake and plastic. It is just not my thing. I do not care people if call me old school and am in fact proud of it.
The thing is the newer kids didn't experience those times, so they don't know what is what. But I was taught that you respect your elders, we know best.
It is crucial to keep Dead's legacy alive.
Woewrb (SERPENTFYRE): In a way, yes. In my opinion, he had a great voice, and he lived the Black Metal lifestyle and the pseudonym of his choice perfectly (to its logical conclusion). But in the end, everything has its own consequences, and I think he was more of a "tool" for forces outside humanity than anything else. Only death is real, only black is true.
Akhtya Nachttoter (BLACK FUNERAL): Dead is idealized as an artist. Dead became the archetype for the interpretive sound and image which fueled the iconography of Black Metal from the early '90s onward, even being felt today. The cold and deathly artistry of cacophonous howlings, screeching and growling forth lyrical incantations which help paint mental images of the Satanic Darkness, tombs, deathlike mindscapes and the darksome beauty of the nightside of nature; forests, mountains, graveyards and the abandoned dwellings of humans all were cultivated by the standard Dead established. What is more remarkable is that he probably had no idea that he was doing that. From his early death, Mayhem benefited immensely from his voice and the imagery which became the cult of Black Metal.
Beldaroh (BESATT): I don't deny that at that time Dead with his corpse paint and what he was doing on stage was extreme and, of course, he was an icon, but whether he was the most important thing, I don't think so. I think that Quorthon, Cronos, Euronymous and Varg had a greater influence on what we call Black Metal today. You know, I'm not a suicide enthusiast, so maybe that's my opinion.
Nikolaos Spanakis (DØDSFERD): Of course! If you listen to my albums with Dødsferd, especially the first era, also the Grab albums and Leeches you can distinguish the influences!!! A true inspiration!!! There is no polite and mass friendly way in extreme art, especially when you care only to please the demons in your head!!!
Heergott (MAGOTH): No, I don't really think he's an icon and I think he never intended to be. Euronymous, on the other hand, sure is an icon and made Mayhem what it was and still is today.
On the other hand, Dead embodied the whole point behind Black Metal, being ''true'' to the core by showing the deepest abysses of a human being, even though it was psychologically related. In a way he, of course, influenced and inspired many artists who emerged after the ''glorious'' first and second waves in the early '90s.
Balc (BALMOG): Totally. I really do not know to what extent the image I have of Dead is more or less real, it is probably not how people around remember him or how that shitty movie has represented his figure, for example. The image I have of Dead was created with my eyes as a teenager and under a very extreme vision of life and death, so probably I saw in him what I was searching for. Anyway, he had a very strong impact on me from a physical and mental point of view. I did really extreme things in the past, obviously under the perspective of a young boy, but sometimes I really miss those radical and fundamentalist times.
MB (MALTHUSIAN): He is definitely iconic but it's for image and actions rather than any particular talent. He screamed and killed himself. Not exactly hall of fame stuff. As far as influence on me, none. He was a young kid that was fucked in the head and killed himself. I think the adulation and martyrdom that followed and continues is stupid and reeks of shitty, poser emo kids that have no real interest in Black Metal. His suicide made for a good scene in a shit movie, though.
Schizoid (MALAURIU): Surely Dead has influenced many generations of musicians, even what he did with Morbid is incredible. Personally, he has had a profound influence on many of my musical projects.
Blk (PHLEGEIN): Yes, he was definitely amongst the key influencers for me. I had to look back a bit, because I was operating with Death Metal in the beginning of the '90s and then Black Metal hit me like hammer a couple years later. I still respect the authenticity and will to do things as they wanted. These things are pretty much absent in modern days Black Metal, or should I say "blackmetal".
Hoath Daemnator (RIIVAUS): Yes, I consider Dead one of the most iconic figures for the whole Black Metal scene through his masterful vocals in both Mayhem and Morbid. I think his over-the-top EVIL lifestyle and acts (some rumors or not) have influenced so many artists of this genre in some way back then, now and in the future on their path of making music and performing. Dead's legacy remains. An absolute front man for this satanic art.
Taaken (ODAL): I consider Dead to be one of the most special figures in Black Metal. He had his own unique and individual way to see, interpret and express things. He managed to let his world view and emotions flow in the music by letting it become an extreme and black sort of art. The history of his short life combined with his mentality is something not for others and I think most people will never grasp a glimpse of it in their whole lives. His voice was very special, and I like its "dead" expression. How many bands he inspired was clearly not his intention, but to create something true, straight and real. The most inspiring things for me are the photos and the dark, pure and raw voice.
Isaroth (ANTZAAT): There are many iconic figures in the scene. What people consider iconic is mostly a subjective matter. Dead had a major influence on me during my early years of discovering Black Metal and my way of perceiving music in general. So, in an indirect way, he is responsible for what I'm doing now music-wise.
Wolf (ISKRA): Yes, I would say that Per is certainly an important and iconic figure. Given how short his time was in the Black Metal scene, his impact was immeasurable. His style was immediately copied. That picture of him and Aarseth together, in full Black Metal style, changed the lives of many a young metalhead for certain! He probably turned everyone on to Black Metal even before they heard the chords. The two looked amazing together, and they worked well together. They had a major impact on all of the second wave bands for sure. There was really nothing like him before except his Swedish spirit brother Quorthon. It's strange to think that both Aarseth and Per died before fulfilling their artistic visions. We only have a small window into what they could have achieved together.
S. A. Destroyer (NOCTURNAL BREED): Yes, absolutely. He inspired Euronymous, man!!! Haha, of course, he was much more influential than we remember him. Obviously, there is his corpse paint and the ripped clothes and whole stage and photographic essence. He kind of coined that look. So many bands changed their looks and outward visuals after Dead came to Norway. His voice too is extremely influential, as to the way he really got into it with his very soul. Thus, Attila was his only good replacement later, as he too dives much deeper into the voids of the soul than most artists in this scene. And that is the really important thing I think Pelle left us with, that fucking "to the bone" dedication to his arts, and this was, of course, fueled by both depressions and sad things in his life. But still, the ability to just let it all hang out. That is what extreme Metal is really all about. Giving it your fucking all and best regardless, and you do it for YOU and no one else. That is what I really picked up from Pelle's "AURA". To let the creative spirit take hold and use your whole soul, both good and bad, and let it all possess you without holding back. Aaaaaand... some souls in this scene die by their own hands, as it is very hard to hold back the "night" when shit gets really dark. And there too, Pelle is like a black candle in the dark. Just look at all those lost souls out there who cling to him and his being for dear life. He is in such sense a life giver as much as a death inspirator. Though I am sure a lot of people have been found dead with his music on. They would have done it anyways, Pelle or not. But the point is, he cuts through the ether like only a few iconic persons ever do. It is obvious, especially now 30 years after he wandered. He is as strong of a presence now as he ever was alive.
Apethantos (TEMPLE OF EVIL): It's hard to say the opposite. His work both with Mayhem and Morbid have been fundamental inspirations for all Black Metal bands ever since. His presence and character portray a unique aspect of what Black Metal stands for. We are proud to continue on his path, honouring his ideals and legacy through our music.
Jørn (HADES ALMIGHTY): Yes, no questions about that! He was way beyond his time considering both life itself and Black Metal! An everlasting legend I would say!
D (WARKVLT): Yes, Dead surely is one of most iconic figures of the whole Black Metal genre. He left his mark and strong contribution to it for being Dead and made a strong standpoint of what Black Metal should be. Black Metal was supposed to be extreme for him and this extremity followed him even in his real life!! The guy is a true legend!
B. von Doom (PESTLEGION): Dead is an iconic figure, no doubt about that. He was one of the first guys to use corpse paint in the second wave of Black Metal. "Burying" his clothes and the "smell of death" bag were a little weird from today's point of view but all this led to the iconic status he has today. Pestlegion is deeply rooted in the second wave of Black Metal and we are using corpse paint not only to express the inner demon but also in honor of icons like Dead.
Sigward (LIFVSLEDA): Yes, indeed. The track "Landet Bortom Skogen" from our full-length Det Besegrade Lifvet is in many ways a tribute to him.
Nick "OldNick" Superchi (CEREMONIAL CASTINGS): I don't think the word "consider" should even be used. He is. His artwork, vocals and live performances showed his obsession with death and he took it to a place very few are willing to tread during a time when it was unknown.
Deathwalker (NIHIL INVOCATION): He is objectively one of the most iconic Black Metal figures, my say is irrelevant in the determination. The community has held his work in high regard since its inception and I believe the fascination only grows stronger among audiences. In today's age, he is idolized to a point that would've made him uncomfortable, arguably. Practicing alongside Dead's howls allowed me to form a voice of my own.
Semjaza (THY DARKENED SHADE): Should I say even more than that? I am sure Dead influenced Euronymous in terms of how the second wave of Black Metal needed to be, ideologically as well. Dead with his presence, his lyrics, his letters, his interviews and his stance revolutionized the whole genre like very few did.
Euronymous obviously, Snorre too, with his style of playing and a few others. Mayhem was hugely important, influencing all the other bands and, of course, myself as well. As we know, Black Metal isn't solely a musical genre, the second generation of Black Metal musicians really pushed this genre into ideological paths and ideals that were unreal until that time in Metal as a whole.
Martin Eric Ain was one of the '80s embodiments of the first wave of Black Metal and Dead one of the second wave. Dead is one of the pillars of the Black Metal mindset and the archetypical Black Metal voice and presence. Some people say how much they wanted Dead to sing De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, but for me that's not a spiritual way of viewing things. I wouldn't change a thing on De Mysteriis... (and obviously Attila's performance inspires me totally 200% since the first day I heard the album), it is my favorite Black Metal album of all time. I still feel and listen to Dead's presence within the album too, not only due to his lyrics and also the title of the album but knowing that his spirit is actually residing within it.
Sense of Premonition (INVOCATION): Of course, he is undoubtedly still a huge influence on Black Metal both as a front man and as a lyricist. The presence on stage, the vocal register, and the dedication to the band in body and soul are very important matters, especially in extreme music. If there is no feeling in what you do, you are finished. As I would also like to highlight the appreciation and dedication he had for the extreme bands of South America, he was not afraid to wear Vulcano, Reencarnacion or Parabellum patches or shirts.
Kaosbringer (FRONT): Well yes. He has undoubtedly been one of my earliest and perhaps the most important influence as a vocalist.
Pesten (TUNDRA): Totally. We were overwhelmed by a lot of new bands and sounds, but his figure (together with Euronymous) were the main driving forces to us. I always had the "dream" to do a band by myself, and their focus and extreme self-denial on the whole idea and concept were, still are and forever will be both an inspiration and influence.
Holocausto Inferni (EZURATE): Yes, he is one of the most iconic; so many stories that have propelled Dead to legendary status. His raw sound and powerful energy are what is my influence from Dead.
What's the most important thing Dead left for future generations of Black Metal legions?
Thomas Eriksen (MORK): The iconic image of him in corpse paint will always endure and continue to inspire curiosity.
Shatraug (HORNA): Total devotion to death and darkness and as I mentioned. Black Metal does not exist without it.
Sablast (ZIMOROG): If someone asked me to pick the most "trve" guy in the Norwegian Black Metal scene it would definitely be Dead. He lived Black Metal. He didn't care about the money, girls or fame. It is sad to say but we know this because he ended his life. He had no expectations from the music. As I've mentioned before, he could've given us more material. One live album and one demo is just not enough. But even with that, he managed to create a huge legacy and become one of the most important and well-known personas in the Black Metal scene.
Adrastos (TOTAL HATE): The most important legacy is to keep Black Metal extreme, dangerous, misanthropic, serious and without compromise! Black Metal is not a trend and no hipster bullshit, it's about death, devil worship, darkness, blasphemy, hate, war and it is anti-human! Live it or leave it! I have doubts that many in the future will choose (t)his path...
WOLVES' WINTER: From our point of view, it was the "mystic halo" that surrounded him. Everything that he did, you knew it was TRUE. Nothing for the cameras, nothing for the "likes", everything was what he felt.
He taught new generations how things must be handled and done, but sadly only a few followed his example.
Luka Milojica (HAIDUK): His unique personality. His beliefs and philosophy toward Black Metal, that it should not be for the weak or the wimps, that's it not for everyone and never will be.
Lycanthrop (NECRO FOREST): The most important heritage is his morbid mind behind that blonde hair and Swedish face. He sets Black Metal as he sets his thoughts, as a dark castle in the middle of Transylvania, defining it like ruthless music and a final scream of Heavy Metal music in general.
Let's not forget his legendary words; "When is cold and when is dark, the freezing moon can obsess you...".
Jontho (RAGNAROK): Sadly, I think Black Metal bands since his passing do not understand what Black Metal means in the way he did. There are still a few bands, not new ones, that still push his extreme way further. At least in the way of meaning what they do.
Black Emperor (SUPREMACÍA SATÁNICA): Dead taught us that Black Metal is not fashion, it is a way of life.
Dolgar (THE DEVIANT): The music. There will always be an aura of mystique surrounding his life, but the most important heritage is his art, the music.
Vulturius (IRAE): All the blood!
Meleager (ARCHEMORON): Black Metal has numerous manifestations and extensions but only one axon that holds the firmament of its notion and that is to be true to the expression of your other side. As I say, many in this movement claim to be M.A.N. (Misanthropists, Antisocial and Nihilists) but unfortunately for them they have "dots", they are stained and filthy, virulent creatures with microscopic egos who use Black Metal only for prestige. They are not true to themselves initially and in consequence their existence and their creations are dim, dull and frail. Dead was one of the few who showed in how it is to be true to your dark side and became a reason for the few loyal to keep the flame alive.
Vrag Moj (VRAG): His voice and lyrics. I've covered several songs with his lyrics, it's a distinct pleasure. Along with Quorthon, I think Dead is the originator of the second wave vocal style. After them almost everyone sounded like that. Again, I think the Morbid demo is outstanding as it's all him. Also, the old version of "Freezing Moon". Shit production, but far superior to the album version or anything you'll hear Mayhem do live nowadays. And as a footnote, his appearance in the Candlemass video, hinting at perhaps a happier time in his life. Dead became a casualty of equal parts life imitates art and untreated mental illness, eternally, your close neighbors in the extreme Metal scene.
U.N.T. (HATEVOMIT): Depression, power to kill yourself, coldness.
Sanctus (SUFFERING): Actually, I think Black Metal owes everything to him. Today there is no sacrifice like his.
Dead was one of a kind. He was a demon, not a human! May his memory last forever! Rest in chaos, Master!
K.E.P (ENGORGE): Dead's uncompromising obsession with death, the ethereal realm and hatred for all of mankind is something that can never be duplicated. He had both a whimsical side and a side of transformation that is often imitated but never duplicated when it comes to live ritual. Sadly, I feel the "new generation" of Black Metal musicians would rather be politically correct rather than embrace the hate and mystique that Dead embodied. This is painfully evident with "cancel culture", Antifa and Globalist Leftism. Only time will tell if the Underground's True Elite will further be able to carry forth The True Flame of Old...
Ianzél "The Hermit" (PRECARIA): The current generation is discovering Black Metal via YouTubers that seek constant monetization by talking about shocking content that has happened in the music world. The curiosity of the majority is merely morbid, they aren't really in it for the dark music and misfit lifestyle. Because of this, I cannot think about Dead being more artistically influential in the future than how relevant he has been in the past. Of course, for the few whose souls that are already darkened and eventually discover Black Metal, Dead might remain alive through conveying genuine inspiration.
Lux Tenebris (AEGRUS): Black Metal isn't for fun, Black Metal isn't for brotherhood, Black Metal isn't superficial. Black Metal is a commitment with death. Stay out if you're not ready to face everything it has to offer.
Nornagest (ENTHRONED): Authenticity, dedication to one's own ideas and honesty.
Conspirator A (REPVBLIKA): I think the main legacy was "being radical," to be honest. Dead was a person disturbed by his obsession with death and death is the true horizon of the human being because we are mortal. Over time it became an aesthetic that no other genre has used as its main banner.
Nicola Bianchi (HANDFUL OF HATE): Everyone will interpret his shadow in a different way, mostly contaminated by current trends. I invite all to listen and try to "breathe" the sound and atmosphere created 30 years ago. It will never come back from the past but for sure it could be a pillar or a starting point toward the future.
Winterthrone (HAK-ED DAMM): His madness! And first and foremost, his dedication to the black arts. He was true to his art and true to himself which brought him, I guess, to his final doom, suicide. He left us an example of how we should really live the music we play and play the music we live, if that makes sense.
Amok (HAK-ED DAMM): I think he can teach some young legions to be frightful, mad and true!
Xepher (DRACONIS INFERNUM): I'm not sure if that's how Dead wants to be remembered, considering how much he hated this world that he would rather take his leave early.
I think the most important heritage that he left behind would be his imagery as well as the way he presented himself on stage. Back then, there weren't many bands doing corpse paint live. Even though we have had people like King Diamond, but to do a simplistic style of corpse paint that leaned more towards the Sacrófago kind of style with the white base, Dead was unique back then.
In addition to that, you can see how Dead has influenced bands like Watain, Shining and even Behemoth at different points of their careers, when you talk about appearing live with tattered clothes with blood and corpse paint and maybe even self-mutilation on stage.
Balpehor (MORBID FUNERAL): Currently Black Metal is a genre that is very populated and many of those bands only want to pretend to be something that they are not. They try to create an image in their photo sessions, but they don't really practice what they preach. I think the greatest legacy that Dead left to future generations is that you must be real, do what you say you do, believe in what you do, zero poses. And I think that was the attitude that Black Metal had before, his work and what he did in just a few years of his career was something very important to what Black Metal is.
Acerbus (ONDSKAPT): The main thing I think is that he was himself. He did something important and that was to be original and that is something that no one can take away from him. The most genius and genuine thing a man can do is to leave behind a legend and mystery with respect to character and history. That is the right way to leave behind a heritage and to be true as a person. In a Black Metal scene that is more and more hollowed out, characters like Dead will always give nourishment to the forbidden fruit of this sub-genre of music.
Alexandros "I" (THE ONE / MACABRE OMEN): Dead practiced what he preached, and in a way, Black Metal should be exactly that. It is a way of life that needs to stand out in the music, something not many artists adhere to. I am not necessarily suggesting that we should all follow the path Dead chose but the least one can do is to combine the art with real life and make it relevant. Allow the real pain to cut through the music and grab the audience from the neck. This is one of the fundamental elements I grew up listening in awe to within this genre and future generations of Black Metal should embrace that.
Jonathan Egmore (THE INFERNAL SEA): To always be true to what you think is right within the style. To let your creativity manifest itself and for it to be the ultimate outlet. To let your demons help you create the art that you are passionate about. And for his legacy to help people overcome mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.
Nocturnus Horrendus (CORPUS CHRISTII): I guess I kind of replied to that already. His purity and sincerity are what is lacking these days. His devotion and admiration for the dark are no longer in the scene. But at least certain individuals like me will keep his legacy alive. I will not cease without a battle.
All these new trends will come and go, and Dead's legacy will persist.
All hail the dark!
Woewrb (SERPENTFYRE): I think that he influenced a whole new generation of Black Metal musicians with his radical and death worshipping ways. Maybe he was that "victim" that all true and real Black Metal just needed at the time.
Akhtya Nachttoter (BLACK FUNERAL): Dead championed the freedom of underground artistry and the creativity of dark music such as Black Metal (and what was called real Death Metal in the late '80s), exploring and shaping the chaos of darkness and the satanic voices inherent within so many.
Beldaroh (BESATT): "The wildness and diabolism he had on stage". Unfortunately, I was not able to see a Mayhem concert with his participation, but what I saw from the video recordings or what I heard from the speakers during Live in Leipzig proves that the stage was his sanctuary, and he created a spectacle that perfectly matched Mayhem's music. I wish for as many of Dead's followers as possible in today's mannerly Black Metal.
Nikolaos Spanakis (DØDSFERD): I don't think he really cared about new generations, especially how they have evolved! He was just trying to externalize his own demons and speak with his acts to those who wanted to listen and not just theories!!! He created unique obscure art, with a raw and "fuck off" attitude to all the rock star wannabes. A true King. His legacy will never be forgotten. Total Respect!!!!
Heergott (MAGOTH): Corpse paint.
Balc (BALMOG): Cut your flesh and make music extreme again.
MB (MALTHUSIAN): Always apologize for making a mess.
Schizoid (MALAURIU): Dead brought a truly theatrical and extreme way of singing and performing live to Black Metal. This has left a mark on all generations to come. The bloody events in Norway, the media, and the recent (albeit controversial) film helped make his memory, his character, and his music eternal.
Blk (PHLEGEIN): Authenticity without compromises; do what thou wilt. This heritage has been ruined and discarded severely over the years and sadly there is very little of it left anymore.
Hoath Daemnator (RIIVAUS): I think his whole bizarre devotion of being the real Dead with all that he did and all that happened on the way in general left an immortal heritage to identify with for legions to come. A true evil in life eternal.
Taaken (ODAL): Maybe the way to lead emotions into music, stay true to the roots, never forget and always remember. That may be the point I can relate to regarding Odal.
Isaroth (ANTZAAT): Dead and Mayhem laid down a blueprint for future artists. It doesn't matter how hard modern Black Metal artists deviate from the initial genre. One can always look back to this blueprint as an example or inspiration for new efforts within the Black Metal genre.
Wolf (ISKRA): The most important heritage is his grating insane screaming and chilling dark lyrics. His vision will always inspire those who listen. He speaks to the troubled youth and proves that even when all seems adversarial, great art can be achieved. His studio takes of the De Mysteriis material, the live recordings, and the Morbid December Moon record of 1987 are his legacy for all to behold. A shining star of the 1980s, there was no one like him!
S. A. Destroyer (NOCTURNAL BREED): That is hard one. He'd hate what Black Metal grew into, and he'd hate the way he is glorified. I think most people never even get close to understanding the treasures he left behind. Pelle is the Cliff (Burton) of extreme Metal. He would have been beyond a giant in this scene had he lived. This is enhanced by his having released so few recordings and he was not around a long time. I think the most important thing he left YOU... Is that you need to get real, be honest with your own terrors and dare to stare into the darkest corners of your heart. Be yourself regardless, and if you're going to do something, fucking do it to the bone!
Nekrocurse (TEMPLE OF EVIL): His spirit is keeping the Black Metal flame alight after 30 years which is the most important heritage for us all. His name has been carved in the history of Black Metal forever and his morbid persona will live on eternally.
Jørn (HADES ALMIGHTY): His voice, performance, and positioning himself as a frontman, never to be seen again! All hail DEAD!!
D (WARKVLT): Corpse paint!!! Dead used corpse paint to represent the existence of death in many forms and to represent true evilness on stage. Then again, KISS used makeup much earlier than Dead of Mayhem, but I don't consider them corpse paint at all.
B. von Doom (PESTLEGION): It's sad that Dead left us way too early. I would have loved to see how Mayhem would have developed or sounded with Dead still on vocals. The heritage he has left are the recordings with Morbid and Mayhem. So, everybody who is getting into Black Metal will sooner or later come to the point where they discover Dead's recordings. It was an amazing discovery for myself and I hope that this will also be the case for everyone else.
Sigward (LIFVSLEDA): The mystical aura that surrounded him. It was significant for the whole early Black Metal scene.
The corpse paint, the burial of his clothes, inhaling the stench of death before going on stage and so on. All this together with a voice more evil than anything else makes him a true legend.
Nick "OldNick" Superchi (CEREMONIAL CASTINGS): The combination of his live imagery, odd personality and ultimate suicide left a mark on how cold, evil and dangerous Black Metal is (or at least was) and what it was truly meant to be. His suicide was the first of many events that pushed the extreme history of the genre and one cannot deny that his actions left a morbid, mysterious and profound feeling when listening or viewing anything in regard to him. A feeling that no one can replicate.
Deathwalker (NIHIL INVOCATION): Black Metal is the brevity of life and attraction toward death and Dead has led by example. Black Metal is self-sacrifice and Dead has shown us the way. Long live the lost soul of Dead and the words he carved to articulate our miserable existence.
Semjaza (THY DARKENED SHADE): Black Metal isn't solely a musical genre. Dead really represents this sentence as well as striving endlessly for the ultimate Black Metal vision and much more than just that. Most importantly he will forever inspire me to be a channel of forces at all times, not only when I am onstage. His dedication was so intense and pure, a dedication of a man fully offering himself to the dark arts, totally killing his own ego for his beliefs and what he stood for and for the arts. He is an embodiment of Black Metal arts, offering himself fully to the other world. Forever inspiring the rest of us and I will always be grateful for what he offered to me.
Sense of Premonition (INVOCATION): He was the one who consolidated the darkness and restored the mystique of Scandinavian Black Metal. "I belong in the woods and have always done so... I'm not a human, this is just a dream and soon I will awake".
Kaosbringer (FRONT): The fire and the passion!
Pesten (TUNDRA): When Dead left this world, things were already changing in the Black Metal scene. Even from those grim days, things are still changing, but his impact was so huge that his presence will always be alive when someone starts a new (Black Metal) band, or for people like me who continues with his own band after all these years. Legends will live forever, their teachings will last forever, the true path will forever be enlightened by the obscurity that he contributed with his personality and beliefs.
Holocausto Inferni (EZURATE): He is a pioneer of Black Metal. Without him and Euronymous there wouldn't be a Black Metal scene so future bands need to understand the importance of Dead and Euronymous.
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