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Review: The Death Archives: Mayhem 1984-94
Book Review
The Death Archives: Mayhem 1984-94
Publisher: Ecstatic Peace Library
Author: Jorn "Necrobutcher" Stubberud
Year published: 2018
ISBN: 1787601293
Pages: 256

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: September 20, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
The Death Archives: Mayhem 1984-94

Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (3 Votes)

Much has been written about Norway's Mayhem over the years, both in print and online, but this book was written by Jorn "Necrobutcher" Stubberud himself. Whereas a lot of what you usually read about that period of the band focuses on things like third-party accounts—some of which are often disputed as not quite the way it happened or just downright false—here Necrobutcher just tells it the way he lived it, and that in a surprisingly light and matter-of-fact writing style. Lots of accounts of the early days as a penniless struggling band and how they got around that, with the expected funny and "oh my..." situations, touring, how the guys met, etc. all the way to just after Euronymous' death. This is recounted in the first person and, reading this, you can almost feel like he's sitting next to you and telling you the story in person.

It's a little light on details and even the most outrageous events that are usually presented in detailed and sensationalistic ways and recounted in a few lines or a few paragraphs at most. And Necrobutcher makes no apology for it in the introduction, explicitly mentioning the lack of details, especially on some topics that people can't get enough of. Each chapter is pretty short, sometimes kind of ending abruptly. It's almost like he's saying, "but enough about this..." and just changing the subject.

The book's physical format is bigger than most band books I've come across, at roughly 7.6" x 10.5". It's only 256 pages but feels bigger as this is thick quality paper. While I haven't counted, I'm pretty sure there are more pages filled with photos than text. If you like band photos, you certainly are in for a treat with this one. When I first opened it and flipped the pages, I thought this was some kind of photo album. There are even a few pages that are left blank, completely black or white. But even though it's light in text content, I still found this a really interesting read. Seeing so many photos at first, I thought I should have looked into it more before buying, but a few pages in and I was hooked. Recommended.

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