Former Mayhem members burrow into an alternative history
The new sounds of the underground, with order, Altarage and Big | Brave.
hen people speak of old-school black metal, what they generally mean is the scene that emerged from Oslo in the wake of Mayhem’s earliest efforts. Before that, of course, the tag was used widely and broadly, encompassing everything from Slayer and Celtic Frost to Devastation and Nunslaughter. And it is that transformative era in underground metal history that informs the monstrous music of Order. Formed by ex-Cadaver mastermind Anders Odden in 2013, what began as an exercise in nostalgia mutated into something far more destructive.
“The masterplan was to create a band consisting of the original dudes who played extreme metal in Norway before the whole ‘Norwegian black metal’ era took place,” Anders explains. “I’d written a synopsis for a fiction movie about the early days of the Norwegian scene and sold it to a film production company. To make genuine new music for the movie, I wanted to combine my old friends from the first Mayhem line-up, Manheim and Messiah, with my old pal Rene who played bass on the first Cadaver LP in 1990 [and who sadly passed away in 2014]. I thought, ‘What if we had started this band in 1987 when Manheim and Messiah left Mayhem? What would our own material sound like at that point in time?’”
The answer to that question is brutally hammered home on Order’s long-awaited debut album, Lex Amentiae. A furious, grotesque eruption of old-school riffing, it really does sound like some great, lost album from 1987, albeit with enough contemporary heft to allay fears that this is a purely wistful exercise. That said, Anders and his comrades plainly hold the glory days of metal’s mid-to-late 80s in the highest esteem.
“I think our generation was the last to truly identify our whole existence through music,” he says. “We were so into it nothing else mattered to us at all. Back then, all the bands sounded different from each other and new ways of doing things took people to new, interesting places all the time. I remember a compilation called Speed Kills I, which had a profound impact on me. I got into Exodus, Metallica, Slayer, Venom, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Destruction and Possessed at the same time! From that moment I knew this was my music and that it would be my life companion. It’s where all my inspiration comes from. It’s in our DNA.”
Despite significant commitments as live bassist with Satyricon, Anders insists that Order have grand plans to hit the road in the near future. A second album may emerge before touring starts in earnest, but having reconnected with the music that changed his life, this diehard purveyor of arcane extremity has no intention of stopping.
“This band is sacred to us. We are all veterans, but when we play it’s like nothing has changed. We answer to no one. We get inspiration from the idea of making music together – not other bands or current music trends. It’s kind of the same thing we did back in the day, but there is not much coming out now that we really like in metal. I guess that’s why we feel more free.”
“This band is sacred to us”