Frankly, there's a reason why Norwegian black metal pioneers Mayhem are better known for their often shocking offstage history than for their music. It's hard to compete with tales of murder, cannibalism, and other sordid diversions. And people thought the Sex Pistols were shocking! That said, Chimera is a far better than average slab of Scandinavian black metal that harks back to the band's classic lineup, who are now mostly either dead or in jail. Singer Maniac varies the attack of his death growl vocals, varying the pitch between the low-register moan that many lesser bands in the style stick to, unexpected attacks like the falsetto shriek in the verses of the piledriving hardcore opener "Whore," and the almost pagan chanting that overlays the extended coda of "My Death." As always, the band plays faster, harder, and louder -- and with a greater attention to sonic detail -- than just about anyone in the style, but the expanded scope and variation of Chimera shows that in the right hands, there's more to this often-maligned music than its detractors give it credit for.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason