Several stories emerged about how the singer came to leave the band, but the most common factor was the singer’s recurring alcoholism problems, which were caused by stage fright problems and an increasingly straining life on the road. A singular episode happened on what would be Maniac’s last gig, with Blasphemer having manifested his dissatisfaction at the singer’s current situation by kicking him down a through flight of stairs and slamming his head against the wall two times. According to what Necrobutcher said on the “In the Face of Death” article by Chris Campion, the guitarist had previously asked for his permission to proceed with the act. This dissatisfaction apparently grew due to the fact that Maniac was getting sloppy and forgetting his lyrics on stage, due to being inebriated most of the time.
When you have two strong individuals going to different ways and creating tension within the band, that’s when the magic comes up. Especially with an aggressive band like Mayhem”. Upon completion, “Chimera” was released on 6 April 2004. The album cover features a screenshot from the 1922 silent film “Häxan”. The band had returned to a more straightforward approach, keeping the high production values presented on their previous record, but some of the fans still contested that the band kept moving away from its primal Black Metal roots. When contemplating the work done on “Chimera” in comparison to “Grand Declaration of War”, Necrobutcher thought that “some of the songs are a little bit more mellow. It’s not that militaristic, not that aggressive maybe, but still there’s a dark evil lurking in the back. It’s a little bit more spaced out also” (Against
The band embarked once again on a world tour to promote “Chimera”, and eventually it reached Australia, on a trip that represented a high mark in the band’s already twenty year old career by that point, as Maniac remembered fondly: “We toured Australia some years ago on an invitation from the Australian Department for Culture and Arts on the basis that we represented ‘Norwegian culture at its highest level’. Naturally, it was awesome – we were welcomed everywhere” (Knut Steen, 2005).
Later on, Necrobutcher elaborated on the reasons why Maniac left the band and declared that his exit was a mutual agreement between the singer and the remaining members of Mayhem: “I would say that he wasn’t kicked out. He had a problem and that problem became bigger and bigger. In the end it was a little bit hard to realize for him, that he had a problem, but when we put it down on the knife edge and tried to sort out what we were going to do for the future and what Mayhem was going to do like in the next 6 months, he realized that he could not continue. He was not kicked out. It was more like an understanding between us that he had to leave the band” (Pure Fucking Mayhem, 2009).
Though by 2004 Mayhem had started to be recognized as high representatives of Norwegian culture in other corners of the world, Maniac wouldn’t accompany the band much further, as “Chimera” and its subsequent tour would prove to be his last period with the band.
On a startling revelation to journalist Knut Steen, only one year after his final exit from Mayhem, he revealed other reasons that also led him to quit the band: “The role as Mayhem’s front-man has been incredibly rewarding but it has also drained me physically and mentally while on tour.
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