without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I am a Mayhem fan. At one glorious point in my life, I had in my possession every studio album Mayhem made, every live album, and several bootlegs as well. I know my fukken Mayhem.
But I can't see how anybody could feasibly rate this any higher than 25 or 30 percent. I don't know how anybody could logically think of this as an interesting side note. It makes me ashamed to say that I'm a Mayhem fan when it's clear some fans will eat up whatever shit the band made when they were young and didn't know shit about making a demo or playing the instruments right. I mean, where to begin? For starters, there is really not a whole lot of material here. There's a pointless intro (sounds like shit, does nothing for the demo), a half-assed cover of Black Metal, and 3 original songs, all three of which are played sloppily and it is apparent that every damn corner was cut in the production of this. Frankly, since Pure Fucking Armageddon (the song) appears in damn near every live album Mayhem made, as well as the Deathcrush MCD, there's literally NOTHING you would gain by listening to the version here. The production completely distorts the guitars and bass beyond recognition, and the drums sound like pots and pans, whilst all this is recorded from a tape deck. Carnage, as well, appears on many Mayhem live albums where it is performed much more competently and convincingly, and there is little reason to hear this version of Carnage -- you can't discern anything here, vocals included -- so the only remaining reason to even listen to this AT ALL, is Ghoul. And even still, it's not much to listen to.
Mayhem would end up becoming legends, but this is some real crap right here. Honestly, it's almost to the point where I'd rate a blank tape with a fart at the end higher than this. It's not kvlt, it's just a crap demo recorded in someone's garage with a tape deck by a band who needed quite a few more rehearsals.
Mayhem's debut record is a result of the underground scene creating many death/thrash metal bands. In 1986, while thrash metal was reaching Top 40 on Billboard, death metal, grindcore, hardcore bands appeared like mushrooms after the rain. The First Wave of Black Metal began to decline, bands such as Venom, Bathory and Celtic Frost haven't really been able to define this new genre. But, while image wise, Mayhem could incorporate elements from these bands, music-wise, Slayer and Kreator were the more sinister bands out there.
Indeed, Kreator and Slayer were the main influences of this new outfit, but, sadly, no originality came from these guys. Or, at least, nothing original and memorable... Pure Fucking Armageddon, Carnage and Ghoul are all repetitive riff-wise and have flashy, wining solos with crappy gore lyrics and crappier English and fast and sloppy drumming. The cover song is a joke, I can barely hear something and it's too fast played.
The instrumentals are quite the same as the tracks with vocals, except for the track called "Mayhem", which is just a recording with the band waisting time. I think this is something like "Listen to Nicko McBrain" from Iron Maiden, just without any sense of humour (if you don't know Norwegian).
Voice of a Tortured Skull is disturbing and the band tries something dark/ambient/drone music, but I'm not sure; hell, I don't think they are too. To bad they haven't exploited this style of composing, because they would have made some discoveries!
Aside from the terrible production, copycat riffs, shitty instrumentals and crappy vocals, I can not say this is essential. But this release does deserve some points for enthusiasm and the energy displayed...
Mayhem. Any self-respecting black metal fan knows the story of Mayhem. The whole deal with Dead's suicide and Euronymous's murder, but I know a lot of Mayhem fans who haven't heard this demo. This is Mayhem humble beginnings.
I'm going to tell it like it is. If you don't feel the crappy quality vibe that a lot of black metal bands use, this demo will absolutely suck to you. It's probably the worst quality I've ever heard, except maybe for some Ulver stuff. This quality absolutely sucks. And I can see why it would turn some people off. On the other hand, I have no problem with horrible quality, so I appreciate this demo. It truly is pure fucking armageddon. You can make out the riffs and the pounding of the snare in the background. On this demo, the songs sound a lot alike because of the sound quality and have the same basic formula. The riffs are actually pretty decent, although crazy primitive. Unfortunately, the drums are basically just pounding the snare and the bass drum the whole time. As for Euronymous's vocals.. they aren't great, but you can't hear them unless you try, so it's nothing to worry about. The bass is also very prominent and good.
This demo has some awesome riffs and songs that will be remembered. The sound quality is terrible, and they sound like a bunch of pissed off teenagers, but it's a solid demo with some good guitar and bass work. If you can get ahold of it, I would recommend it, but don't go searching for hours.
Here we are 22 years following this release. Black metal has defined itself as an established genre of the extreme metal movement. 22 years later this band is hailed as one of the biggest influences ever to come from that genre. 22 years ago this was one of the harshest rawest most brutal sounding demo tapes ever, but now we consider this recording to be very poorly done and looked at with indifference or with disgust because of its nature. This is mayhem in its purest form. This is what happens when some kids in high school (or fresh out of high school) get together and start playing the most extreme stuff they can.
Musically, I have to admit, that the title is extremely accurate. This record truly is Pure Fucking Armageddon by its own definition. The entire recording both in terms of production and music talent is chaotic to the most extreme points. You can tell this recording was probably more of a band rehearsal of 3 kids who loved bands such as Venom, Hellhammer, and Celtic Frost during the mid 80s, and you can hear a lot of the influence in the moments you can decipher the guitars and bass in this low end recording. Euronymous' vocals get a lot of negative feedback, and I must agree that they're far from the greatest vocals I've ever heard. He's definitely not as great as messiah and maniac would eventually be, but his vocals definitely fit the atmosphere in the sound.
The first side "Fuck" is in short a demo that was less widely released and acknowledged by the band. The recording is raw and brutal before these terms became acknowledged by mainstream metal and became another ambiguous label to define the scene itself. Everything on the Fuck side is pretty well done and really what makes the recording worth listening to. The songs eventually would become songs that still define Mayhem to this day 4 albums, 2 EPs, and plenty of live/rehearsal/rereleased material uncovered over the years that we've come across in later years. Even in their infancy they were quite tight despite the poor low end rumbling production that makes it indecipherable during some points.
The second side "Off" is a rehearsal track. It's quite obvious right when you reach the Mayhem track, it's nothing more than your average high schoolers putting together a rehearsal afterschool. Some will praise this like everything else because it's mayhem, though years later something like this would be considered downright laughable, irritating, and probably be a primary reason the band would never be acknowledged, but then again it's debatable whether or not Mayhem would be as well known, notorious and popular today had it not been for Dead's Suicide, Euronymous' murder, Helvete, and the live shows the band put on in their prime days a few years following this recording. The rehearsals sound quality is a bit easier to decipher and without the overdriven vocals over head you can make out a lot more which sounds pretty well done and very listenable.
There are many flaws with this recording of course, but it's a demo. It's worth checking out though many won't appreciate it. IF you listen to plenty of old tapes before and after though you begin to appreciate it more. This release is definitely a good indication of the underground back during the mid 80s. Could it have been better in both recording and execution? Of course, but given what they had at the time as a band, it's still definitely a well put together demo. It clearly defines what it means to be raw, harsh, and every other term and in a way is a masterpiece in itself in that aspect and is defines and paves a path that would forge for extreme metal in the next few years to come. If only we can go back 22 years ago in order to once again appreciate this often underrated landmark demo recording for what it was instead of focusing on what it is in comparison to now decades later.
That's really all I can say about "Pure Fucking Armageddon". When I first saw the CD version of this demo (used - for $17.99) sitting in the "Mayhem" section in my local record store, I thought I'd found something incredible. I liked the "Deathcrush" album so I assumed that "PFA" would be equally impressive. When I put the disc in my CD player at home, I was thoroughly disappointed.
Upon hitting the play button, a static-washed rumbling came out of my speakers. Soon I could make out the severely muffled, barely audible banging of a snare drum amidst the horrible noise. And this is basically how every song on the album goes. I couldn't believe that this was the demo that so many people have worshipped and praised as being such a brilliant piece of work. I was also pissed I threw down 18 bucks for this garbage!
I'm not very picky when it comes to an album's production, especially in this kind of music, and I understand that a lower quality production creates a darker, more harsh atmosphere, but to me, this is totally unlistenable, this has no atmosphere. This is twenty-seven minutes of total shit, recorded solely for the sake of making something that sounds like shit (probably to piss off the "posers" and trendy metal kids Euronymous loathed), and the premise fails horribly.
I give this album a rating of 10, because I have heard later recordings of the songs presented here and they aren't bad songs, but on this demo, the recording is so bad you wouldn't be able to tell.
Yes, the production (or lack of) is horrific. Yes, the playing probably isn’t all that great. Yes, Euronymous was an absolutely horrible vocalist. Does any of this matter? To some, yes it will matter, but the trick to this demo is to look past the production (and Euro’s vocals), and at the music itself. Which, for it’s tim,e is amazingly aggressive and showcases some of the best Mayhem riffs in their history. Not only that, but two out of the three full songs on here (excluding the intro and Mayhem) still appear in Mayhem’s live set. What Euronymous, Necrobutcher and Messiah made here is an absolute classic, and one of the first releases from the just starting Norwegian black metal scene. It actually contains two separate recordings, the Voice of a Tortured Skull demo (tracks 1-5) and a rehearsal afterwards (tracks 6-9). It’s kind of ironic that the rehearsal sounds clearer (and better) than the actual proper recordings.
The sound: Well, this is one of the worst part of the demo. Considering I can get clearer sound out of the microphone on my mp3 player, it’s pretty damn bad. It’s very muffled and very bass heavy. Depending on your point of view, you’ll either discard the entire demo for this or you’ll accept it as it is and get on listening. Once you’ve gotten used to it, it really isn’t that bad, I just wouldn’t compare it to Grand Declaration of War anytime soon. To help, listen to the final four tracks off of Dawn of the Black Hearts. Then you’ll think the recording quality on this is fantastic.
The Vocals: Now these are just horrible. Luckily they are only on the first five tracks. It’s Euronymous on vocals, and let me just say, I’m glad Maniac and Messiah did Deathcrush, because Euronymous can’t sing for shit. They are mainly deep grunts akin to something found in brutal death metal rather than black metal and they are made even worse by the fact that they are extremely muffled. In the end, they just sound like a big hunk of bass. The lyrics are horrible as well, don’t expect anything in that department.
Guitar: Now this is really were this Pure Fucking Armageddon shines! The riffs on this album are fantastic. Besides that repetitive but undeniably awesome riff that forms the main part of Ghoul, we have the legendary Pure Fucking Armageddon riff as well as Mayhem’s earliest solos in Carnage. Sometimes the guitar get buried beneath everything else, which is a shame, but they are still audible barring a few select parts.
Bass: Another shining part of Pure Fucking Armageddon is Necrobuther’s bass. It has a really heavy and deep tone to it and carries the whole demo on its back. If the bass was not present, there may have been some more room for the guitars, but then the demo would have been lacking some serious grunt, particularly on Ghoul. At times it acts more like a rhythm guitar, playing the riffs while Euronymous solos during Carnage. At other times it just beefs up the sound of the guitar.
Drums: There really isn’t much to say about the Messiah’s drumming on this album. They are very basic, and no where up to the standards that Hellhammer would later set, but they still fit Pure Fucking Armageddon perfectly. They’re simple and rough, but that’s the way they were meant to be! Actually the drums are at a very good level in the mix and don’t drown out anything as they did on Deathcrush.
Side Fuck: The demo starts off with a short intro by the name of Voice of a Tortured Skull. This intro is probably one of my favourite intros of all time. It has a very evil atmosphere and at times invokes thoughts and images of torture. Following Voice of a Tortured Skull is the classic Carnage. While in its earliest form here, the song has remained virtually unchanged to this day. It features the first Mayhem solos, as well as some solid riffs and bass work. After Carnage comes Ghoul, one of my favourite Mayhem songs of all time. It’s so simple, yet it sounds absolutely brilliant. The riffs are awesome and it’s really a shame that the song is basically forgotten, being left out of the live set. If you have more craving for this song, as I did, I would recommend finding Carpathian Forest’s cover. Euronymous never stopped telling everyone who would listen how great Venom was, and here Venom’s Black Metal song is covered as a “Total Death version”. Basically its just a really fast version. It has no vocals (yay!), but sometimes it’s so fast the song becomes a big sludge, and you cannot tell when the next part of the song starts. Then the title track, Pure Fucking Armageddon. This song, along with Freezing Moon has come to define Euronymous era Mayhem. After the brief whirlwind of chaos, the listener is treated to “The Riff”. It’s the greatest riff of Mayhem’s career and one of the best riffs in metal history. Here Pure Fucking Armageddon is played at the right speed. On Deathcrush it was played too fast, and lost some of it’s greatness. This was of course corrected on Live In Leipzig, restoring the song to it’s former power.
Side Off: Now we move on to the rehearsal side of Pure Fucking Armageddon. First up is a brief track called Mayhem, featuring the band mucking around a bit with some random drum bashing. It moves on to increasingly fast drumming with some screaming accompanying it. The final three songs are just different versions of Ghoul, Pure Fucking Armageddon and Carnage (in that order). The sound is a bit clearer, letting the guitar really raise its head and show the power of Euro’s riffs and Necro’s bass lines. Oh, and there’s no vocals, which is a huge bonus.
Pure Fucking Armageddon may not the best sounding demo in the world, but it’s one of the greatest and most influential. This demo was the start of Norwegian black metal, even if it’s closer to thrash and early death metal. Underneath the crap sound lies some awesome songs and some even better riffs. Get past that sound and I’ll guarantee you’ll love this demo. This is metal in it’s rawest form and it’s a shame that modern bands cannot create songs of this calibre anymore. Don’t pay for this though (unless it’s the limited vinyl version, they’re worth a bit of money), download it as you may not be able to handle the sound. Unfortunately Mayhem no longer offers it as a free download off of their website, so you’ll have to dig around for it. This is black metal history, and if you’re going to get any of the old demos from the big Norwegian black metal bands of the early 90’s, get this one.
Mayhem is the most prolific Black Metal band in the genre's history. They’ve survived several shakes up in their formation and released quite a few successful albums and evolved their sound beyond what anyone could really imagine, but it all comes back to the bands first demo tape, "Pure Fucking Armageddon". “Pure Fucking Armageddon” has the potential to be the definitive demo album for a black metal band but it falls short on so many levels that overall it's a huge disappointment.
The only positive thing at all about this demo is the fact that it somehow managed to land Mayhem a deal to record; otherwise "Pure Fucking Armageddon" is a flop. In fact it may very well be one of the worst demo tapes in metal history.
To be honest it sounds like this demo was recorded in a moldy bathroom and then defecated upon by a rabid dog before being "mastered" and sent out to the world for listening consumption; the vocals are almost absent spare a few noticeable screeches and wails because of the volume difference in the audio channels; the guitars sound hellish (not in a good way either), and the drums seem to overtake everything at some points. If there was a bass on this demo I had no idea because I couldn't even hear it, I'll assume there was but I cannot find any real evidence to support it.
You may be thinking, "if this is such a bad demo why give it a 60?" The answer is quite simple: when there are some actual moments of clarity and you are able to hear what the hell is going on in terms of the music its great. You can hear the brutality and veracity of Mayhem in their earliest days. That's why I give this demo a 60.
As aforementioned, "Pure Fucking Armageddon" has so much potential to become the quintessential Black Metal demo album but it falls tragically short because of its horrible recording quality. The saddest lines a reviewer ever has to write are these: "what could've been". So if you have this demo and listen to it, weep and just think as to "what could've been".
As we live in the year 2004 the Black Metal phenomenon has spread through almost every country in the world and inspired tens of thousands of young musicians to take matters into their own hands and contribute to the "greater essence" with their very own recordings. Now, while the one or the other idealist might dream of a "communism of creativity" it can safely be considered the "reality of things" that inspiration is far from being spread equally among the self-proclaimed artists of this world. Combined with the extreme and rigid "underground" mentality common to Black Metal music this unfortunate fact has produced an even more unfortunate phenomenon - the widely misuse of the term "cult". The speed of the instruments don't match at any place and the musicians have trouble keeping to the rhythm even within their own melodylines? It must be "cult". The drumcomputer or the synths in general sound like taken straight from an old Nintendo game? It must be "cult". The vocalist sounds like a stoned lizard set on fire? No reason for the band to be embarressed or stand mocked as a living joke, after all, its Black Metal, it sounds like total crap, so.... it must be "cult". I estimate that there isn't a single person within the entire Black Metal scene who hasn't heard this excuse for a total case of musical diarrhoea at the very least a dozen times.
With this saddening thought in mind let me spin back the wheel of time for almost 20 years. Three young Norwegians, who were later to become one of the prime influences for the aforementioned rise of Black Metal music (if not *the* prime influence) have just recently completed their very first two official recordings, which, after each being released seperately in a very limited amoung, then had taken shape in the release of this demo, combining both the previous releases. And while - if looked upon from the perspective of the year 2004 - this release may fulfill all the points that the hundreds (or thousands) of these modern bands do, that attach the label "cult" to themselves. The sound - it would be pointless to call it a "production" due to the obvious rehearsal-character of this recordings - is indeed barely within the minimum standards, the instruments are not only hard to make out, no, at the parts in which you can make them out you can easily spot all the goofs in the playing. However, given the uniqueness of such music at the time and the influence it had on so many other I think things should be seen a little differently. When Mayhem released this demo Venom, Celtic Frost or even Sodom were pretty much the heaviest thing around in this world and practically out of nowhere come these Norwegians scrubbing down their shit in a speed that even the hundreds of Death Metal bands that would come up in the later 80s would not reach, in fact the sheer speed of this release would remain above standards until the early 90s. And it is just not the speed which is remarkable. The snotty, almost puked out riffs, that would almost shame Venom or Celtic Frost as Melodic Metal acts in comparison, adding to the overall intensity of this material and defining its rightful role as "classics"/"evergreens" for all the following extreme Metal generations to come. In addition to that comes.... the sound. And exactly and especially for the reason that this music helped defining one entire genre (or even more) as well as its status as "Black Metal evergreens" is what makes this demo different from all the pointless recordings made these days. At a time when independent record labels were barely invented and were even more thinly spread in the world these guys have the nerves of unleashing a garage sound like this on the public ear, bringing forth one of the rawest, most extreme, and most all all, one of the most "cult" recordings of all times.
I recommend you have a shot of strong liquor burn through your oesophagus and numb your brain while you have "Pure Fucking Armageddon" burn through your ear and mangle your brain through a meatgrinder and remember that once, almost 20 years ago, the term "cult" still had a meaning!
This early Mayhem-demo compilation is probably the worst demo-tape I have ever heard! This contains both Pure Fucking Armageddon-rehearsal tape and Voice of a tortured skull-demo tape compiled on the sides "Fuck" and "Off"... The general sound on both demos are terrible and makes Deathcrush sound like a technical masterpiece. Vocals are horrible, and they are closer to death/grind vocals than black metal vocals.
What about the line-up? The only member who plays in Mayhem today is the bassist Necrobutcher. We all know what happened to Euronymous, who is this time also handling vocals. There is this guy called Manheim on drums, so no Hellhammer yet.
The "intro" piece in the start of "Voice of tortured skull" is awful. I am not sure is it guitar or some malfunction on the tape. Whatever it is, it gives me a fuckin' headache! There are some screams and various other voices through the song. On "Carnage" there aren't so many creaks as on the first song, but the vocals are even worse. They sound like that they are recorded with rags in the mouth and then scratched the tape with the screwdriver. Only the lowest groans are on the track. "Ghoul" is a bit clearer but there are no improvements on the vocals. Mayhem knew what they were doing. True Black Metal. And what bands created it? Venom perhaps? That is why Mayhem makes "the tribute to the gods" by covering Venom. They chosen "Black Metal". Perfect song, Mayhem knew it. When I first heard this, I did not even recognized it as a Venom song. Mayhem boosts it's speed to the maximum, and there are no vocals on the track (Yeah!), but the pauses on the track sound like the band stops playing, but then suddenly starts again. The sound is a bit clearer on this track, but this pleasure is very short. The title track returns to the pure noise with suffocated vocals. It's the last song on the "Fuck"-side.
The "Off"-side, or actually "Pure Fucking Armageddon" is slightly better than the "Fuck"-side. Sounds are better and there are no vocals! At least I did not heard them. "Mayhem" is an odd individual to be an intro track. There are some strange noises including various voices created by drums and some kind of talking. It seems that these guys are having a good time. Maybe drunken sincerity? It ends suddenly and the compilation's better version of "Ghoul" starts. Now you can even have some kind of sense about it! "Ghoul" is not a bad song, it just sounded like one on the "Fuck"-side. "Pure fucking Armageddon" and "Carnage" are both here with the better versions. But it does not mean that they still sound well. They still sound shitty.
This demo is available for download at their official web site. No-one should not buy this! It's only a waste of money. If you can even find this...
Mayhem, the famous norwegian black metal band, wrote this demo back 3 years into the bands creation. This album definately is a mess just as morbidatheist had stated. The vocals are almost inaudible, and sound just like grindcore/death metal growls buried so deep within the mix you have to have some good ears to hear them, much less understand what the fuck he's saying.
This demo sounds as if someone gave mayhem an old washing machine and told them to make a demo using it. The band basically is fucking around with their instruments the whole time. Especially on the track Mayhem...when they're basically slamming on the drums together and shouting, what the fuck is this crap. Other than that the band sounds as if they're imitating Venom and Hellhammer, but using even worse recording. This must have been the biggest waste of time in the history of metal. It's not extreme. It's not metal. Just a bunch of crap and the band playing random chords on guitar.
The demo is more on the low end which gives it a better sound. It would have been much worse if the album had more treble sound to it. It would be more than the headache it already is. I don't see how anyone would be able to enjoy this demo. It's boring, shitty, and mayhem is just fucking around on the album. Don't bother looking for it or trying to get it. Horrible quality, not metal at all. Just repetitive random guitar chords trying to sound like a metal band. They had a long way to go with this.
This demo has sloppy written all over it! It is a mess, yes indeed. Oh my goodness, this demo is just horrible, plain and simple. Well, Mayhem definitely improved by the time they released Deathcrush. This demo is mostly comprised of instrumentals.
The only great thing about this demo is the Venom cover, Black Metal. No vocals on here. It sounds pretty sloppy. But it's pretty cool though.
Oh man, this demo is bad. I'm not going to lie. I was expecting it to have some substance. It really doesn't. It's almost inaudible to listen to. I do like track #6, Mayhem. It's not really a song. I hear the band members fooling around and shit. Then the drummer just randomly beats on the drums. There's no guitar to be found on this track. This is a very funny track to listen to, I enjoy it.
Are there vocals on here? Or is it the guitar? I don't know, but if there are vocals. The vocals are inaudible as fuck! This demo is just a bunch of noise. It was poorly made.
I really think Mayhem should of put a lot more effort into this one. It's a horrible recording, yes. But Mayhem was a relatively new band at the time. I'll give them credit for making a demo. There's really nothing special on this demo.