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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".