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I'm glad MA included this release despite it being a bootleg. The importance of this to the history of Mayhem and early black metal is as vital as the cover is disgusting and shocking. While 'Live In Leipzig' has a more appropriate and cool picture of Dead on the cover the sound on it is a bit thin and vocal heavy. While here you hear everything equally bad! Lol! The production is what a typical bootleg sounds like, pretty bad. LLN bad? No, not THAT bad. You hear the vocals and the intruments all on a similar level. But the ferocity sets this apart from the other recording with the classic lineup. While Maniac and Attila have their appeal and have done well fronting Mayhem for the next 20 years it still doesn't match Dead's vocals. He had it all as a black metal frontman. The intensity, the voice, attitude and most importantly THE LOOK. He was the prototypical black metal frontman. If there was a dictionary or encyclopedia that had 'black metal vocalist' a picture of Dead would most likely be next to that entry.
'Deathcrush' sounds better, faster and more intense than any other version heard with Dead on vocals. I'm including 'Live In Leipzig', Zeitz (Germany), and the rehearsal in 88/90(?). Let's face it, Dead & Euronymous were Mayhem. The voice, the "mascots", the sound, lyrics, music, the idealogy of the band was their doing. They were the David Lee Roth/Eddie Van Halen, Lennon/McCartney, Morrissey/Johnny Marr of black metal. And the band lost them both inside the span of 30 months. It really should have ended there. But since so many metal bands go through lineup changes and some with practically complete changes (i.e. Decapitated, Vader, etc.) we tend to let it slide, but with Mayhem they get ripped for it more than any other metal band in history.
'Chainsaw Gutsfuck' never sounded better than on this, it's slower and the drums are slowed down as well which is rare for Hellhammer since he likes to play the intro faster and more complex. In here he plays it exactly as Manheim played it which I prefer most and maybe Euronymous as well and possibly suggested that it be played that way too since we know Hellhammer is an excellent drummer and likes to play simple drum parts with more flair and virtuosity. But I'm a nut for the basic, hypnotic style of Manheim. The song that I have in mind the most from this is 'Carnage'. You hear Necrobutcher tuning his bass in the beginning and some rustling in the background which must be Dead and out of the blue he just screams in seemingly very genuine anger "CARNAGE!". No, "this is carnage" or "the next song is about carnage", nothing like that. Just a straightforward message.
While Euronymous exaggerated and lied about Dead's attitude being "trve and kvlt" and "he lived and died for the cause." The truth was Dead was a very fucked up, suicidal and disturbed man. Perhaps schizophrenic in that he would have random acts of violence and then just sit alone in silence. Was he dangerous to others, I don't believe so. But I am curious if he lived long enough to ever have a yoyo like Varg Vikernes cross his path. I'm certain the "Count" wouldn't ever want to get on his bad side. It was no act, it was real, all too real. But he never died because black metal was becoming popular and "trendy". He blew his head off because he simply wanted to experience death and all that possibly comes after it. He was just portraying the image of a man who was rotting, disintegrating which is why he never put on the corpsepaint to look precise or pretty. He literally was obssessed with death, dying and all of that stuff. People close to him all report the same story. He was genuine to the very end.
Unfortunately there's only 8 songs on here from the Sarpsborg show, but it's status, importance and quality cannot be denied. This is a document of early black metal and a time when it was still raw, underground and dangerous. Fucking essential!