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An Amazing Release - 94%

captain_ahar, July 15th, 2008

I'll start by getting production value out of the way. It's terrible. However, considering that the set was recorded nearly twenty years ago on equipment that, even then, would have hardly been state of the art, this seems like a facet not worth dwelling on.

What does matter is the performance, and that does not disappoint in the least. Dead is simply amazing. As much as I enjoyed Maniac's vocals on the classic, Deathcrush, they are just blown out of the water by Dead's poorly recorded contribution. He offers up a growl that is hard to miss, and harder to forget. He is not performing for laughs, it couldn't be clearer, and that sincerity really plays into the albums favor.

Similarly, the rest of the band turns in a great performance as well, as they rip through a set littered with Deathcrush stand-outs and a smattering of songs later featured on the follow-up, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Euronymous shreds from track one straight to the end, showing the same no-nonsense flair showcased in the first EP.

Hellhammer also gives a great, though somewhat workman-like, performance. It gets the job done, but he doesn't turn in some of the variation offered by Manheim on Deathcrush. That being said, given its a live recording, the drums are a lot more raw and hard hitting.

Not much can be said about the bass. Simply put, you can't really hear what the hell Necrobutcher's doing. It should also be noted that this is not limited to some of the songs, or even most of them, but all.

All in all the first nine tracks of the album are really something special. Showcasing what was once an incredible band at arguably their finest hour. At the same time, you can't help but think what might have happened had Dead not checked himself out so early. A voice like that with some real recording equipment to capture it would have been a treat indeed, perhaps eliminating the misstep that was Attila Csihar, and the partial-birth abortion that was Maniac's return.

The final four tracks are pulled from a live set in 1986 featuring the same lineup as Deathcrush, which was released the following year. We have a handful of Venom and Celtic Frost covers, none of which offer anything much of worth, and certainly nothing more than the originals they are based on.

Highlights : Death Crush, Funeral Fog, Chainsaw Gutsfuck