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BETTER THAN THE PREVIOUS DEMOS - 50%

prometeus, February 2nd, 2019

Over the years, I forgot about this release, but nostalgia brought me back. Honestly, I don’t like it, because of the shitty quality and musicianship. Mannheim was a very sloppy drummer, Euronymous still needed some guitar lessons, and Necrobutcher should have picked better lyrical topics. Of course, for ‘80s Norway, this band might have been something else, and these guys were just kids, and their musical vision was as immature as themselves. In other words, at the time, Slayer, Death, Bathory (of course!), Tormentor and so on, did it much better.

For a short release like this, not even reaching the 20 minutes mark, I cannot properly digest the content. As a whole, it isn’t coherent and doesn’t pass the test of the band’s vision. It contains a militaristic intro, composed by Conrad Schnitzer; the outro is just childish garbage, and there is a melancholic interlude on a piano, which wows me concerning the band members many abilities, and frustrates me on the matter of their incompetence at mastering all of them. Scraping these three tracks, you get five main musical pieces, out of which one is a cover track and the other, a rerecording.

Venom’s cover is awful, with its increased tempo and out of place vocals. Yeah, Messiah was worshipping Quorthon, to say the least, a trait also picked up by Dead later on, both in a more atmospheric fashion than a straightforward one, but that song celebrated the occult vision on the midnight period, and there is none of that here. Pure Fucking Armageddon also doesn’t have that alarmed tone, even with its excruciatingly retarded lyrics, with the more atmospheric vocals, very fast tempos and the too-brief-to-be-considered-necessary guitar solo. On a side note, why does nobody asks themselves what would have been DMDS with Messiah on vocals, since he is about as sinister sounding as Dead, albeit more tight? Oh yeah, there are no dramas, antics, and mental diseases involved in his story…

The main tracks seem like leftovers from the Pure Fucking Armageddon session, although this sounds like a very harsh statement. Chainsaw Gutsfuck has the signs of good songwriting, with many transitions, tempo changes, gaining a progressive edge, while Necrolust builds up to an exploding apex, which is still fucking awesome. Of course, we’ve been spoiled with numerous bootlegged versions of these tracks, with better musicianship, including Hellhammer, Blasphemer, and the reinvented Maniac, who will not shout (thankfully), but vomit shrieks over them. I skipped the Dead period, because the live renditions from 1990 are poor.

In the end, I will always go for the post-reunion renditions, since I like the better musicianship and the clearer sound. Yeah, it doesn’t sound kvlt or nekro, but if I’m going to review some music, I’d better understand what the fuck is going on in there and I want my metal crushing it. Somehow, the album title is misleading in this department and, since almost everybody is speaking about it, this record is historically relevant, as it was between the Waves and all that, but who enjoys music for that reason? I don’t, and if you want to at least try to understand parts of the history of black metal, hear this, but there are better recordings of these tracks, and there is better ‘80s black metal out there (but not without this much marketing). Just so you know…

Not That Good, But Historically Important - 55%

ballcrushingmetal, June 25th, 2018

Widely remembered as the starting point for the establishment of the second wave black metal, Mayhem's debut reshaped the black metal concept that Venom created five years earlier with their sophomore effort. Unlikely to what the first wave offered, Mayhem provided an insanely fast and raw performance, emphasized by the tense atmosphere surrounding each song. Although in terms of songwriting, the band achieved climbing to higher standards of franticness and insanity, Mayhem failed at making a consistent work.

The attempts at reaching grindcore's bpm scales result pointless and needless. For instance, the title-track already offers a raw and uncontrollably savage mid-paced thrashy intro, but for whatever the reason, they saw including blast beats as a reasonable alternative. On the contrary, blast beats negatively affected the coherence of the songs. Further, the wildness they started offering with their mid-paced intros got buried at some point, and they make the songs a little bit dull. Perhaps, thrashy drums could have been a more effective choice in order to make the songs sound fucking insane. The same thing happens in almost all the release, in certain songs they are lengthier than in others.

On the other hand, their cover of the Venom's song "Witching Hour" works perfectly. It could certainly be their finest hour, as it is not so distant from Venom's idea, even though it is way shorter than the original song. This song is a perfect tribute to the band that widely influenced them: Venom. Anyway, for such purposes, a cover of Celtic Frost's legendary number "Circle of the Tyrants" could have been another great choice.

That said, the performance in this release is somehow good, but the inconsistencies did not help the band. Moreover, Maniac's vocals are not the most ideal for this release. Instead, it was regrettable for the band not joining Dead before, since his vocals were more fittable for an album of this kind. Mayhem's debut EP represents a good beginning for those interested in understanding the most relevant elements in the second wave black metal. Unfortunately, the band was affected by a bloody tragic set of events (e.g., Euronymous being murdered, Dead's suicide, etc.) marked the band thereafter. Therefore, the historical importance of this album should not be ignored.

The Worship of False Idols - 38%

tidalforce79, December 22nd, 2017

Mayhem, the band that lives in infamy, will always be remembered for antics over music. No other band I can think of held so much influence with so little material, for so great a time. Had Dead not committed suicide, perhaps the band might have released more material. One could say; however, the fact one member decided to murder the other held the band back. Yes, Mayhem are well known-even worshipped in the metal circle.

Deathcrush is said to be the “revolutionary” first EP, that helped birth the black metal scene (along with Bathory). For the life of me, I cannot figure out why fans hold this album in such high esteem. From start to finish, this album is a shit show of half-baked ideas and technical inadequacy. Unlike some bands who have technicality, but lack song writing Mayhem displays neither on this album. Venom were horrible musicians, but wrote some pretty good songs-as did Hellhammer. Mayhem can make no such claim.

Considering the band had a limited budget, the production can be forgiven. In fact, it’s not terrible considering the financial limitations. One cannot help but appreciate the band’s enthusiasm on Deathcrush either, but unfortunately, this does little to help the music. Perhaps Mayhem should have waited a little longer to release any of their work until they had tightened up their musicianship and found a decent vocalist.

This brings us to the first problem: Maniac. There have been scores of awful metal vocalists over the years, but Maniac ranks among the worst. His tortured screams distract from all other, albeit limited, aspects of the music. Case in point: the title track. The song begins with a pretty solid riff, both slightly catchy and skull crushing; however, the suck factor rears it’s ugly head the moment the vocals begin. The second vocalist Messiah is not great, but at least he doesn’t completely destroy the songs. Lyrically speaking, this album is complete garbage. Thankfully, you cannot understand most of what is coming out of Maniac’s mouth.

Euronymous seems to be on the verge of developing talent. Listening to Mayhem’s later work, it becomes apparent that while not super technical, Euronymous had a certain charm to his style. On Deathcrush, the genesis of such a style can be seen. The riff work is actually decent and fairly unique, if not overly simplistic. Nothing can really be said about the drumming, save for the fact that, mercifully, blast beats had not become the norm at the point the album was recorded.

Pure Fucking Armageddon and (weird) Manheim are the two highlights on the EP. Both songs appeal to the ear for different reasons. Neither can be considered fantastic, but they help keep the album slightly above horrid. Along with the occasional, decent riff, the EP is not a complete waste of time. If a person pays more than a couple bucks for Deathcrush; however, it is a waste of money.

Still Crushing 30 Years Later - 90%

The Disposable Hero, August 17th, 2017

Mayhem is one of those bands that, to the ones in the know, really requires no introduction. One of the founders of Norwegian black metal, it and its sound were pivotal in the transition between early first-wave black metal and the second wave that came to dominate early 90s underground metal in Scandinavia and elsewhere. In this grand scheme, the Deathcrush EP played by no means a small part. Released in 1987, it’s one of the earliest black metal releases by a band not named Bathory, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, or Venom, and because of this, its impact cannot be understated.

The music contained here is raw. And I mean raw. The production is minimal, the recording is lo-fi, the guitar tone is basically non-existent, the drums are warlike and frenzied, the vocals are howled to the maximum, the lyrics are basic and gore-obsessed. This is extreme extreme metal. This isn’t a release for the uninitiated. It’s gruesome, it’s visceral, it’s brutal, it’s downright evil. Where earlier bands flirted with a Satanic image and gruesome lyrics for their edgy appeal and played music that was basically thrash metal turned to 11, Mayhem look and sound like they sincerely feel the things they’re screaming about. And that sincerity might actually hurt them a bit.

The lyrics, as I’ve said, are gory. Really gory. But they’re also really basic. This combination makes them come off, on paper, as really cartoonish and rather silly. I mean, yeah, they’re gruesome and to someone who isn’t used to this type of lyrical imagery, they could be rather disturbing. But, when that initial shock wears off, you start to see that the lyrics are kind of corny. The music is intensity defined, there is no question about that. And in its early days, extreme metal was all about intensity, but there’s no denying that the lyrical aspect of this era of death and black metal was pretty amateurish compared to what would later be done in the 90s and beyond.

And let’s talk about the beyond. Black metal, as it’s come to be known, doesn’t really sound like this anymore. Thanks to the famously rampant branching off of metal subgenres, black metal is quite a diverse genre with a sound palette that goes beyond “tremolo pick at 300 bmp with a blast beat behind you while you screech about Satan or winter for three or four minutes”. And this diversity is something that I think is pretty well explored, if only on a rudimentary level, on this EP with the instrumentals. The opener Silvester Anfang sets up the album with almost two minutes of what is essentially a drum solo, with warlike tribal drums droning. At this point in the EP, if you knew nothing about it or the band, then it might be forgiveable for you to not know what it is you were about to listen to before the title track started. In that way, it kind of disarms you to the barrage that is the rest of the EP. Also of note is (Weird) Manheim, which works similarly, coming before the insane Pure Fucking Armageddon, with its keyboard playing giving a sort of spooky atmosphere before the assault. Also within the regular songs, there is a sense of dynamics, even if it’s only with the tempo. Deathcrush and Pure Fucking Armageddon manage to maintain intensity and drive even when slowing down, and Necrolust has a brief section in the middle where the song actually speeds up and becomes more intense and energetic. And that’s ultimately where the strengths of the release lie: energy and intensity, with a touch of variety.

Blistering Debut EP - 90%

KultovSet666, May 25th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2009, 12" vinyl, Back on Black (Limited edition, Gatefold, Clear vinyl, Reissue)

When I first listened to the debut EP "Deathcrush" by Mayhem, I wasn't overly impressed, nor did I get the hype. That being said, given time and repeated listens, the album will really start to grow on the listener. This is a blistering album and one that is hard to categorize. The album has elements of the first wave of black metal, death metal, and even thrash metal. One of the better ways I can think to describe this EP would be early Venom with the intensity turned up to max.

One of the criticisms of this album that a person will see over and over is that the production is rough and it is indeed rough. However, in this case, the rough lo-fi production works to Mayhem's favor and greatly adds intensity to the songs that might be missing with a more polished sound. If I had one critique of Mayhem's superb "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas," it would be that the album is just a bit too polished and clean. I'm not saying that album needs Deathcrush production, but Mayhem's raw "Live in Leipzig" shows what some of those songs sound like with a much less polished finish.

Back to Deathcrush, this album starts off with the strange and haunting "Silvester Anfang" and then launches into the catchy and intense "Deathcrush" title track. There is absolutely no let up as "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" pounds the listener and leaves them convinced of Mayhem's unrelenting brand of extreme metal. These two tracks (w/ Pure Armageddon) really stand out from other extreme metal from the time and showcase the hunger Mayhem had to be the most intense band around. Unfortunately, the Venom cover (if it can be called that) "Witching Hour" is intense, but in a sloppy way. This track, in my opinion, is the weakest one on the EP. That being said, the following track "Necrolust" features catchy/brutal guitar riffing that gets the EP back on track and is probably my favorite track on the EP. To close out the EP, we have the haunting instrumental "(Weird) Manheim" combined (on the vinyl version I have) with the unrelenting "Pure Fucking Armageddon." With Pure Fucking Armageddon it is like Mayhem wanting to make the most brutal and intense track of the time and it is certainly hard to argue against this track achieving that goal!

In conclusion, this is one of the most intense extreme metal releases of the 80s and of Mayhem's career. The lo-fi adds to that intensity and fits perfectly with the vocal performances of Messiah and Maniac. What is amazing is just how well this album still holds up and how brutal it still is. When it comes to Mayhem's career, this album is every bit as essential as DMDS and Live in Leipzig. If you are a fan of the 80s extreme metal scene and the lo-fi production other releases from this era, this EP is absolutely essential.

Black metal perfection - 100%

Demiror_Moritur, January 28th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, Deathlike Silence Productions

As opposed to some, I am not going to write about the history of the infamous band behind this masterpiece itself, since I am sure those looking for a review of this classic are already aware of all the craziness which took place during the few years following the release of this glorious EP.

I will have to say though, Euronymous (or should I say "Deathsaw" here) was one of the most creative, innovative (maybe even a tad bit crazy) personalities in the black metal genre ever, and I will indeed mention I believe his satanic, murderous, evil persona helped spawn both this release and subsequent releases by other bands in the early Norwegian black metal scene which followed this one as well. Everyone in the scene ended up being influenced by both his style and his personal beliefs in one way or another, going as far as to change their musical style after being introduced to him and his dark, satanic "world" (compare the very first Darkthrone releases to those they released when Euronymous was in his prime). I hate with a passion how people nowadays tend to act as if Mayhem/Euronymous never even existed or influenced anyone; please.

That being said, I will now attempt to solely focus on the havoc that is the "music" contained in this EP itself as much as I am able to. This is basically the direct equivalent to a sonic, full-power assault on all who dare listen to this. I am not really even trying to exaggerate the rawness of this, but raw it is indeed. The guitar sound is akin to an actual chainsaw (get "Deathsaw" now?), the drums sound like firing heavy machine guns (Manheim "Hellhammers", anyone?), and the vocals, performed by Maniac (here "Gutpuking") and Messiah ("Iron Lungs", session) are just plain insanity. It takes a while to figure out what the hell (ha, get it) they are even trying to say, even if you're reading the lyrics while listening to the album, but when you do, you will surely understand why the band gained its notorious infamy; well, at least partly.

Recorded at Creative Studios, Kolbotn, Norway, during February/March 1987, this record is the essence of a destructive, brutal, all-out battle. The songs on this EP are heavy, dark, strong, disgusting, and crushing. In fact, "Chainsaw Gutsfuck", has been rated on occasion as having some of the most gruesome lyrics of all music.

Overall, this release is the sole essence of black metal, Norwegian or not. It embodies so well everything that would later become standard to the genre in such a refreshing, yet stale, shocking, yet repetitive, refreshing, yet abrasive, manner. From the hellishly fast drumming to the infernal shrieks which seem to pour out of an abandoned, lost soul; from the macabre gory lyrics to the extreme imagery; you name it: anything black metal is probably represented here in one way or another.

I bought a copy of the DSP 1993 issue of the EP on a trip I made to Oslo at Neseblöd Records, the current shop standing where the old Euronymous' shop Helvete used to be located at back when the Black Circle was a thing. Please forgive if this review were to be fraught with immature nostalgia in the slightest, for it was not intended, but probably still deserved.

I recommend every black metal fan to avidly look for a copy of "Deathcrush", there is nothing quite like playing it loudly while your soul is showered away by continuous blast beats and your flesh is crippled by the piercing vocals. All hail Euronymous!

Oh, I forgot. The cover on this thing is a picture of two cut-off hands on exhibition in Mauritania. Cheers.

Ten of the best metal albums of all time - Part 2 - 100%

droneriot, November 30th, 2014

In an ideal world, no list of best metal records of all time should go without a prominent mention of Mayhem's debut mini-album, because its overwhelming quality is not a subjective impression but an objective fact. A record of this magnitude hadn't happened in its field until the point it was released, and it certainly was never reached in quality and impact, neither by the band itself nor the thousands that followed. Like an alignment of all eight planets in the solar system in one straight line, this record is one of the rarest of occurances where just the right elements were combined by just the right people in just the right way at just the right time. If perfection in black metal had a name, Deathcrush would be it.

There is something uniquely feral about this mini-album, as if the musicians involved had been set out into the wild at early childhood with a set of musical instruments, and this record was the result of their channelling the lifeforce of the rugged Norwegian landscapes and the essence of the hardships endured trying to survive in such an unforgiving environment on next to nothing with only their primal instincts and an iron will to endure as tools at their disposal. This record typifies the strength of character necessary to survive in the Norwegian outback far away from civilisation far more than any release made by a Norwegian band in the 1990s or later, because it is so much more primitive in nature, and much more in tune with just how inhospitable Norway is away from human settlements.

And they really couldn't have picked a better introduction for the savagery they would unleash. "Silvester Anfang", as many of you know, is a piece by experimental/noise music pioneer and former Tangerine Dream member Conrad Schnitzler, who was contacted by the band for an introduction, and submitted this piece as his unique interpretation of the type of music they play on this mini-album. The result not only emphasises the feral nature of the music as a whole, but gives it a character far darker than the imagery I painted in my previous paragraph, as if this is not the work of human children set out in the deep forests for the entirety of their lifetime, but orcs from a fantasy realm such as Tolkien's, or, far more accurately, Morlocks from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, living in the bowels of the Earth as the most brutal of savages, feasting on the flesh of their fair counterparts that once were their fellow human beings.

The thought of feral Norwegians recording a mini-album with no human contact prior, with the savagery of Morlocks, it gives me the chills, and so does the music found on this release. There is no other drummer in metal who's drumming I can describe as "tribal" as Manheim's, like the pounding in a death ritual of some rainforest tribe on Borneo. There's a certain marginally off-beat quality to it that makes it sound more like a group of individuals playing one part of the kit each rather than one person playing the kit alone. This tribal feeling is amplified by the heavy use of the toms, as well as the quality of the drum recording which has a strong feel of being done in a dense forest in the middle of nowhere. This really sets the tone for the feeling I described in earlier paragraphs, and it perhaps one of the defining characteristics of this record.

It is perhaps most fitting that the bass sounds like a form of war drum itself, having a quality more pounding and percussive than you would expect from a string instrument. Rather than a backing provider of melody as you'd find on any regular metal album around the same time in history, it punches the rhythms through your eardrums as if the instrument of a great orc army aiming to pound fear into the hearts of their enemies on the eve of battle.

The guitars themselves provide all the melody, and they are likely the element of the music most in tune with the analogy of feral children left deep in the forest with only a musical instrument and nothing other but their wits to survive. They grind at you like both the anguish felt by being abandoned and not knowing whether or not you'd survive each new day, and the triumph of having overcome this challenge. They are more than mere metal riffs, they are raw expressions of that raw, feral anger felt by such an abandoned child, and the strength of character it has built through mastering this most hostile of environments. In such a way, they are the most true metal riffs ever written, the most honest, the most brutal, the most unforgiving, and the most triumphant.

Vocally we are treated to shrieks and howls which round off the whole experience. Almost like an afterthought, they integrate smoothly into the inhuman inferno unleashed by the instruments they are backing. Like celebrations of the glory of the ritual performed at the hands of these inhuman creatures. It is the combination of all these elements into one grand performance that really matters. Something that transcends anything civilised, anything with the classic understanding of trained musicians in a disciplined environment. This is how music today may sound if all higher culture had never came to exist, and merely the technology for musical instruments had advanced. Music that forgets the last thousands of years of musical development and instead celebrates a ritual of the utmost primitive, and thereby utmost primal.

Of the vague top ten in this review series, this is easily a contender for the top spot. One of the brightest (or darkest) beacons of what metal music is capable.


--- Originally written for http://droneriot.blogspot.com

Influential - 100%

Spatupon, December 29th, 2013

What a significant event in black metal history, is this work of pure crushing darkness, where hateful sentiments are promoted and evil is put on a pedestal for everyone to admire. The genius of those four (mainly) Norwegian maniacs can be admired during every single second of this record.

Norway has been the cradle of many evil creations, such as Mayhem, Immortal, Satyricon, Emperor and the list never seems to end. Spawned by an unforgiving climate of freezing cold weather and depressingly long nights, this album comes as a blow to the inexperienced listener whose sole reason for listening this album is to kill some time while waiting for his mum to cook him dinner.

This EP is not for the weak and the fragile. After listening to this masterpiece your life will never be the same again. The lyrics just spit misanthropic hate, not just teenage cynicism. The song "Necrolust" encapsulates my previous argument in around three minutes.

Okay, so the instrumentation overall was quite simple but simply dark and depressing, which would remain a trademark for Mayhem throughout most of their history. Simplicity is often misjudged as mediocrity but this album couldn't prove such statement more wrong. The song "(Weird) Manheim" starts out with a haunting, droning piano passage, which soon turns to a siege of angry pounding drums, fast unforgiving riffs, loud screeching vocals and surprisingly loud bass. Such an impressive feat in an otherwise mostly mundane genre cannot be quite considered as mediocre.

The song "Deathcrush" contains everything that this EP contains in a nutshell, providing the listener with three minutes of pure mentally deranged musical creation which causes the listener to question the metal health of the musicians behind this. Another song, which puts the question of whether the musicians behind this EP are sane or not back on the table, is the outro, one of the most ironic experiments which have been done throughout human history. The song contains quite sugar coated lyrics, hoping that the listener is happy and that's when the irony comes in. After listening to such a record the listener simply can't feel happy, unless he lacks emotions or he's a total nihilist.

The production on this one is quite muddy which is a good thing due to the nature of the content which wouldn't sound natural if the production would have been more clear. One thing which I totally despise though, is their failed attempt in covering Venom's "Witching Hour". Rather than an actual song, it sounds more like a block of noise which is simply incompatible with the rest of the album. Another thing which might not be as annoying as the previous con mentioned, is the superficiality behind the lyrics. Sure, they're brutal and very hateful but that's as far as it goes. The only challenge that it provides to the listener is to imagine certain scenes depicted in certain songs such as "Chainsaw Gutsfuck".

I think that most people who enjoy listening to the fanatical genre of black metal have already acquainted themselves with this release since it's considered to be an essential among most of the die-hard fans out there. I have to warn you all, this not for the faint of heart since the musicians will try to pull out all the stops to get you snowed under with pure, mentally depraved music which will surely change your nature after a couple of listens. One thing that I'm sure of, is that black metal as we know it today and quite possibly, brutal death metal, wouldn't have been constituted by the same elements we're all fond of nowadays, if this release never existed.

Hell is the mortar, and hatred the pestle - 93%

autothrall, November 7th, 2011

To deny the influence of Deathcrush upon the sum of second wave (and beyond) black metal worldwide would be like denying Elvis Presley's influence on the pompadour. It would prove too difficult to imagine one with the other, and black metal, like the vintage 50s haircut, just wouldn't be as cool without its fashionable progenitor. Now, I'm not saying that Mayhem had the 'first' black metal record on their hands with this, since bands like Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory had aesthetically beaten them to the punch there, but I think as far as most of that which would follow, this is an undeniable inspiration, the original schoolyard bully that whipped its students into a frenzy of blasphemy that has yet to subside. Deathcrush does embody all of the hostility and ugliness that the niche was intended for, and does it damnably well despite any flaws in its production or death of complexity in its crude songwriting.

If, for me, this EP is less than perfect, I can't really attribute the drawbacks to the Mayhem material itself. "Deathcrush" is a disgustingly excellent piece, with its punk and speed metal clamor of dire grooves and blasted dissension. Necrobutcher's bass-lines just ooze ominously from the pores of the drums and guitar, and Maniac is far too true to his stage name, perhaps the wildest of rasping metal vocalists to the EP's date and time. Honestly, I can think of only one that could compare, Quorthon himself, and Maniac STILL feels more bloody. Then there are the pair of 'necrophiliac' anthems: "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" with it's slower paced, bass-driven wrath, and its sibling "Necrolust", which starts at a similar speed but then picks up into raw, chaotic sewage so goddamn calamitous that it's a wonder Maniac can still ride atop its primordial mass. Like some ancient jockey who scored himself a woolly mammoth, its flanks pocked by spears and their resultant viscera. Then, of course, there is "Pure Fucking Armageddon", which explodes out of its opening bass-warp and feedback into a riff that makes you want to mosh the fucking devil under the dirt. Those first vocal lines (by Messiah) are among the more menacing I've ever heard in the whole genre...

But where Deathcrush threatens to dissemble is in its balance of entrails wrenching black metal with the remainder of its content. "Silvester Anfang", a marching percussive intro which the band scored out of correspondence with electronica legend Conrad Schnitzler of Tangerine Dream, might function as a dire portent of cadence, but it really doesn't flow into the title track, and I can't help but feel that something more effectively transitory would have just KILLED this motherfucker. The cover of Venom's Witching Hour (Welcome to Hell, 1981) is brutal and messy enough to fit in with their original tunes, but I found myself caring for nothing more than the vocals, through which Maniac manages to make Cronos seem like Tony Bennett by comparison. Also, "(Weird) Manheim", while a somewhat creepy intro piece with warped piano effects, just doesn't flow for me into "Pure Fucking Armageddon".

These ideas of using martial ambient and scary acoustic sounds to flesh out and diversify the track list are certainly influential, and it became a tradition for black metal bands to utilize the 'intros' with synthesized and orchestrated keys and strings, but here on Deathcrush they just don't work for me all that much. Had this been constrained to just the four original metal tunes, I'd find it difficult to find any fault to it. The riffs might not all be memorable, but the general atmosphere of Mayhem was fucking infallible, and the songs, despite their innate, rough and tumble amateur transitional ability, are all classics in their own right...still some of my favorites from this particular band.

I think it's also important to distinguish that Deathcrush, while archetypal for so many other acts to follow, is not necessarily prototypical to Mayhem. This is not as structured as De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas by a long shot, nor is the musicianship and experimentation anywhere in range of their later works like Chimera or Ordo ad Chao. In fact, outside of the intros, this really isn't experimental whatsoever. These songs are about the attitude. The filth. Pissing in the cereal of all who would welcome offense. The lyrics are perverse, especially for the corpse copulation hymns "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" and "Necrolust". These offer a distinctly death metal aesthetic to the recording, and yet that too was a formative genre at this point. Cannibal Corpse hadn't even got out their first full-length yet. Certainly no "Meat Hook Sodomy" or "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt" on the public conscience in 1987. We were all still shocked by Slayer.

Judging such an indisputably important record as this one is not easy. For one, I actually admire that the band were big enough Tangerine Dream fans to enlist Conrad to contribute the intro. What an honor that must have been! But as far as "Silvester Anfang" itself, I fail to see what it adds to the record outside of maybe a brief, 'military' component that jives with the title (which conjures images of tanks, certainly). "(Weird) Manheim" I could just do without, and had these two pieces been omitted or replaced with something more fitting or abusively flush with the ensuing hellfire, I might rank Deathcrush a little higher. Regardless of this minor nitpicking, the record is still a classic, and though I like all of their later full-length efforts to varying degrees, I could never justly prioritize any of them over this martyr of moral corrosion. I mean, I love Attila and all, but really...Maniac...better than Elvis.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Unappreciated First-Wave Black Metal - 100%

InLeagueWithSanta, August 4th, 2011

Mayhem gets a lot more flak than they deserve, it seems that a lot of individuals think the band only gets attention because of the particular incidents surrounding its band members. However, the group was by no means untalented, and the music (at least the first few releases) slays.

Deathcrush, their first EP, is a clear example of how much influence Mayhem took from groups like Celtic Frost, Bathory, Venom, etc. It's not the black metal that most would recognize -- that sound wouldn't really come into play until DMDS, many years later. This release is 18 and a half minutes of no-holds-barred blackened thrashy metal, but a lot fits into that short length of time.

This is not the "classic" Mayhem lineup. At this time, there was no Dead or Hellhammer. The original drummer, Manheim, still sat behind the skins, and Mayhem was still using two "session" vocalists. Euro and Necro rounded out the rest of the group for this release, and they do not disappoint.

So where to begin? The first track, "Silvester Anfang," is an intro piece borrowed from Conrad Schnitzler of Tangerine Dream, showing a level of avant-garde. The martial electronic drumming creates a sense of forboding, leading the listener to press on.

The title track is up next. Killer riffing, killer thrashy breaks, and what sounds like blasting from time to time. The lyrical matter is gruesome, like a few of the other songs on here. Maniac, despite all the hating for later works, is on top of his game here vocally

Chainsaw Gutsfuck needs no introduction. Gruesome lyrics by far. Killer bass intro, which really leads to a mid-paced groove underneath Maniac's (admittedly easier to decipher) spitting out of unholy lines. Listen to the opening drum beat -- more of the martial tendencies we saw in the intro track, and that particular beat comes up before the third verse(?). About 2:40 in, the fast thrashy break kicks in, replete with blasting, and what sounds like a quick maniacal (see what I did there?) solo by Euronymous. As quickly as it starts, we go back into the groove, where the song ends. This track is one of the heavier of the album, and a morbid pleasure to listen to.

The next track, Witching Hour, is a cover by some obscure English group named Venom. As far as covers go, they can be either hit or miss, you can either ape the original artist completely, or put your own spin on it. When you put this track on, hold on to your balls. After some ominous bass tones, the band absolutely tear into the track, I would say twice as fast as the original. But what makes this track particularly memorable is the use of Messiah on vocals. Messiah, in my opinion, was terribly underused on this album. While Maniac seems content to scream to his heart's desire, Messiah's vocals seem to take inspiration from Sodom and/or Celtic Frost (including the uh's). The lyrics are spat out rapid-fire, but always intelligible. Maniac makes a few brief appearances here, mostly providing screams. There is another quick solo in the middle of the song, but the song's speed is the more important part.

Necrolust was a song I always overlooked. A few more listens makes me wonder why I didn't think of it more. Heavy, with more mid-paced riffing, and the thrash elements are more prounounced -- I could see a group like Slayer or Megadeth covering this with ease. Maniac's singing is a lot more understandable here, with rapid-fire delivery reminiscent of the previous song. Once again, thrashy breaks and absolutely insane drumming from Manheim. The longest track on the album, but Mayhem fills up the time with memorable moments, including another atonal frantic solo by Euro.

The next two tracks would best be combined into one, and are in the copy I have. (Weird) Manheim is another ominous little instrumental, which sounds like either bass and piano or just piano. Like its name would suggest, it is a weird little ditty, but leads seamlessly into the next and final track (on some releases). Pure Fuckin' Armageddon is a short (2 minutes or so) tour de force of black thrash. Messiah returns to the microphone for this track, Euronymous shreds, Necro is somewhere in the mix, and Manheim alternates flawlessly between mid-paced grooving and primitive (but effective) blasting. Heavy, quick, and destructive. Still a classic, even after all these years.

There is an outro on some copies, which I have only heard on YouTube. It shows that Mayhem has a sense of humor, and isn't really afraid not to take themselves seriously. And really, early Mayhem was all about not taking themselves seriously, so this is a good fit.

The unsung hero of this album is Necrobutcher. Not the drunken buffoon we know and love from modern times, this is his album to shine, providing a solid foundation for Euronymous' riffs and Manheim's absolute crushing drumming.

A lot of "what-ifs" can be asked after listening to this album, but to me, this is still one of the heaviest of its time, and its influence can still be heard today.

10/10

Mayhem- Deathcrush - 0%

danbedrosian, May 30th, 2011

I don't need to give a history lesson on Mayhem. Any metalhead worthy of his title knows about the infamous Mayhem. The main issue about this band, and this EP, is fanboyism. Are fan boys really going to defend their favorite band due to favoritism or defend it because it's good? Well, let's hope it's favoritism, because Deathcrush sucks.

The vocals might be the most atrocious part about this album. Well, the guitars may be equally matched with that title. The vocals are a bunch of screams, so it's not really singing anyway. Had I not been looking at the lyrics I would've had no clue that words were supposed to be sung. The first time I ever heard "Chainsaw Gutsfuck", which came on randomly a few years back when I was listening to music, I didn't know words were supposed to be there. I thought it was gonna be intense, but I sat there thinking "What the hell was that shit?". Four years pass from that day and I finally found out they were trying to say something. I can only slightly bare "Pure Fucking Armageddon" since it's the only song were those god awful screams aren't used, but that doesn't make those vocals any better.

The lyrics on Deathcrush are very weak. For example, "Bleed down to the fucking core, You're going down for fucking more, Screw your slimy guts, Driving me fucking nuts", that's from "Chainsaw Gutsfuck". I don't normally point out weak lyrics, but this EP is full of them so I felt it was necessary. The overuse of "fucking" just shows how uncreative it is to have written this song. Also, rhyming "guts" with "nuts" is very kindergarten and in a black metal song a line using the phrase "Driving me fucking nuts" just doesn't fit... at all. Or how about: "A life that soon won't be"? There's more they could've done than to use that bad line. Then we have some lyrics that try to sound extreme, which is pretty much the whole album. They use adjective like slimy to describe a grave. That makes as much sense as the line "My brain is driving me insane". Some of the content in the lyrics has been done before. The whole necrophilia thing was never "hardcore" and never will be. The whole EP may have been better if Mayhem worked more on the lyrics. It seems like other bands had no issue writing more grotesque lyrics than Mayhem.

The instrumentation is pretty absolute shit. The drums are irrelevant to the whole mix. It sounds similar to that of a child having a tantrum whilst banging on anything around them with drum sticks. The guitar is, well, I have no clue. I understand the whole small-time band poor-recording quality issue, but honestly the quality wasn't all that bad yet the guitar still sounded like gargled shit. I have no clue what Euronymous was doing but it sounded like he was just hitting anything on half the tracks. The only exceptions are "Silvester Anfang", when he doesn't even play, and "(Weird) Manheim", the only good track on the album; note that "(Weird) Manheim" is an instrumental track. When Euronymous is actually hitting something like on "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" it isn't all that impressive. The stuff played is pretty repetitive too. The solos, I think there's at least one or two, are terrible from what little you hear of them. The solos sound shoved to the back of the mix along with the bass. It does little to surprise me that the bass is in the back. It's pretty common.

The song structures on Deathcrush are very simplistic. It follows a verse-chorus-verse structure almost the whole EP. The band does, unnecessarily, stop the playing for a second or two just to play something faster. They do this a lot and it's not innovative nor does it make wanna prepare my headbang. It shows when they really ran out of creativity. Some bands can make simplicity and simple structures work, but Mayhem could't do that here.

I'm not too certain whether or not there was supposed to be an atmosphere or mood on this EP. It seems too much of a complex idea for Mayhem at this point in their career.

It's a good thing Mayhem picked up the animal heads on posts, throwing raw meat into the crowd, a series of dead band mates, and other various shanannigans because there's no way this could've propelled such an infamy. Well, maybe an infamy of shit had they kept quality dumps like this churning out every year. Despite all fanboyism, which I thought would've actually been good this time, proved wrong. It seems the history of the band seems to shine more than this EP.

The revolution begins here - 95%

overkill666, April 17th, 2009

The year is 1987, and the music scene is just beginning to roar in Norway. A small but legitimate band named Mayhem had sprung up, inspired by many NWOBHM and thrash metal bands. The demos they had produced had only become of interest in the small trading world, but this ep is really what brought Mayhem into the spotlight. Before the landmark 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas', there was Deathcrush.

Deathcrush is a very appropriate name for such a release. The 'sound' of the album is indeed a deathcrush to your ears, but in all a pleasurable one. After the ominous 'Silvester Anfang' introduction clip (which is a very good introduction - like a march to war), the first track to crush you happens to be Deathcrush. This approach to black metal should be expanded on by more bands because it simply catchy, heavy, and in a sense fun. The riff work is fast and made up of a lot simplistic cords, but it doesn't take away from the music. It reminds me of a hardcore punk approach at metal. Assuming you misunderstand what I mean, the riffs are simple but the emotion and creativity from the musicians amplifies the sound of what they are playing. 'Chainsaw Gutsfuck' is a great song, but is a prime example of this. There's a lot of repetition and not a whole lot to the writing, but I headbang to it nonetheless. You can really hear the Venom influence in the music, just portrayed in a very primitive way. 'Witching Hour' (which is a Venom cover itself), and the song 'Necrolust' are great examples. They are really thrashy, stepping away from the overall black metal sound that early Mayhem carried.

Onwards from the six string sounds, we have Necrobutcher on the bass. He's actually an underrated bassist, as his work is really good. Not only is his writing good, but whatever distortion he uses on this EP is fantastic. The over distortion really makes his bass sound ten times as heavy as a clean bass would sound. Plus, his bass sticks out in the mix and is very audible. Overall, this release wouldn't be the same without the bass tracks. Manheim is also a very prominent member on this release, as the drummer. His beats are mainly blast beats but with many fills throughout each song that sound amazing. Plus, he has his own song, (Weird) Manheim. After all of the musical descriptions, you have to mention the infamous Maniac, and the lesser heard Messiah. I'm not a big fan of Maniac, but I must say his vocal work fits the style that Mayhem was playing at the time. So, I have to say that Maniac positively effected the outcome of Deathcrush. Though, I am a big fan of Messiah, especially on 'Witching Hour'. Both of them were powerful vocalists, but Messiah should have had more prominence in the music.

Though, there are a few extra perks on the side with the Deathcrush ep. The clips 'Silvester Anfang', as well as the introduction to '(Weird) Manheim' are special sounds in addition to the music. 'Silvester Anfang' reminds me of the snare drum the soldiers would play as they marched to war. '(Weird) Manheim' has an introduction that sounds creepy, ominous, and is probably the reason they added weird to the title. It sounds like it could have been from a horror movie, or something of that sort. Also, the lyrics are intense and bring some brutal and violent images to your head. 'Chainsaw Gutsfuck' reminds me of something a brutal death metal band of today would write, possibly Digested Flesh or Amputated Genitals. Here's lyrics from 'Chainsaw Gutsfuck' to prove my point:

"Bleed down to the fucking core
You're going down for fucking more
Screw your slimy guts
Driving me fucking nuts!

Chainsaw in my bleeding hands
As I start to cut you in two
Your guts are steaming out
And I just love the sight!

Maggots crawling in her cunt
I just love to lick that shit
Bury you in a slimy grave
You will rot forever there!"

...and there it is. Those are some 'fun' lyrics, aren't they?

Well, I'm definitely not the first person to review this album, but I am one of many telling you to check it out. It's the beginning of the history of Mayhem, and a worthy sampling for black metal fans to hear. Anyone interested in primal, thrashy riffs with maniac screeches, this will intrigue you. Hell, some of you might even chose to look into for the Venom cover, that sure swayed me.

Still needed to improve... - 55%

master_of_reality, November 1st, 2008

After some (forgettable) demos, Mayhem was going to record their first EP. They were growing as a band... in terms of popularity, because few things had changed since their awful demos. Yes, they sound "better", a little more compact and serious as a band, but there's anyhting else than evil lyrics and music? The answer is a resounding no.


The intro, Silvester Angfang, is like a military march, and as a military march, is goddamn repetitive to the level of being annoying. Two minutes were too much for it, if only they used the half of this song, my patience wouldn't ran out so easily. Deathcrush, the real first song, has a good riff, yes, but after that, the mixture between that guitar, some unheardable vocals and erratic blast beats turn the song into a disaster. Chainsaw Gutsfuck has a nice riff, truly dark atmospheres, but some annoying vocals which are the biggest problem of the EP. But in spite of that, the song is the best of the album for me.


The cover of Venom's Witching Hour is something really weird. If you said "what a mess!" while listening to the previous songs, this one will made you thinking seriously about the idea of throwing this EP to the garbage can. Seriously, a song was a classic of NWOBHM is now destroyed by some Norwegian kids who pretend to be "evil"... The next, Necrolust, is another average piece of "evil death metal", with nothing extremely interesting. Besides, this is one of the most repeated songs of the band's demos/ep's/splits/whatever. (Weird) Manheim is another interesting piece which shows us some ability to get dark atmospheres done right (they only needed more practice...), with a mysterious bass guitar playing some monotone notes. Pure Fucking Armageddon is just another mess, although they had done much better things with this song live. It has an interesting thrash metal riff, but nothing special.


Well, that's all. This EP is a collection of the band's early work, so it hasn't anything new, with the exception of its annoying intro. Mayhem should thank all the media hype around them in the early nineties, because a band like this (with an urgent need of maturity and rehersals) would hardly succeed in "normal" conditions.

name of the Ep describes it better than I could - 99%

PatientZero, June 28th, 2008

The strange and annoying opening track that is ‘Silvester Anfang’ is no way to introduce any metal album, let alone this one. Comprised of a weird drum beat and odd, unfitting keyboards, you want to press the ‘next’ button like you’re swatting a fly. Thankfully, it lasts only 1:57 before giving way to what needs no musical introduction, rather a half-hour of praying to your God to pardon what you’re about to do. Deathcrush was released in 1986 and it’s hard to think exactly where Mayhem’s style of music came from. Fast, ferocious and primitive guitars that sound like chainsaws; high-pitched shrieks; the bass distorted, prominent and every bit as evil as the guitars and the frantic drumming combine to create a sound that had never been heard before and has rarely been heard since. The riffs are of indescribable wickedness: never has such an ominous atmosphere been so effectively constructed in such simplistic music.

Vocals tend to be a pretty negligible aspect of black metal, in that they’re mostly the same and tend to blend in with the background. That is not the case on Deathcrush: the vocals are as good as any other aspect of the music, that is, they are perfect. Mayhem were one of the first to use this style of high-pitched shrieking, which would later be used by the likes of Bestial Summoning, Nepenthe and Burzum. They convincingly pull off an insane vibe that many bands over the years have aimed for (most falling short of it). Lyrically, Mayhem focuses on death, gore and Satan, a combination that was not that cheesy at the time and even now amounts to good, unhealthy fun. Really, how can you not love a song name like ‘Chainsaw Gutsfuck’?

The punk-like attitude of the band, a “you don’t like our music? Fuck you we don’t care!” attitude is great and the result is an EP that’s as aggressive as anything before or since. When you look at the history of black metal, it gets a bit sketchy when you dig back past 1985, but Mayhem can honestly be said to have presented the most pure black metal up to about 1990. There is nothing else you could want in an EP, except perhaps for it to be longer. This is the be-all and end-all of black metal; it is everything that the genre ever aspired to be, everything that the genre can ever achieve, and was released a good 5 or 6 years before the black metal movement really kicked off. Deathcrush is an absolutely essential EP for any metalhead, or anybody interested in hearing the birth of a genre.

The aggression versus quality dichotomy - 66%

hells_unicorn, March 9th, 2008

“Deathcrush” is an extreme listen, there is no debate there. The level of systemic chaos that is exhibited at times on here crosses the threshold between being lethal and being outright ridiculous. I can only begin to imagine how people reacted to it when it first started to be circulated, which I’m sure was comparable to the reaction that people had to Black Sabbath’s first album or Alice Cooper’s first few live gigs playing to a bunch of flower worshiping hippies. But there seems to be a good deal more to this than the extremity of the sound/noise ratio.

Mayhem’s somewhat auspicious admiration of Conrad Schnitzler is very telling of the peculiar relationship that the genre they helped pioneer has with electronic and minimalist music. Perhaps my own dislike of many of the black metal genre’s offerings stems from my inability to enjoy about 90% of minimalist music, let alone its modern tape splicing brethren such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Henry. Nonetheless, the riff approach to thrash metal has some similarities to the minimalist sound, although most of my preferred thrash acts don’t dwell upon one riff for most of a song.

There is some really great music just itching to come out of several of these songs, particularly the intro material that precedes the mad mix of blast beats and tremolo picked chords. The intro to “Deathcrush” is a solid mid-paced thrash riff that could please NWOBHM and Slayer fans alike. “Necrolust” is wild enough to make S.O.D. wince, yet still maintains a fair amount of organization. And of course the famed “Pure Fucking Armageddon” lives up to it’s name, basically a crazy barrage of speed and incoherent screams preceded by a somewhat Iron Maiden meets Pink Floyd instrumental prelude in “(Weird) Manheim”. (I have the version where the two are combined)

Despite all this, there are some really serious flaws that drag this into the mud really fast. Although the drum production could stand to be cleaned up a good deal, the overriding issue here is Maniac’s horrible vocals. I haven’t really been too fond of his voice with regards to the other stuff he’s done with this band, but here it’s just downright awful. I’m at a complete loss as to how someone can deride Attila’s vocals for their Gollum-like tinge, yet can also think that this phlegm gurgling, choking on broken glass, collection of shrieks is praiseworthy. Not to mention that the vocal track has so much damn reverb on it that it’s hard to heard any separation between the consonants and the vowels in this shouted mess. I guess the silver lining is that half of the songs on here are so pointlessly profane lyrically, to the point of absurdity, that you’re better off not understanding what is being said.

I do give this band a good deal of credit for creating something original and starting something that has produced a fair share of solid albums, but this brief collection of sounds just doesn’t listen well enough to deserve the lavish praise that many have given it. “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is a better representation of an extreme metal album, while I could best categorize this as a half underground punk, half thrash metal crossover release with a real lousy vocal delivery. If you like metal solely for the aggression factor rather than for its intrigue (I don’t), then this is probably worth getting, otherwise stick to their material with Attila and Dead at the helm.

Later submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 24, 2008.

Deathcrush. - 64%

immortalshadow666, January 23rd, 2008

It’s hard to say something that hasn’t already been said about this little EP. Everyone knows the history behind it, Mayhem, a struggling band at the forefront of the second wave of black metal, released this EP, raw as fuck – though nothing in comparison to the demo – with musicianship and production that has been surpassed thousands of times by modern standards. So why is it a cult classic, and why does it still hold its own today, more than 20 years ago? The easy answer is the influence, that they influenced so many of the bands people like today, but there is a bit more to it than that.

Ignoring the disgraceful work that has been the bands modern releases – this isn’t a review of those, Mayhems entire career has been plagued by controversy. It has taken its toll on the bands quantity of work, just 4 full-length studio albums in more than 25 years of being a band, and only one that was any good. Deathcrush was the “main” recording before the release of the full length, 7 years its predecessor, so it can’t be said as being just a taste of the album.

What I think is the drawcard is that it’s such a short recording. When this normally works against a band, the EP coming in at just under 18 minutes works in the favour of Deathcrush. It is short, simple and to the point, and gets its point – quite literally, that of pure fucking Armageddon – across, with some strange parts. One might miss that the hints of avant-garde – with that fantastic little intro, Silvester Anfang, a nifty little percussion number that is, dare I use it for a black metal recording, cute. This, and also (Weird) Manheim, bear some slight resemblance to the non-metal parts heard in “The Grand Declaration of War” and post-GDoW, that so many ‘kvlt’ metalheads, myself included, despise. However, because these experimental parts are not overdone, they resonate with the general idea that in this case, less is more.

Two of the new songs, the title track and “Chainsaw Gutsfuck”, could quite easily be considered thrash, or even fast-paced rock songs in their styles of drumming, song structure, and especially of guitar riffing. The vocals on this recording may annoy the shit out of some people, but the instant delay on the recording of them, and the vocals themselves being as good and chilling as anything Varg ever did, they pretty much are the highlight of Deathcrush. All three new tracks (the other being “Necrolust”) have relatively the same length and pace, the only difference being a slow build up. However the riffing, while simple, is different on each track, and it can’t be said that every song sounds like the other, because they are quite easily distinguishable.

I don’t like dwelling on this much, but the production really is quite bad. The guitars are at least thick and intense, but it’s impossible to tell where the bass is because it is so badly distorted, and the drums sound all like each other so it can be difficult to distinguish during the faster parts which is the bass and which is the snare. (The exception to the bad drumming rule is, as I mentioned earlier, the intro track).

So it’s hard to hate Deathcrush if you’re into black metal, whether it’s because you like it, or whether it’s because it, and the band, did so much for the scene, helping to spawn other classics of course like Burzum, Darkthrone and Immortal. But still, if you haven’t heard this, it’s more than worth a spin, even if just to see what it is.

Primitive but a Big Influence for Black Metal - 79%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, October 9th, 2007

This EP was recorded in 1987, in a period in which the most important extreme metal bands were the early death metal ones: Sepultura, Death, Possessed and so on, so it was inevitable that these tracks here were still very influenced by that genre.

Even not being the best tracks ever released by Mayhem, they are quite interesting from the point of view of the historical importance. The violence here was something new in this genre, and also the raw, low-budget production was an example for the future black metal scene. The tracks are full of Slayerish riffs, mixed with early death metal influences and a black touch.

“Silverter Anfang” song is a quite funny intro made of strange drums sound that ends in the famous main riff of the title track. The up tempo parts are very influenced by the thrash metal, the guitar riffs are not so exceptional but with a great early Sodom feeling. “Chainsaw Gutsfuck” is another raw classic, with a bone crushing bass inspired by early Napalm Death and Repulsion. The vocals are very raw, almost punkish, but they show the way to the future, evolving black metal screams.

In the great Venom cover “Witching Hour”, Mayhem show their respect and admiration for a band that would have been one of the major influences in this extreme genre. Here the vocals are less screamed, more in Venom style. Better to me, because sometimes those screams are annoying and boring in my opinion.

“Necrolust” is pure thrash/death assault in the riffage and in the drums up-tempo. Sometimes I found a lot of influences from early Death or Possessed. The last song “(Weird) Manheim/ Pure Fucking Armageddon” is the most violent track here. The beginning is made of a strange piano sound and ends in a good mid paced riff that stenches of Hellhammer/early Celtic Frost, continuing with some primitive blast beats, drum rolls and up tempo.

This EP is an important piece of extreme metal; it shows one of the very first primitive mix of early death, thrash metal and a proto-black metal still under an embryonic form. An important lesson of history and an inspiration for lots and lots of other bands.

My mark is more focused on the importance of this album than in his pure musical aspect. Innovative but not excellent…still very raw, and that’s normal for a young band.

Blackened Thrash Metal - 83%

Human666, March 15th, 2007

"Deathcrush" presents us with the early Mayhem, which played Thrash combined with the signs of what would become later Black Metal. The production is certainly raw, but you can't miss any notes here as in their earlier demos. Though the production isn't clear, this EP is far away from being a mess and overall the sound fits the music very well.

This EP contains eight tracks: four of them are actually songs the band has written, three are interludes and there is one cover for Venom's song "Witching Hour", which no doubt is a Black Metal song. Eight tracks in eighteen minutes is of course much too short, but I prefer it to be an essential short release than a long and tiresome one.

The first track is an instrumental intro played only by drums and percussion. It has a short theme which lasts for all of its two minutes, followed by some nice percussion hits. Outstanding in it's way, pretty nice intro. Then the first real song begins, "Deathcrush". It's built from ONLY three riffs which last for over three minutes but it really keeps one's interest for the whole song because they are fucking catchy in an extreme way, especially the main riff. This is such a catchy and easy song to play that there are more than a hundred bands which covered this song, you can even check it here, on this website. "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" is a less kick-ass song than "Deathcrush", but it's a pretty good one. It Contains three or four mid-tempo riffs on down-tuned guitar and the vocals also are a bit more relaxed. It's Not as brutal as the title track but this is another catchy song. "The Witching Hour" (a Venom cover) has the best vocals on this EP. There is an echo which increases the dark atmosphere and here it's Messiah's vocals which doesn't sound like he's being butchered while screaming [as how Maniac sounds]. "(Weird) Manheim" is a creepy and depressed instrumental by Manheim with a slow riff and creepy lead bass. Now, the outro is fucking weird, moreso than the previous instrumental. All the band members sing a silly text in a silly way: "All the little flowers are singing, All the little birds are too, They are very happy, and we hope you are to." They repeat it a bit, each time becoming more aggressive, and in the end they scream something which I can't really identify. Genius or silliness? you decide....

Overall "Deathcrush" is a pretty worthy release which built most from the catchy and simple guitar riffs by Euronymous. Get it if you find it because this is a pretty brutal and catchy release which you'll dig for a long time. Not their best moment of course, but an important level in the progression of Mayhem till they reached their Black Metal unique style.

One of the most overrated releases ever - 55%

Darkwinterdweller, February 22nd, 2007

Much has been said about Mayhem's debut release. Many fans claim it is a classic release and that no fan of extreme metal be without. One reviewer here even described this as near perfect. Yet, I fail to see the excellence of this EP. I think the majority of the reason this gets such great reviews is because of it's historical value. This was released in 1987, and very few bands were as extreme as Mayhem were here during this time. For this reason, and this reason only, does this EP retain such high scores and praise.

Many insist that this is a pure black metal release, but that could not be any further from the truth. The only aspect of black metal present here is the harsh production, which is truly raw, to the point that it ruins some of the music. The music itself sounds like thrash with death metal vocals. The vocals are brutal especially for the time. Maniac performs the vocals here, and with everything else he has done with Mayhem, he sounds absolutely awful most of the time. His worst performance on this release is definately on the song Necrolust. Some tracks he doesn't sound too bad on, but the majority of the time, he ruins the music.

Some of the actual music is decent. Euronymous seemed to be very good at developing very simple yet very catchy riffs. The riffs in the song Deathcrush are especially catchy. The first part of Pure Fucking Armageddon is fast paced and catchy as well. They get too repetitive for their own good sometimes though, and some sound very similar to one another. Some of the riffs in Chainsaw Gutsfuck sound similar to those of the song Deathcrush at a slower pace. The drums are played by Mayhem's original drummer Manheim. They aren't too poorly played yet sound terrible due to the recording production.

One of the worst aspects of this release in my opinion was the lyrics. The lyrics are very poorly written. Especially the lyrics to Necrolust and Pure Fucking Armageddon. The lyrics in Pure Fucking Armageddon are just words and phrases with no real meaning that seem like they were written by a group of middle school posers who think they are evil. It's definately good that Dead was brought into the band a year later and replaced whoever wrote these lyrics.

But despite it's faults, this EP has it's moments. It was undeniablely groundbreaking for the time that it was released. Yet it seems to be praised only for it's extreme nature at an early time, rather then the actual quality of the music. It has very little in common with any of the other Mayhem releases. I would reccommend the release that would come after this as opposed to this EP, but most people have already heard and embraced it. This is worth a listen but in my opinion, is nowhere near as great as most fans claim it to be.

Crushing - 90%

_orc_, February 20th, 2007

Mayhem has few original songs. Most of them are repeated in live albums and compilations. I think this EP is the most accomplished effort from this band. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is some overrated because all the Vikernes-Euronymous stuff, and most of the songs of that record were played with Dead in the Live in Leipzig album. And they sounded better with Dead instead of Attila, at least for me. Great Declaration of War is not the "true" Mayhem that you would expect. Chimera is a little boring, but still good black metal. Only Wolf's Lair Abyss can be compared with this EP. But Mayhem without Euronymous is not what they were in the past, and this record proves it. Just 6 songs (5, without the intro) that shows us the raw power of the early black metal in Norway, and of course all the darkness and evil of The True Mayhem.


Musicianship is good. The guitar, bass and drums playing are outstanding. I get a little missed with Manheim's vocals, but they are still cool. Anyway, with that instrumental power behind him, Manheim's vocals gets solid and crushing. All the black metal scene on late 80's/early 90's was very competitive, and that fact forced the performers to be more and more brutal on their records and live shows. So we have the most insane, shredding and raw black metal bands and records of the whole black metal story, with Mayhem, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, etc. When all the "satanist case" calmed down a little with Vikernes' jailing, the bands took separate paths on their music, including Mayhem, and some smaller bands disappeared from the scene. Also new black metal bands, a little softer and more experimental than their elders, got spaces in the mainstream, like Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon. But none of them would ever reach the quality levels of the early black metal.



The album starts with "Silvester Anfang" an instrumental intro of percussions. It's boring and repetitive. It shouldn't last so long, with just the half is OK. Almost two minutes of wasted time. Next, we have "Deathcrush", the Mayhem's most enduring classic song. It starts with a cool, catchy guitar riff in mid-tempo. After a while, the rhythm gets faster and crazier. In the middle of the song, after the chorus, the bass player does the same initial riff, then mid-tempo and then fast tempo again, till the end of the song. I can't hear the Manheim's vocals clearly, as in the whole EP, but his screams are OK for black metal. The next track is "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" an amazing song that is also my favorite of Mayhem's repertoire. It starts with a slow bass riff, followed then by the guitar and the drums. It goes with the same riff, inspirated by Black Sabbath a little bit, without any important rhythm change. Cool song, anyway. "Witching Hour" is, of course, a Venom cover, just the half of the original, but with doubled speed. A little bit faster than the live version of Witching Hour, played by Venom in Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik. Here, the Manheim's vocals get a little more clear and understandable. It's always hard to cover a famous song, so think what about to cover a classic one. Cradle of Filth destroyed (that is the proper word for it) Slayer's Hell awaits and Iron Maiden's Hallowed be thy name. But Mayhem covers Venom's Witching hour succesfully. That's a great merit for the band: not just they are good with their songs, their are good covering everlasting classics too. The last song is "(Weird) Manheim/Pure fucking armageddon". The first part ((Weird) Manheim) is an instrumental piece of bass, of just 46 seconds. Short instrumental pieces are good, you must be an outstanding musician to play good and lengthy instrumetal pieces, like Iron Maiden's Genghis Kahn or Transylvania. Or you can create good atmospheres for the song, like Burzum. The next part is Pure fucking armageddon, a proper title to describe the song. Hellhammer's drums are just crushing and fucking brutal. Euronymous' guitars and Necrobutcher's bass complete the amazing instrumental arsenal. Manheim screams like a possessed demon. Pure fucking armageddon is a very good example to how to play true black metal. Not also that song, the entire album is an amazing show of true black metal.



If you want to know what true norwegian black metal's about, try to get this EP. Not try, YOU MUST have this one if you consider yourself a true black metallist. If you like anything brutal, well played and of course, true metal, you'll surely like Deathcrush. It's an important piece of metal's history, this shows us that the fear of the christian community about black metal and satanism wasn't so exaggerated. This is pure satanism, bloody gore, brutal and true metal. GET THIS NOW IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT!

Wow, this is good? - 76%

BurntOffering, July 7th, 2006

These guys started that whole Black Metal scene with this?! This dosen't sound like anything else from that scene really, or anything else Mayhem did as a matter of fact. Lucky for us! This is quite on the grim and kvlt side of things, but at least it has riffs. As mentioned before, the production blows ass, but all good Black Metal had shitty production. Hellhammer, Venom, Bathory, anybody? Oh, and for you that say Venom isn't Black Metal, Mayhem pretty much retaliates with a "Fuck yes they are!" as they cover "Witching Hour". The singer sounds like a shrieky Quorthon, although high pitched and more piercing, with his vocals reverbed out and pushed to the back. The guitar tone is pretty monsterous, and the drummer sounds like he's playing on cardboard. But hey, it works....although the drummer sounds like he dosen't even know what he's doing half the time.

We start of with an intro that is like marching snare drums, which is rather pointless. "Deathcrush" is pretty necro. Full of Death/Thrash riffs going between midpaced and fast, with some pretty over the top vocals. It's pretty repetitive, but it took me about 5 listens to realize that they were repeating parts, so I guess that's okay. "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" is a midpaced song with lots of nice riffs. It also shows that the bass is a very important part of this band. It's distorted much like Motorhead, and keeps the low end nice and thick. At one point it sounds like the drummer is doing blastbeats, but I honestly think he was just fucking around. Next is "Witching Hour". the most covered Venom song. Suprizingly it's pretty well done, although it's sped up about three times faster and the whole solo section that was really cool in the orginal isn't there. It's still quite a cool cover. "Necrolust" is easily the best thing this band ever did (other than killing themselves). Awesome Thrashy riffs and a very cool vocal pattern. "Weird Manheim" is a little interlude that sounds like an out of tune piano that leads into "Pure Fucking Armageddon", and holy shit! Listen to that first riff. Awesome Thrash right there. Then we go into some Death metal sounding stuff, but the drums kind of bury it. Then, before you know it.....it's over. I found the outro to be quite brutal, kvlt, and necro.

This sounds like a mixture of Bathory's "The Return" and "Scream Bloody Gore". It sounds different than the rest of this band's output, and that's a good thing! If you like Black Metal like Hellhammer, without keyboards, without grind-esque drumming, and most importantly with RIFFS. This is for you. RECOMMENDED.

Damn near perfect. - 90%

DoctorZombie, October 2nd, 2004

Before the Black Circle, before Deads suicide, before the murder of Euronymous, before the church burnings, before black metal as we now know it, there was Deathcrush! In 1987, the now legendary Mayhem birthed what would become one of the most influencial black metal albums ever. This album is almost entirely responsible for what we know black metal as today. Perhaps Venom coined the phrase "Black Metal" but this album (along with a few others) is what was really responsible for the genre from a technical standpoint. The simplicity, the atmosphere, the production, the agression, this is what black metal is all about!

Deathcrush starts off with the song "Silvester Anfang", which is an instrumental track, not even metal actually, it is strange millitary style drumming. After that, the infamous track Deathcrush comes ripping in with its rigid, midpaced first riff, the hair on the back of my neck STILL stands on end when I hear the begining of this song. It later picks up to the hyperspeed chainsaw guitars. The bass guitar on this song is thicker than tar and the drumming is just so relentless. Another track which stands out is (Weird) Manheim, which is the creepiest, most atmospheric track on the album. It has a very eerie intro, made by a synth/keyboard. After the intro the track cuts into some extremely raw black metal, reminiscent of Bathory, but it has a certain "chaotic" feeling that Bathory was lacking. I wont dwell on the other songs much, theese were just the ones that stood out the most to me.

Before Dead took vocal duties, there was Maniac (who is now the current Mayhem vocalist). If you are familiar with newer Mayhem releases, but not this one, Maniacs vocals are significantly different. Instead of his current vocal style (which is quite horrid, in my opinion), he has a haunting shriek, simmilar to Varg Vikernes almost, which sounds as if it were echoing through the bowels of hell. The lyrics are also very different. Where Dead was writing is ultra-depressed and cryptic lyrics, theese are more straight forward and overly evil/taboo. Dealing with such subjects as necrophilia, murder and death. The lyrics seem to fit more for a death metal band, but hell, when this album was released, black metal didnt really even exist.

The production is one of my favorite parts of this album. While "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" was fine and polished, this album is incredibly raw. It sounds as if it were recorded in a garage or basement. I, for one, prefer this raw production, as it gives the music a more "realistic" feel to me. The fine production of "De Mysteriis Dom Sathans" always came across as pretentious to me. For a band like Mayhem, a decent production job is along the same lines as betrayal (im not saying "De Mysertiis Dom Sathanas" was a bad album though). I mean, sure, the production isnt perfect on this album, but I have heard FAR worse production jobs in my day.

This is one of the most influencial black metal releases ever. There is no snobbish synth (by snobbish, I mean symphonic), no acoustic interludes, no folk elements, no bullshit. This is a pure, unfiltered, old school black metal assault. If I were to rate this album without looking at its influence on the entire genre, I would give it an 80, but since it was SO influencial, that brought it up to a 90. The only thing holding it back from being flawless is the length, its just not long enough!

Outstanding! - 90%

stickyshooZ, August 31st, 2004

As far as I recall, this was the first Mayhem album I had listened to when I first became curious as to what Mayhem was actually like. I remember from the first listen I was put off by everything about the album and quickly deemed that Mayhem sucked, simply because the poor production style was new to me. How wrong I was. After learning more about black metal in general, I decided to check it out again. At this point, I'm saddened that not many black metal artists are as good as early Mayhem was.

The only thing about the album that kind of put me off was the first track, "Silvester Anfang." It's much better to listen to when played live to get the loud and audible properties, but on this album it sounds kind of crappy. Everything else about this album is no joke - the guitars and riffs are raw, heavy, and crushing. Manheim pounding away on the kit makes it all more enjoyable; because he doesn't just rely on speed...he actually drums very well and offers variety. There are times where the classic chaotic blast beats are implemented into the mix; adding another splatter of Mayhem’s element of wickedness.

In my opinion, this was Maniac's best vocal work with Mayhem. His screams of despair fit the atmosphere of the music more than on any other Mayhem album. Maniac’s gut puking screams suck you in and it's damn near scary how he can make the music very emotional and creepy with his wailing cries. Necrobutcher’s bass is extremely fuzzy and heavily distorted, and surprisingly, its presence is shown immensely. It's kind of hard to catch at certain fast points due to the shitty production, but for the majority the thick pummeling sound stands out very well.

The other thing I didn't like was the short track list. I realize this is an EP, but I wish there had been more on this album. The catchy parts of this album seem more revolved around chunk riffing than fast paced semi-thrash riffs. It's got its pernicious and speed parts, but I find the chunky parts to be much more enjoyable. The influence of Venom shows highly, and not just in the cover of the song “Witching Hour.” Songs like “Deathcrush,” “Necrolust,” and “Pure Fucking Armageddon” show definite signs of thrash influence with fast (yet simple) tremolo picking.

Euronymous makes it all work nicely, actually. For such crappy production it still manages to offer a strong, desolate, and enjoyable experience. I'd recommend it to any and all true black metal fans who can appreciate real old school black metal. I kind of wish Maniac would use the same vocal style he used on Deathcrush on all other Mayhem albums he was on, because I think Deathcrush is his best vocal work. This is an important piece of black metal history; obtain this brutal and primitive EP whenever you can.

Eerie - 90%

Sixtensson, July 15th, 2004

The Deathcrush EP...ah, where am I to start? I might begin with the musical aspects. This EP is filled with deathish thrash (or is it thrashy death), somewhat reminding of Celtic Frost (like the Necrolust intro...pure Celtic Frost worship) and Venom-ish rock n roll, like the Deathcrush main riff. The song structures are pretty simple, play midtempo for a verse, then go mad on the guitar and smash the hell out of the drums with fast 2/4 or semi-competent blastbeats, go back to the verse and then let the song die out in some sort of audio madness, like the outro of Slayer's Raining Blood. The band is not very tight, as I said before the blastbeats sound semicompetent, Euronymous plays sloppy and so forth. But now let's go over to the aspect that make this album brilliant...

...namely that fucking eerie feeling over it. It's kind of emotional, for example when the song Deathcrush speeds up with that riff (so sad-sounding! unbelievably sad) and Maniac shrieks with his desperate voice...the vocals are great here, no matter what you say, and add up to a lot of atmosphere. The garage feeling on this EP adds up to the atmosphere too, and something you can't look past is that the guy playing these sloppy, sad riffs got murdered a couple of years later is eerie...truly eerie...of course it's got a comic element, like that outro, and the songtitles, but in some strange way they help out in making this record even more eerie.

The EP has it's drawbacks, which lies mainly in songwriting, but what the fuck, this is purely about atmosphere. As mentioned the playing is sloppy, but I think it is better that way, kind of like Hellhammer.

One note though: Something that might also add up to the atmosphere is that my philippinese vinyl sounds like shit, but that is for you to find out.

Primitive piece of history - 89%

Black_Metal_Bastard, June 18th, 2004

Wow! How shitty is that production? Although the demo was much much much fuckin worse, basically with no production at all, so this isn't that bad right?

It's pretty sloppily played thrash in the end. Influences are definately early Bathory and Venom, with Hellhammer thrown in for good measure. The riffs are pretty catchy at time, like on the title track, with that amazingly catchy main riff and on Necrolust with it's headbanging power at the beginning. Fuckin classic there. The drums aren't bad at all really, although they are distant sounding pretty much throughout the entire record. The vocals are very harsh, way different from what Maniac sounds like today. The bass is like a roaring distorted buzzsaw. Check out that little bass solo near the end of Deathcrush(ok maybe not a solo). Pure ripping fury.

When this was released, I'm sure people didn't know what the hell this was. Noise, garbage, anything but good music. When I listen to this today, I can enjoy it immensley and respect what these guys were aiming for then. This was probably the fastest, most brutal thing anything had heard back in those days. Buy this if you are not offended by bad production.

Sudden impact - 88%

Lord_Jotun, December 31st, 2003

"Deathcrush" is one of those items which hold a godly status among the underground Metal adepts. Most times this blindly worshipping feedback appears to be determined by totally non-musical factors, yet Mayhem's second demo and first "proper" release stands high on the top of its unquestionable historical significance.
The year was 1987, and when anyone mentioned "extreme Metal", everybody would think "Reign In Blood", of course. At the same time, however, the forefathers of Black Metal were busy pushing the insane aggression of Thrash to new extremes, a courageous attitude which would ultimately give birth to two genres: Death Metal and Black Metal. "Deathcrush" is one of the most significative documents of this evolution. It's a short, hit-and-run, less than twently minutes slab of pure aggression, where classic elements of Thrash are defiled by what could be described as the seeds of Black/Death by today's standards, but out by a bunch of not excessively skilled musicians who definitely knew what they wanted. At the time, this sounded like pure insanity, and today, the effect still refuses to wear off.

Oddly enough, the albumm opens with a kind of "melodic" drum machine track named "Silvester Anfang", composed for the band by Conrad Schnitzer. Mayhem have always been weirdos, no doubt about it. But then the title track kicks in, and it's compromiseless Metal insanity. The first riff is actualy pretty interesting (and, most importantly, fucking cool) with its odd tempo; Euronymous basic guitar buzz is well backed by Necrobutcher's distorted bass sound, the result being a harsh bu rather thick sound. The drums, despite Manheim's rather sloppy playing (well, nobody in teh band really shines at this stage), have a clear and strong sound, which has just one drawback: it tends to drown out the guitars and bass... Maniac's vocals, finally, are full of reverb in true eraly Black Metal tradition, sound (thankfully) nothing like the gibberish puking he's been spewing out sinc etha band's reunion; he uses a very high pitched and insane shrieking (think of Varg Vikernes on heavy drugs), which fits the mood of the songs pretty well. Anyway, the song soon turns into a very fast blasting fest, with none in the band strictly following a precise tempo, but the effetc is damn shattering anyway... I wonder how people did react to this at the time.
"Chainsaw Gutsfuck" opens with a slow distorted bass riff, soon joined by drums and guitars; this song is the slowest of the lot, and is built on an interestingly tempoed riff similar to the one used on the opening riff in "Deathcrush". Original and effective - who needs technical perfection when we have these qualities?
"Witching Hour" is a Venom cover which best exemplifies how Mayhem crafted their unique sound by enhancing the madness found in their sources of inspiration... more in depth, the rendition of this song is FUCKING FAST (just compare it with the original and see for yourself... and keep in mind that the year was 1987). Original session vocalist Messiah appears as a guest on this one, and unlike on the "Pure Fucking Armageddon" demo, we can hear his vocals, which aren't that special (a kind of low and rather breathy spoken voice) but make a nice contrast with Maniac's banshee-like screams (don't miss that chilling "Witching hoooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrr!!!!" at the end!).

"Necrolust"... this song alone pioneered a whole new style of playing. It opens with a little neat mid-paced, palm muted riff (Celtic Frost was the band's main inspiration along with Venom), but soon turns into a relentless assault of insanely fast riff. Ceaseless beats and razor sharp picking, and unearthly screams to top the whole thing - isn't it a bit the formula of modern raw Black Metal?
"(Weird) Manheim" is a short and indeed weird "distorted piano" (at least it sounds like that) interlude which leads into the epitome of aggression... "Pure Fucking Armageddon". This song is just what the title says: after a short and great thrashy beginning, noise begins (of course not the shitty kind of noise). Definitely one of the (if not the) 100% compromise free slabs of Metal ever put together. Vocalist Messiah handles this one by himself, as he already did on teh demo of the same title... it's ok, vocals wouldn't really change the result here. And the year was 1987. Can you say "unbelievable"?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is "Deathcrush", and if you want to dig deep to the roots of extreme music, this is more than mandatory.