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Good on its own, just a bit late to the party... - 76%

Hellish_Torture, June 25th, 2015

In the second half of the 80s, after thrash metal exploded worldwide thanks to bands like Metallica and Slayer, many new underground acts from every part of the globe started being recognized and supported: the Australian act Mortal Sin debuted in 1987 with “Mayhemic Destruction” - an album that, despite being consequential to the genre’s diffusion in the mainstream, was definitely more akin to the so-called “first wave” of thrash metal, rather than the “Bay Area sound” popularized in that period by “Master of Puppets” and other derived acts (a style the band would later touch with their sophomore effort “Face of Despair”).

It would be difficult for a thrash album which came out only in 1987 (pretty much during the genre’s golden era) to be considered as a “revivalist” record: yet, “Mayhemic Destruction” can already be considered somehow as a “retro” album for the time when it was released. Actually, this album could have easily been recorded in 1983: still making paragons with Metallica, it sounds way more like “Kill ‘em All” than anything else, and perhaps even more stripped down and derivative from classic heavy metal. The result is a perfect incarnation of the most “primitive” soul of speed/thrash, with the only fault of being definitely too “anachronistic” and obsolete for 1987 - yet still able to convey a solid amount of good ideas.

On “Mayhemic Destruction”, Mortal Sin adopts an unripe satanic imagery (probably inspired by Mercyful Fate) and takes pretty much the same influences that led Metallica to create their legendary debut, yet focusing way more on the NWOBHM side, rather than on the speed metal/hardcore punk one (which, however, is still findable in some doses). Therefore, most songs on this album are crafted in a rather mid-paced fashion: this is particularly audible on tracks like “The Curse”, “Women in Leather”, “Liar” and “Into the Fire”, which offer some crude, catchy, “galloping” riffs which sound like a cross between classic heavy metal and early thrash, where the lack of “excessive” speed is compensated by a frequent use of double bass; while not particularly “up-to-date”, these songs still possess a sufficient amount of freshness for the standards of 1987, and can be easily enjoyed for their really considerable catchiness and impact, despite their supposed “stylistic primitivity”. Even the faster up-tempos are still quite moderate, rarely reaching the whiplashing speeds which were already typical for many thrash bands of that epoch - but it’s during these parts that you usually find some of the album’s best riffage: I could mention the rather complex and interesting speed metal phrasings of “Women in Leather”, the powerful, catchy, punkish riffs of “Blood, Death, Hatred”, or the vigorous melodic riffs of “Mortal Slaughter”. However, an exception in this regard is represented by the title-track, which deliberately goes full speed with a raw, dirty, wicked speed/thrash riff that will probably damage many necks.

The NWOBHM influences (principally Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Satan and similar stuff, with the addition of Mercyful Fate as an “external” contributor) are very functional to the album’s concept, giving justice to the band’s “occult” imagery with equally “occult” atmospheres: the spine-chilling intro “The Curse” begins with a slow opening, dominated by a very puissant drum/bass performance, some hellish echoes, awesome Maiden-esque harmonizations and some cool “hidden” melodies here and there; there’s a definitely remarkable solo work throughout the whole record, enriching appropriately the riffs on tracks such as “Liar”, “Mortal Slaughter”, “Blood, Death, Hatred”, and “Women in Leather” (which shines especially for its masterful melodic breaks). However, the most “epic” piece we can find on here is undoubtedly “Lebanon”: a magnificent mixture of sinister and mysterious melodies, mid-paced “Kill ‘em All”-styled thrash riffs, masterful crescendos made of more “acute” riffs which develop more and more pathos, weird harmonized phrasings and rough, filthy, evil, threatening speed/thrash riffs (still placed upon “moderately fast” up-tempos, in the typical vein of this album). Even the title-track benefits from the memorability of certain atypical melodic riffs which definitely enrich and empower the album’s whole atmosphere, making it richer and more credible despite its “obsolescence”. It’s evident that these guys loved heavy metal with all themselves, and their inspiration was superior to dominant trends.

The vocals, honestly, are a bit of a letdown. Mat Maurer has never been a really good vocalist, and while this is probably his most “colorful” performance ever, it’s still quite inconsistent and derivative. His vocals sound like a sort of mix between the U.S. thrash tendencies of the mid-80s and the cliched “melodic” vocals which have always been typical of classic heavy metal, everything interpreted with a rather nasal and “goofy” tone which lacks conviction, strength and credibility; the Metallica rip-offs are way too evident on certain parts of “Lebanon”, and the vocal performance during the clean guitar intro of “Liar” is even a bit ridiculous. However, the damn catchy chorus of “Into the Fire” (supported by equally catchy riffs) will surely entertain you, in all its “ingenuity” and simplicity. This is still much better than the explicit Bay Area rip-offs that Mat performs on later albums - let alone the awful, unlistenable self-parody that Steve Sly provides on the cringeworthy “Every Dog Has it’s Day”.

Summing everything, I think this is one of those albums that should have been released some years earlier in order to reach true brilliance; luckily, in 1987, the band’s creativity was still in full swing, thus they managed to craft out a really fine collection of tunes, achieving a really strong worldwide following despite the supposedly “unripe/obsolete” style they played. Still nowadays, “Mayhemic Destruction” remains Mortal Sin’s finest hour, being their most spontaneous, enthusiast, powerful, inspired record to date - and along with the sophomore album “Face of Despair”, represents the only useful contribution ever provided to the underground by this once respectable band.

Raging Thunder from Down Under - 85%

Thrashterpiece86, April 12th, 2014

Hailing from the distant land of Sydney, Australia, Mortal Sin retains a high status in the underground as one of the continent's (only) premier thrash bands, and their legendary debut "Mayhemic Destruction" still stands today as a classic slab of raw, primitive thrashing fun.

By 1986, thrash metal was starting to mature and take several different forms; whether it be the mid-paced melodic approach pioneered by Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" or the faster, more technical road taken by bands such as Slayer, Dark Angel and Kreator. I feel somewhat inclined to say that Mortal Sin fall into the latter category, but they seem to straddle the line between both at times. "Mayhemic Destruction" is an album that nicely blends chugging, melodic passages with darker, faster parts and with a nice raw production job to boot that gives the album a dark, visceral feel. It's very similar to Testament's "The Legacy" in that while it was released in the latter part of the '80s, it has a much earlier '80s vibe; the NWOBHM-inspiration is much more noticeable and the extreme technical prowess of later thrash albums is eschewed in favour of raw, in-your-face riffage that gears toward only one goal - to get as many heads to bang as humanly possible.

The instrumental opener, "The Curse", sets the mood nicely, grabbing the listener's attention with a looming, impending sense of doom; a perfect sign of things to come. Things really start to get going with the classic "Women In Leather", a title and subject matter that has "cheesy pure '80s awesomeness" written all over it. The main riff is sure to get some long-haired heads bobbing and the fast, thrashy middle section makes for some excellent mosh pit fodder. We are then treated with my personal favourite track on the entire release, the truly immortal thrash classic "Lebanon", a song that has rightfully earned a place as one of my top thrash songs of all time. Everything in this song screams FACE-RIPPING THRASH, from the Middle Eastern-inspired opening lick to the closing section that pummels your fucking skull for over a minute. For nearly 7 and a half minutes the listener is bombarded with riff after riff of classic speed metal that just reeks of '80s goodness, building on top of itself until bursting into an epic, balls-to-the-wall conclusion. The next track, "Liar", starts off with a soft, clean guitar intro which provides a brief moment of sanity after the thrashing madness of "Lebanon". The track soon builds into another onslaught of headbangable riffs, featuring a badass falsetto from lead singer Mat Mauer.

The album's second half starts off with a bang as the up-tempo "Blood, Death, Hatred" hits the ground running and never lets up. I wouldn't doubt for a second that this song stirred up some fucking vicious circle pits back in the day. The onslaught of riffage carries over into the next track, "Mortal Slaughter", another crowd pleaser with a hilarious (but awesome) chorus sung in an extremely noticeable Australian accent ("MO'-AL!!! SLO'-AH!!!").

The penultimate track, "Into The Fire", is the only real "filler" track on the whole album. This isn't saying much though, for while it may not be as memorable, the song is still packed with some solid mid-paced riffs courtesy of co-axemen Keith Krstin and Paul Carwana. The dual guitar solos at around 2:32 are always fun to listen to, and the song ends with another epic scream from Mauer.

The album ends with the title track, quite possibly the fastest song on the whole record. The song simply oozes with proto-death and black metal vibes. Any fan of Possessed or early Death will surely get a kick out of this one. And with that, this onslaught of epic Aussie thrash comes to a satisfying close.

The fact that I can count the number of memorable Australian thrash bands on one hand (Hobbs' Angel Of Death is the only other one that springs to mind) makes this album even more of a prized jewel. Although it may not have as much technical prowess as later thrash releases, it more than makes up for it with raw brutality and NWOBHM-inspired riffage out the ying-yang. If you're a fan of early Exodus, Testament/Legacy, or Metallica circa-"Ride The Lightning", then this album is definitely for you. And should you be momentarily unable to obtain a copy of this somewhat rare gem, then you're in luck! As of this writing, the entire album is available for your listening pleasure on YouTube along with countless other thrash metal classics.

Standout tracks: "Women In Leather," "Lebanon," "Blood, Death, Hatred" and "Mayhemic Destruction".

Mandatory thrash, the demon wings are for show. - 84%

hells_unicorn, November 12th, 2013

Whenever the topic of thrash metal and the year 1986 comes up, a healthy majority of non-thrash enthusiasts or those who've only casually engaged in the art form have formed a consensus that Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" defined the era. But anyone who has delved deeper will find a much different picture where a healthy amount of bands from all over America, Europe, and beyond were taking the style in far more interesting directions than the watered down, quasi-thrash that said album embodied. Australia wasn't the most prolific purveyor of this pugnacious mode of assaulting the ears, but they did field a sold, albeit conservative outfit in Mortal Sin that made a decent run at joining the 1986 crowd with their brief yet enticing debut "Mayhemic Destruction".

To cut straight to the chase, this band touts some pretty obvious Metallica influences, but they managed to avoid a lot of the lighter and tamer trappings of said pioneer's middle era and came out with something that reminds heavily of "Kill Em' All", Laaz Rockit and Testament styled brilliance (think "The Legacy" in the latter case). The riff set is a little bit primitive in comparison to the wild progression brought to the table by bands like Watchtower and the speed factor tends a bit more towards the mid-tempo with occasional bursts of speed that tends to befit the later British sound of Onslaught, Xentrix and a few others, thus avoiding the constant thrill rides with riffs out the ears as heard out of Dark Angel, or the hyper-paced embryonic death metal character of Slayer and the bands coming out of Germany at this point. One might be tempted to call this textbook thrash metal given its middle status between the mainline and extreme versions of the style, though at the time the style wasn't so clearly defined as it has since become.

Perhaps the most enthralling aspect of this album for those seeking an old school experience is how closely these album conforms to the early NWOBHM influences that are still widely on display here (in contrast to where most of the thrash world was headed by this point). Particularly in the case of "Liar", which starts off with a drearily quiet intro reminiscent of something out of later 80s Testament that quickly morphs into a bouncy, galloping, riff-happy bruiser that conjures up similarities to Metal Church, complete with the occasional banshee wails. Granted, much of the time the vocals listen like a slightly lighter version of standard James Hetfield gruff, and the music tends to follow in suit. Although not quite as flashy as what Cliff Burton dished out on "Kill Em' All", the bass is about as prominent in the mix here and tends to push the heaviness of the guitars back a bit rather than meld with them, particularly on speedier numbers like "Blood, Death, Hatred" and "Mortal Slaughter" where some clear nods to "Phantom Lord" and "Four Horsemen" are heard.

It might be a bit unfair to simply pigeon-hole this album as being Metallica-lite, but at times it gets extremely difficult to separate the songwriting and instrumental execution from what originally broke the mold for said members of the BIg 4 back in 1983. One thing that plays to this band's credit is that Mat Maurer is a bit more proficient at the high notes and doesn't come off as a prepubescent version of Lemmy Kilmeister when trying to emulate Rob Halford. It's a foregone conclusion that anyone who gave Metallica grief for "Fade To Black" back when things were just getting started might have taken to this album as it presents a potential road not taken by said band that is more in line with the rugged conservative implied in said criticisms. In one sense, progress and evolution in style is a good thing, but given the latest trends in Metallica's music, in and of itself it's a bit overrated. All in all, "Mayhemic Destruction" isn't the fastest and most aggressive thing to come out of 1986, but it's definitely worth it's weight in demon wings.

Good Lord, Bobby! - 97%

severzhavnost, May 19th, 2013

Aussies may hate me for saying this, but your geographic isolation is a blessing at times. Sure it means you're unlikely to get a tour from anyone but the most washed-up of rich superstars. But on the plus side, it also means you're somewhat insulated from trends. So when Mortal Sin plopped out their first record in 1986 and referred to themselves as "influenced by Metallica"; that still meant early, edgy, choppy thrash metal. Not the movement toward windbaggy quasi-thrash led by Metallica's 3rd and 4th albums! What these Australians unleash here is fierce and grimy, like the genre was when it was still solidly underground. Get ready for Mayhemic Destruction.

You get six short, fast, pummelling songs all containing real catchy riffs. Plus one dirgey ominous intro and the 7-minute epic, "Lebanon". Hold on, you're thinking! Earlier I introduced this album as being free of windbaggy latter day pseudo-thrash. And it is. "Lebanon" is a fast-paced long song and thus it feels nowhere near as drawn-out as similar pieces-de-resistance by Metallica, Metal Church, Onslaught, etc. The whole album maintains a gloriously chaotic mood. We can attribute this equally to the musical performances, the sound quality, and even the lyrics.

For the first category, Mayhemic Destruction presents a consistent blazing speedy thrash with rough nasty vocals. Think something like Canadian greats Razor and Italy's Bulldozer mixed with early Sodom. The production is cleaner than Sodom but dirtier than the other two. Drum sound is overall tighter than any of those, while keeping the cymbals' balance just wonky enough in the mix to steer safely clear of standardised polish. And it's a frantic machine gun pace almost all the way through, with only "Liar" and "Into the Fire" dropping off slightly.

The guitars are similarly relentless, yet even at breakneck speed there's ample creativity. Mortal Sin never parody the thrash metal genre with speed for speed's sake. Each song offers its own twists and turns. As mentioned, they open up with a brooding instrumental called "The Curse". Then they churn out seven fast, but more importantly catchy, thrashers. Most of these feature warp speed solos too - best of them are "Mortal Slaughter", "Into the Fire", the title track, and "Blood Death Hatred". And the 7-minute epic "Lebanon" really fits its name, with a cool Araby lead riff popping up now and then. 

What really helps hold back the wild guitars from flying off into self-indulgent shredding though, is the brilliant bassist. Andy Eftichiou's not only fighting a winning battle with the guitars for audibility, thanks to the respectful '80s production. He also keeps up with the guitars for speed! None of that plodding along at half the guitar rhythm folks. This guy goes for broke! Check out "Women in Leather" and "Mortal Slaughter" for his best moments of matching the guitarists stroke for stroke. Hell, during the latter, even though the guitar solo is ass-kicking, I'm almost more interested in what goodies the bassist is cooking up underneath it. Yup, fast bass is most responsible for maintaining the heaviness of ultra-fast thrash metal.

As for Mortal Sin's self-professed early Metallica influence, that's most apparent in the vocals. Well, the whole song "Into the Fire" could have fit in on Kill 'em All. Most of the time, Mat Maurer channels all that's good about the high-pitched snarl of young Hetfield. Best of all, Maurer has a wider range than Hetfield, and jumps all over it to further help prop out the album's frenetic atmosphere. He can pull off mighty screams that rival Razor's Sheepdog McLaren for piercing intensity. Then he throws the audience a big nasty curveball on the last song, "Mayhemic Destruction". Here he delves into a nearly proto-death metal growl, more in line with Tom Angelripper or Bulldozer's A.C. Wild than any big name American thrasher. And he does it quite well, though his chorus rasps could stand some improvement. Lyrically, there's nothing groundbreaking here, but that's not the intention. Rambling, poetic almost-thrash fans look elsewhere! Mayhem Destruction is about, well, mayhem and destruction; and the straightforward militant aggression of the lyrics sharply underscores the music's chainsaw subtlety. 

Mortal Sin mean for you to listen to this album with your lips pulled back over your teeth in a feral bloodlusty grin. And dang it, it never disappoints! If you can keep still during Mayhemic Destruction, with no surge of primal energy whatsoever, you might be dead. Ask your doctor.

Decent second tier thrash - 79%

The_Boss, May 1st, 2008

Taking in influences from bands like mid-era Metallica, Annihilator, and Laaz Rockit, Mortal Sin is an Australian thrash band that has stunned the down under community with an ’87 release of ballsy melodic thrash combined with the aggressive riffing to help to create a rather unnoticed thrash album. While this certainly is nothing outstanding and original, it’s a fun listen and deserves to be in every serious thrasher’s collection. A short debut release around 35 minutes, Mayhemic Destruction just oozes badass thrash from the get go, take notice with the cover art work.

The album starts with a short instrumental song with some typical thrashing riffs and leads up into a great intro song Women in Leather. The headbanging continues straight into the highlight of the album, Lebanon, featuring some heavy riffs that will certainly get your head moving all the way through it’s 7 minute length. The entire song doesn’t relent as chanting along with the chorus or banging your head senseless to the mighty main riff. Other highlights would obviously be the very catchy and powerful Blood, Death, Hatred with the vicious opening and awesome riff that follows; and with such a powerful bass line as well! It’s always nice to have an amazing bassist especially in thrash, and Andy Eftichiou makes himself known all throughout this album, check out the bass fills on Women in Leather or already mentioned the super powerful and heavy bass line in Blood, Death, Hatred. Into the Fire also features a nice bass line as well as some decent vocals and back up “gang” vocals.

The musicianship here is competent, already mentioned was the bassist being very important to thrash metal as well as the guitars; Paul Carwana and Keith Kristin are a talented duo, with heavy and powerful riffs surely to get your head moving and the solos here are also done well; taking on a similar approach as Testament, it seems that unlike some thrash bands each song is limited to one solo instead of multiple solos in one song which I would rather prefer. Drumming duty is competent and nothing extraordinary, it’s what it should be for thrash metal, although there isn’t much double bass action.

The only complaints I have with Mayhemic Destruction is; production and vocals. The vocals here are nothing amazing and Matt Maurer just passes by as a vocalist. It’s probably the production that hinders him, but he does a decent job showing little variety in his singing other than in the title track where it seems he attempts primitive death metal growls that don’t exactly fit well with the rest of the album. He does a passable job with little variety and it would have been nicer to see a more talented vocalist. The production here is the biggest hindrance; being as someone previously mentioned “minimalist” is an accurate description but while it was passable then I think if it had been a bit more refined where the vocals weren’t as bad in the mix this would have brought it up more.

So this is a classic example of thrash metal with perfect guitars and bass with just simple drumming and vocal patterns. The highlights are obviously the heavier riffs and badass bass lines but nothing is worthy of keeping the attention in the songs being simple and bland like the vocals. It’s obviously passable but it would stand out more if it worked better. Other than the little variety and semi-blandness of those parts, this is a very enjoyable thrash release that seems to get little exposure. Mortal Sin are quite uncommon especially in a thrash conversation but Mayhemic Destruction is quite the thrash release with some highly enjoyable moments, just brought down by some bland parts. Every serious thrasher should check this out though, definite quality second tier thrash.

Blood, Death, Hatred - 78%

EndlessTorment, November 3rd, 2007

In 1987, even the name Metallica was practically unknown outside of a hardcore cult following in Australia. Few people then could have possibly conceived of a Sydney band recording an album of primeval thrash metal that would bring them notice throughout the world. Mortal Sin had only played live six times when they went in to record this album in July 1986. Released six months later, "Mayhemic Destruction" captures the essence of the embryonic Australian thrash metal scene in its minimalist production values and the immediacy of its delivery. As Australia's first major metal release, this album is as important today as it was when it first appeared.

At times lyrically awkward and with a somewhat thin guitar sound, there's no denying that despite this "Mayhemic Destruction" can still be held up as a minor thrash classic. Taking their cues from both the Bay Area and the German schools of thrash, Mortal Sin came up with something that wasn't particularly original but was easily on par with anything being produced elsewhere. The epic, Metallica-inspired 'Lebanon' towers over the rest of the tracks, with only the Kreator-style title track really coming close, but it's hard to call any of the songs duds. For the most part, the lyrics are throwaway and often forced ("Stay down there with all your mates and lie yourself to death" runs one line from 'Liar') and Matt Maurer's nasally vocals a tad monotonous, but all of the songs are infectiously catchy and memorable enough that even after barely hearing them in 15 years, they came back to me while I was merely reading the lyric sheet. Had Mortal Sin let some of these tracks mature a little more before they were recorded, they could have been better still, but the most interesting thing of all is that "Mayhemic Destruction" was originally designed only as a demo. With that in mind, it's actually quite staggering to think how powerful and crushing these songs would have sounded with a decent production job.

Fun, catchy thrash - 76%

UltraBoris, January 23rd, 2003

This is a certainly enjoyable album... some of the songs are better than others, but there really isn't anything "bad" on here.

The first side is definitely the stronger side, especially the first three songs. The first is a little intro, that leads into a nice thrasher, "Women in Leather". Then, "The Battle of Lebanon" is another excellent thrasher, with some nice fucking headbanging riffs. "Terrorist guns for hire!!!"

"Liar" and "Blood, Death, Hatred" are pretty competent, though at times the choruses seem to be lacking in punch, and the riffs are a bit too self-similar in these songs. "Mortal Slaughter" is nice and fast, and "Into the Fire" is another classic. The title track is last, and is also quite good, almost matching the first few songs.

Overall, it kinda deteriorates, and the riffs are a bit similar-sounding at times, but in general it is certainly a good album. Good melody, reminiscent at times of Laaz Rockit, especially in the over-the-top riff work of some of the songs. Not bad at all.