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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.