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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".