Mayhem - Deathcrush review
01. Silvester Anfang
03. Chainsaw Gutsfuck
04. Witching Hour [Venom cover]
06. (Weird) Manheim
07. Pure Fucking Armageddon
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 influential 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 aggression, 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 military 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 beginning of this song. It later picks up to the hyper speed 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, similar 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 didn't 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 (I'm not saying "De Mysertiis Dom Sathanas" was a bad album though). I mean, sure, the production isn't perfect on this album, but I have heard FAR worse production jobs in my day.
This is one of the most influential black metal releases ever. There is no snobbish synth (by snobbish, I mean symphonic), no acoustic interludes, no folk elements, none of that crap here. 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 8, but since it was SO influential, that brought it up to a 9. The only thing holding it back from being flawless is the length, it's just not long enough!
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