Mayhem - Deathcrush review


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Band: Mayhem
Album: Deathcrush
Release date: 1987

01. Silvester Anfang
02. Deathcrush
03. Chainsaw Gutsfuck
04. Witching Hour [Venom cover]
05. Necrolust
06. (Weird) Manheim
07. Pure Fucking Armageddon
08. Outro

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!

Written by Zombie, M.D. | 03.10.2004


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 153 users
02.02.2007 - 23:48
Account deleted
Personally I think bathory stand more responsible for creating black metal than mayhem... mayhem played a very big role though
18.06.2007 - 13:45
Erotic Stains
My first Mayhem album and it's a good one!
06.01.2008 - 21:41
it is cool that the intro to the album is made by one of the guys of tangerine dream, well at least thats the story...
20.04.2008 - 06:21
Liver Failure
amazing album.. its a legend, with classic songs that will remain forever in black metal history. Its amazing how they can create such cold atmosphere with short/fast songs. Mayhem Forever!!!

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
02.05.2019 - 11:36
Mayhem are possibly the most overrated band on the planet. Without Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer there wouldn't even be a Mayhem. Darkthrone and Satyricon are both vastly superior examples of 2nd wave BM anyway IMO.
02.05.2019 - 17:52
Written by gavdann on 02.05.2019 at 11:36

Mayhem are possibly the most overrated band on the planet.

Insurgents cut off their own fingers in protest
The songs of Zion unheard for centuries

The bitter water at Tara where
Thieves with punctured ears did drown

Such is the blood lust of these bearded hustlers
03.05.2019 - 03:40
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by gavdann on 02.05.2019 at 11:36

Mayhem are possibly the most overrated band on the planet.

Nope, that would probably be Sabaton.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996


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