Calling Mayhem “notorious” is a bit of an understatement. The harrowing live performances, the suicides and murders, the church burnings, the song title “Chainsaw Gutsfuck". (Read these stories and more in the excellent The Death Archives by John Stubberud - skip the movie with Sky, though.) It’s difficult to quantify the influence of this raw, overdub-free thrasher, but it is undeniably the first studio release by a Norwegian black metal band. This is the only release by the original lineup of Maniac, Messiah, Euronymous, Necrobutcher (aka the guy that wrote the book), and Manheim, but these misanthropes chose to begin their EP with relatively tame instrumental piece (of what would later be dubbed “Dungeon Synth") composed by Conrad Schnitzler of Tangerine Dream and Kluster. The recording is lo-fi overall - Manheim later stated that their music was “something that [the studio technician] did not know how to record” - legend has it that he just set the levels, and away they went. “Deathcrush” shows the clear influence of thrash and hardcore, “Witching Hour” is a rumbling, unrefined cover of a track by British extreme metal band Venom. An essential document of a genre that intrigues, inspires, and terrifies to this day. This LP is pressed on black vinyl and is packaged in a gatefold sleeve with full lyrics (!).
- black vinyl pressing
- gatefold sleeve with lyrics
- limited edition
- music label: Back on Black 2019
reviewed by STEWART YOUNG 06/2019