Review Summary: Though far from amazing, Deathcrush harks back to the crude beginnings of the Norwegian black metal scene that has become infamous today.
At one point or another, the average black metal fan has heard of Mayhem
. If you have, you know that Mayhem are notorious for the havoc that seemed to engulf them during the early days of their career, as well as the extreme form of metal they pioneered in the late 80's. The Deathcrush
EP is the debut effort of the band, issued in 1987. Although Mayhem were one of the first bands to have embarked on the path of the primitive sound of the Norwegian Black Metal movement of the 90's, it is clear on Deathcrush
that some elements of death metal are present throughout the album. These death metal nuances are most visibly incarnated in the riffage of Euronymous, as well as the gore-laden, gruesome lyrics.
Mayhem had set out to release music that would distinguish themselves from the popular death metal acts of the time, which the band had come to despise. Of course it can be expected as this was one of the first true albums of its kind that they had yet to fully develop the sound they sought. Thus, the death metal influence. It is clear on the band's next studio effort, the landmark De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
, that Mayhem had accomplished what they had originally intended, as well as gained the sound they were after. As mentioned previously, the lyrics are a big reason this album leans toward the death metal side. Mostly they focus on gore, and it strikes my curiousity as to whether or not Mayhem's lyrics were an influence on Cannibal Corpse. For example, Deathcrush
's title track. (You tell me what Cannibal Corpse song it reminds you of...)
Demonic laughter your cremation
Your lungs gasp for air but are filled with blood
A sudden crack as I crushed your skull
Mayhem were never known for virtuosity. As far as the band's individual performance, singers Maniac and Messiah do a good job. Messiah is the better of the two by far as he gives a much more manic performance. Both vocalists' use of harsh rasps and screams accent the music well, although I prefer Dead, their legendary successor. Manheim's main objective seems to be as fast and chaotic as possible behind the drums, however his slower work is found on Chainsaw Gutsfuck
and adds a sinister feel to the song. The only track the percussion actually stands out on is Silvester Anfang
, in which all Manheim succeeds in doing is annoy the listener. Necrobutcher's bass is deliberately turned down so it is for the most part inaudible. Expect heavy guitars riffing under indecipherable lyrics about rotting corpses and entrails. Most people complain of a lack of talent when it comes to black metal bands (as well as many other kinds of metal bands) such as Mayhem. Personally I don't listen to Mayhem or Darkthrone for awe-inspiring solos or catchy choruses, I listen to them for the aggression, chaos, and well, mayhem. The music is raw, energetic, memorable enough to inspire headbanging.
A track-by-track review would be pointless considering this EP is a mere 18 minutes long. In my opinion it stands up to Mayhem's studio follow up in all categoriest except length and complexity. As a whole, Deathcrush
has its ups and downs. If you are attracted to early black metal, this is necessary to have in your collection. If not, turn another stone. However, some solid advice I can give for a person of either of the two aforementioned groups: Don't waste your time and money buying a $20 import online unless you really like this. A hard copy will be tough to find at an affordable price for such a brief release, but if you want to get this without spending too much I recommend buying it on iTunes ($5.94).
-Vocals (Maniac on tracks 2,3,4,5/Messiah on 4 and 7)
-Production is not unlistenable (picky listeners only)
-Too much filler: Silvester Anfang, (Weird) Manheim, the odd "Outro" track
-Less substance than De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Pure F*cking Armageddon