Review Summary: A piece of history, but it's highly subjective to measure its value.
When I got this on vinyl, I had very mixed feelings about this particular album. Productionwise, this perfectly represents a typical raw, low-quality recording - which is completely normal from a rehearsal demo recorded in '89. Even though the reason of releasing this in 2019 could seem a questionable decision for some, but personally, since I am an enthusiastic fan of the legendary/infamous lineup, I'm glad for the opportunity I could enlarge my vinyl collection with this one.
The "henhouse", actually a small cottage located on the Stubberud estate (now belongs to Jørn/Necrobutcher), was a rather important place in the band's early status, being a small and isolated realm for them, where the band could spend their free time as they wished to. It offered a great place especially for rehearsals - so, basically an opportunity for creative processes like songwriting, or: just a place for boozing and fun! The original video tape immortalized one of these few rehearsals with the mighty lineup (Dead, Euro', Necro', Hellhammer), giving us insights about how did these lads spend their time together. The audio quality is very low, even if measured by black metal standards, and everything was recorded via one single microphone. Due to the not very wise mic location and the technically zero volume adjustment, especially the vocals are barely audible and the audio suffers from other issues as well. However, every track is clearly recognizable, and with small EQ adjustments, I dare to say, enjoyable. The guitars are sharp and stands as the most dominant instrument, but the rhythm section sounds pretty decent as well, despite the demo-level of audio quality. The setlist contains the most iconic songs by Mayhem, with a little surprise: the "bonus", most interesting track can be found on side B, listed as 'Untitled'. This short song was written by Euronymous, but lost in oblivion for years. However, it later surfaced in '97 on Emperor's second LP, 'Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk', as the opener of Ye Entrancemperium
. (Euronymous was credited as songwriter.)
Even though the Henhouse Recordings
suffers from the low budget and low quality recording, this is a classic piece for the hardcore Mayhem fans. Why? Because the captured atmosphere is like a portal to the past. It's as if you could be there: sitting in the cottage...drinking beer while watching your beloved band rehearse... This is special!