As far as I recall, this was the first Mayhem album I had listened to when I first became curious as to what Mayhem was actually like. I remember from the first listen I was put off by everything about the album and quickly deemed that Mayhem sucked, simply because the poor production style was new to me. How wrong I was. After learning more about black metal in general, I decided to check it out again. At this point, I’m saddened that not many black metal artists are as good as early Mayhem was.
The only thing about the album that kind of put me off was the first track, “Silvester Anfang.” It’s much better to listen to when played live to get the loud and audible properties, but on this album it sounds kind of sloppy. Everything else about this album is no joke – the guitars and riffs are raw, heavy, and crushing. Manheim pounding away on the kit makes it all more enjoyable; because he doesn’t just rely on speed…he actually drums very well and offers variety. There are times where the classic chaotic blast beats are implemented into the mix; adding another splatter of Mayhem’s element of wickedness.
In my opinion, this was Maniac’s best vocal work with Mayhem. His screams of despair fit the atmosphere of the music more than on any other Mayhem album. Maniac’s gut puking screams suck you in and it’s damn near scary how he can make the music very emotional and creepy with his wailing cries. Necrobutcher’s bass is extremely fuzzy and heavily distorted, and surprisingly, its presence is shown immensely. It’s kind of hard to catch at certain fast points due to the sub-par production, but for the majority the thick pummeling sound stands out very well.
The other thing I didn’t like was the short track list. I realize this is an EP, but I wish there had been more on this album. The catchy parts of this album seem more revolved around chunk riffing than fast paced semi-thrash riffs. It’s got its pernicious and speed parts, but I find the chunky parts to be much more enjoyable. The influence of Venom shows highly, and not just in the cover of the song “Witching Hour.” Songs like “Deathcrush,” “Necrolust,” and “Pure F***ing Armageddon” show definite signs of thrash influence with fast (yet simple) tremolo picking.
Euronymous makes it all work nicely, actually. For such poor production it still manages to offer a strong, desolate, and enjoyable experience. I’d recommend it to any and all true black metal fans who can appreciate real old school black metal. I kind of wish Maniac would use the same vocal style he used on Deathcrush on all other Mayhem albums he was on, because I think Deathcrush is his best vocal work. This is an important piece of black metal history; obtain this brutal and primitive EP whenever you can.