Not sure why exactly Mayhem opted out on a US tour with Ludicra. Quite lame of them, really, seeing as audiences are deprived of witnessing the all-time legends of tr00 Norwegian black metal sharing a stage with some Bay Area veterans who were undoubtedly inspired by Mayhem in the first place. I like to think that Mayhem cancelled because they knew that if Ludicra were at their best, America would have triumphed and rendered the Norwegians irrelevant once and for all. That’s probably not the case, but whatever. It’s a nice thing to believe.
With that in mind, let’s go back to a time when Mayhem was an underground metal band who may very well have jumped at the opportunity to spread the word across the United States alongside their American black metal brethren. Deathcrush, their vinyl debut (which you already knew), is how I prefer to remember Mayhem. Bad recording, inept musicianship, and not giving a damn either way. Back in 1987, Mayhem were still a bunch of drunken heshers kicking up a godawful racket like the Venom and Bathory fans that they were. Their image wasn’t anything to take seriously. Their ideas and convictions had yet to fully form. But this record still made a loud enough noise to spark a flame that eventually became the Scandinavian black metal scene.
The opening riff to the classic title track still gets my goat to this day. Let it get yours too. Let it make you forget about the cover band who carries on the name and pusses out on testing their mettle (no pun intended) against the mighty Ludicra. Then make sure to go see Ludicra on tour in the gods’ country next month.