In an age before the internet and rapid communication ideas travelled a lot slower meaning a country like Australia was fairly isolated. Tucked far away in the corner of the globe, a small but dedicated thrash scene took root revolving around Sydney band Mortal Sin. Formed in 1985 their isolation soon became a boon and, like some strange new species, they developed into something wholly original. After years of toiling in bawdy outback boozers the band released their debut album, Mayhemic Destruction, in 1986 (1987 internationally) and was strong enough to gain the band some global recognition.
By 1987 thrash metal reached a fork in the road, one path led to a more melodic style pioneered by Metallica (Master Of Puppets) while the other was far more gritty and Teutonic in nature (Sodom, Kreator). Mortal Sin took the second option, and those who like their thrash nasty and laced with barbs will find a spiritual home in the aptly titled Mayhemic Destruction. An instrumental of crushing brutality is ‘The Curse’ and, marching like an invading army, it sets the tone for what’s to follow over the next 35 minutes. Thrash was not designed to be nice or cute and ‘The Curse’ gets right in the listener’s face and is as nasty as you like. ‘Women In Leather’ follows and, despite its dubious title, is an all-out thrasher that’s characterised by lots of neat time changes and the interplay between guitarists Paul Carwana and Keith Krstin is top notch and finds the pair riffing in tandem and then trading blistering solos.
The album’s rudimentary production is a definite plus point and you can hear the squeak of Wayne Campbell’s drum pedals and Andy Eftichiou’s fingers plucking the bass strings. And while we’re on the subject of the bass, it’s bold as brass and prominent in the mix, and often to the point of eclipsing the guitars! This has the effect of giving Mayhem Destruction added weight and the bass and drums combine to give tracks such as ‘Liar’ the impact of a juggernaut punch. If you’re a fan of fast and furious thrash then ‘Blood, Death, Hatred’ won’t disappoint and will have you salivating even before the first note rings out. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, it causes all sorts of chaos with some serious double-kick drumming and buzzsaw guitars.
Much was made of the merger of punk and metal into “crossover” in the late ‘80s but Mortal Sin managed to meld them without really trying. Mayhemic Destruction has the attitude and energy of the former while displaying the dizzying musicianship of the latter. However, Mortal Sin veer more towards metal but those hardcore influences are worn on their collective sleeve, and you can trace a clea’r lineage to bands such as The Exploited and Amebix. While Mat Maurer wasn’t the worlds most versatile vocalist he does a grand job on this record and unleashes some glass-shattering shrieks on ‘Mortal Slaughter’ before introducing demonic, deathlike growls on the bruising title track. It makes for a fitting closer and while, at a mere 35 minutes, this may be a brief album, it certainly leaves you hungry for more.
Originally recorded in three days as an eight track demo Mayhemic Destruction had a rough-hewn charm that won the band great favour from magazines such as Kerrang! and Metal Forces. It was a sparkling start to a career that later stuttered to a halt but in the late ‘80s Mortal Sin could do no wrong and their next release, Face Of Despair, (also re-issued via Cherry Red/Dissonance) could easily rival this bombastic debut.
- Reviewed by Peter Dennis.
- Mayhemic Destruction is released via Cherry Red Records/Dissonance Productions on 24th June 2022.
- The Curse
- Women In Leather
- Blood, Death, Hatred
- Mortal Slaughter
- Into The Fire
- Mayhemic Destruction