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Mayhem Inc.

Mayhem Inc.

Antiquity and yesteryear are concepts that way upon everyone in some regard whether it be […]
By Quinten Serna
October 18, 2021
Mayhem Inc. - Mayhem Inc. album cover

Antiquity and yesteryear are concepts that way upon everyone in some regard whether it be a reflection of the self or of a memory shared between multiple persons and such is the subject of the band MAYHEM INC. the Chicago outfit that ran rampant in the mid 80s has had their demos and live material compiled into a single CD in a 500 print limited run from Sonic Age Records.

Starting off with the original track on 1984's Demo 1, MAYHEM INC. opens up with "Predator" a Thrash heavy track interlaced with some melodic progressions and a killer solo, the whole of the track is rife with nostalgia of mid 80s Thrash. "Matter In The Universe" immediately breaks the mold and opens with a clean progression overlaid with intricate leads and eventually replaced with somber vocals thereafter the track follows a more intense and fully driven modulation of the progressions complete with wailing vocals and a headbanging groove; the "Live" version is significantly faster which makes the solo all the more impressive. The eponymous "Mayhem" features a chilling introduction followed by arpeggios that immediately grabs your attention, with the rest of the song having a ferocity that matches the buildup exactly with the "Live" version being on par. "Terror Till The Dawn" is as much a Thrash single if ever there was one, it checks on the boxes on the headbanging list and stays with you hours after it finishes.

The fidelity of the tracks is subject to question but everything was made on a budget... in the 80s, the precision of the instruments is of no debate and the energy captured definitely makes one feel that they're at a live show. There are stark distinctions between each track based on where and when it was recorded with a couple exceptions being "Armored Attack" and "Past Life" as I can't find any previous release or recording information available for either song making them extreme rarities. The guitars and bass manage to be discrete from one another exceptionally well at least in the studio sessions, they have a lo-fi sound to them signature of budget recording, but a grit that just never ends; the drums are well balanced but have such a saturated tone to them that they blend into each other as well as the rest of the band each crash sounding like its clipping harshly despite how miniscule it is in the mix, the live songs sounding extremely closed in and far back; the vocals are one of the most impressive aspects of the entire compilation standing out in near every track  albeit with the exception of the live recordings.

Mayhem Inc. is a treasure trove of Classic Trash coming from one of Chicago's most notorious acts out of the 80s, the sheer notion that these tracks are out there for distribution is astounding considering their floating in obscurity for 3 and a half decades and no one knowing whatever happened to the master tapes. For anyone who was there for MAYHEM INC. this album is essential and for everyone else in the world it's a look into what once was.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

Songwriting

9

Musicianship

9

Memorability

10

Production

6
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"Mayhem Inc." Track-listing:

1. Predator
2. Matter in The Universe
3. Insanity Controls
4. Mayhem
5. Terror till The Dawn
6. Armored Attack
7. Past Life
8. Terror till The Dawn (Alternate Version)
9. Left for The Dead (Live)
10. Mayhem (Live)
11. Insanity Controls (Live)
12. Predator (Live)
13. Armored Attack (Live)
14. Past Life (Live)
15. Terror till The Dawn (Live)
16. Matter in The Universe (Live)
17. Hellfire (Live)

Mayhem Inc. Lineup:

Ron Holstein - Bass
Bill Schmidt - Drums (1984)
Jimmy Smith - Drums (1983-1984, 1985-1986)
Louie Svitek - Guitars
Dell Williamson - Vocals

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