NYC Mayhem: For Real! 12"
Iron Maiden had Eddie. NYC Mayhem had Speedy. In 1985, I was in love with both bands. I ordered NYC Mayhem's "Violence" demo from a fanzine called Mutilator, done by Beyond / Quicksand guitarist Tom Capone. I sent my three dollars in the mail and received a tape back from Gordon Ancis, the guitar player. I would sit on my bed and pore over the Powerslave cover art, all its masterful intricacies. The cover of the Mayhem demo, a crude doodle, something a bored kid might draw on his desk, was just as cool. Speedy was a wild-eyed cartoon with two teeth and scratches on his face, as though heÍd been in a fight, with squiggle lines for hair. The stripped-down aesthetic of the artwork translated to the music as well. Where Iron Maiden had just released their most epic composition, "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner," nearly fourteen minutes in length, Mayhem had a song on their demo, "Body Bags," that was five seconds long. There was great metal riffing on the tape, and preposterous speed. It was the fastest thing I had ever heard. I couldn't have loved it more. This was my first tape from an underground New York Hardcore band. On the flip side of the demo, the band included a copy of one of their recent shows at CBGB's. I was transfixed by those four letters. The live show was just as good as, if not better than, the demo. Kids only a year or two older than me were making music with a power and intensity that was overwhelming. The sound on the tape was incredible. The mood was intimate. The band traded banter with the audience. CBGB's. Sitting in my room at the age of fourteen, I knew I had to go there. NYC Mayhem went on, of course, to transform into the legendary Straight Ahead. Nearly thirty years after receiving Mayhem's "Violence" demo in the mail, I've become friendly with Tommy Carroll, the singer, and I can tell you this: NYC Mayhem is the band he still talks about. The band that should have stayed together. The band that could have done something big. _ Lewis Dimmick (Our Gang), 2014
25-track LP contains all of NYC Mayhem's studio recordings: two demo tapes and their unreleased "For Real!" 7" that was to appear on Urinal Records. Also includes a 12-page full-color book containing extensive liner notes and many rare/unseen images. Limited to 500 copies.
Sorry State Records says: The latest reissue from the great Radio Raheem Records, and once again they hit it out of the park. Like their other reissues, this one is an absolutely beautiful package, with period-appropriate artwork and a big, full-color booklet featuring an extensive history of the band, photos, flyers and the like... in other words, exactly the type of thing you want to sit down with when you spin this slab. As for the music, NYC Mayhem was most famous (to me at least) because they shared two members with Straight Ahead, and over the course of this 12" you can hear them gradually developing the sound they would arguably perfect on the Straight Ahead 12" EP. The a-side begins with a June '85 demo that is pretty much raw thrash metal... the band history in the booklet explains that they were inspired by the first wave of raw European thrash metal like Venom, Sodom, Kreator, and the like, and as such it's not much different than the thousands of other demos that made the rounds in the tape-trading circles of the time. The recording is incredibly raw, and probably most interesting for thrash scholars or people really, really interested in how the band's later sound came together. Midway through the b-side of the LP you finally get to For Real!, which was to be the band's 13-song debut 7". On this session the band has worked through a lot of the more stereotypical thrash influences, brought in some of the proto-blasting hardcore of European bands like Larm and their US contemporaries like DRI, and started to work in the straight edge-style breaks that would become an increasingly large part of their sound. If you're coming to this as a Straight Ahead fan this is what you want to hear, and it definitely sounds like a rawer, formative version of that band. It's a sound that not many other bands of the time plied, and it's unique, powerful, and well worth the price of admission on its own. So, all in all this package is definitely everything you could ever hope it would be, and if you're a fan of either raw 80s thrash metal or the late 80s NYHC scene this is pretty much essential listening.
Listen to the record: NYC Mayhem: For Real! 12"
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