Shirt Stains: Mayhem and Cheese Sandwich


On white bread, of course.

Like many metalheads, my introduction to Mayhem was not their music, but with their crimes and notoriety. To many young and impressionable minds, hearing about the band committing arson and murder was an exciting gateway into the dangerous world of heavy metal. For me, it was a big nope. Add in band members’ racist and anti-semitic statements and use of Nazi imagery, it’s a double mega-nope sandwich.

Despite this, Mayhem seems to still get a pass. They are revered for being at the forefront of the black metal genre despite (or maybe because of) never growing out of their teenage dipshit years. It is what it is. Some people like ignorant hardcore, others like ignorant black metal. People can justify their likes and preferences because everything is negotiable, whether it’s the tried and true “seperate the art from the artist” argument or the “metal is supposed to be dangerous” fallacy. I’m sure the Goathammer Jizzbloods and Blasphemous Axecrotches of the world will have calm, reasonable responses to these sentiments as well as these shitty Mayhem shirts below.


Here we have a Mayhem tour shirt…oh, excuse me, a “MAYHEM the True Mayhem” tour t-shirt. You, hear that fake Mayhem? The True Mayhem are on to you and they are going to give you such a pinch the next time they see you! You don’t even want to know what they’ll do to the Allstate Mayhem guy. Probably give him a pinch too while muttering something racist under their breath.

It’s amazing that they managed to cram so much on the front of the shirt and still manage to have plenty of space. We’ve got the band name (and the clarification on the band name), the comma-less location of Oslo Norway, the year of the band’s existence which became completely moot on January 1st, 2016, not one but two brass-knuckle/knife combos that look like they were purchased at a flea market next to a guy selling bootleg fireworks and porn, a totally spooky skull and cross bones, and the teeniest tiniest “PURE FUCKING ARMAGEDDON.” It’s adorable! Like it wants to be all tough and grim, but it’s kind of shy and embarrassed. Surely the  back of the shirt will bring some eye relief.

“EYE RELIEF IS FOR PUSSIES XOXOX THE TRUE MAYHEM LOLOLOLOL!” The band is aware that you don’t have to try to fill every single space on the shirt, right? Yes, a tour shirt should have the dates and tour name on it and yes, it sure is nice of Mayhem to include Watain and Rotting Christ as well. Does it need the symbols? No. Does it need Mayhem’s name on the shirt for a third time? No. Does it need “MAYHEM ACROSS UNITED STATE OF AMERICA”? No, but why stop there? Why don’t we have some more brass knuckle knives? We could use a few more inverted crosses. How about a picture of Hellhammer passed out naked on the toilet? Get creative, Mayhem!

Oh, I get it. This is the shirt with all the leftover stuff they couldn’t cram on to that first tour shirt. Nice inverted crucifix hat trick. Satanic Gordie Howe would be proud. He’d also love that you specified that this shirt is for the “Canadian Legion”. You hear that, New Zealand? This shirt isn’t for you! There’s actually five inverted crucifixes if you include the two in Mayhem’s logo. Isn’t more than one overkill at this point? Like, we get it. You’re spoopy and totes evil and not just some band that’s had almost 20 members. You’re really giving Motograter a run for their money, guys.

Jesus, was there a sale on inverted crucifixes at the design studio? I actually hope someone converted to Christianity after seeing this shirt. Maybe they had a giggle too at the Jolly Roger-style skull. “Yaarr, we’re Mayhem and you’re going to walk the plank for Satan! Arrrr!” While the sheer magnitude of stuff on the back of the shirt doesn’t compare to the previous one, the sickly vomit mustard color still makes me nauseous. It’s like they saw an old McDonald’s happen and said “yup, that’s the color we want for our Canadian fans! No, no, don’t put a maple leaf on it or a hockey puck. Just put some skulls and shit on there and use this festering pus color. The kids will love it.

They loved the color of jaundice so much that they used it for their long sleeve tour shirt. The bird is fine, though not sure why it needs to hold both an inverted crucifix and a homemade bone crucifix. Mayhem Bird is “DIY OR DIE” motherfuckers! He probably has a classy Burzum back patch that he asked his mom to sew on his dungaree jacket…I mean, battle vest.

I can’t decide whether I’m happy or sad that they didn’t put their logo or some other symbol on both sleeves multiple times. On the one hand, it’s a terrible look, so not doing that is good. On the other hand, it that means that someone somewhere put actual thought into these designs, so that’s bad. Kind of like free frogurt having potassium benzoate.

More of the same, but without those pesky things called “colors”.

You…you alright, buddy? I dunno, you’re looking a little…smudgey or something. Kinda low-fi and blurry, like someone drew you on a sticky-note in pencil and then just rubbed their greasy thumb all over it. Even your logo is looking a little sad. It’s saying “Yeah, we’re dark and whatever. Mom, can you make us some pizza bagels. Pepperoni if we got anyway.” Then it whispers “bitch” under its breath.

I want to trademark the inverted crucifix just so Mayhem can never use it again without paying me a shitload of money. They’ve used up their inverted crucifix priveleges and ruined it for the rest of it. Sorry, other black metal bands and angsty teens. If you’re mad, talk to Mayhem about it. It’s their fault. Maybe if they really think about what they’ve done and apologized to everyone, I’ll reconsider.

On second thought, no, you’re never getting it back. Go to the principle’s officer, Mayhem. We’re going to call your parents and have a meeting after the final bell with the school psychologist.

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  • Óðinn

    • holy shit i’m going to start bootlegging those

      • You were not wrong, Integrity’s Die With Your Boots On was killer.

  • Never understood much about these guys. They always looked like they were trying too hard.



  • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

    Mayhem is to this day the only metal band that I’ve walked out of their show

    • Butt y tho?

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        Simply put, they bored me.

        There are only two Mayhem songs that I think are worthwhile (y’all know which ones; both start with “F”) and they opened with one of them (you never open with your strongest/most popular material). In all fairness, it wasn’t their fault that I had to get up really early the next day. It was their fault, however, that I didn’t consider their show worthy of feeling drowsy all day the next day

        • dan

          Both times I’ve seen them they were technically perfect, but bored me.

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I’m going to crash this Mayhem hateboner party with one 100% accurate statement:



    • GoatForest

      This article has saddened me. Black metal 4eva, G! Seriously though, these shirts do indeed suck, but what is there possibly to not love about Mayhem’s Euronymous era music?

  • Max

    Most of these shirts are pretty bad. It’s a common design fault in modern Mayhem shirts that the logo is often backgrounded by using a faint grey colour, while other parts of the illustration are foregrounded by use of vivid white. Dunno why they do that. They’re better when they stick to simpler designs like the Deathcrush shirt.

    But for me, they’ll always be a massive influence and a favourite band. I don’t care how problematic; the music is just too good.

  • Óðinn

    They get their shirts done at the same place as Avenged Sevenfold.

  • Dumpster Lung

    That very last one with the smudgy skull thing actually isn’t bad, but it doesn’t feel like it fits them very well specifically. It’s still such a relief after those other monstrosities, though 😛