Apocalyptic Raids is the only EP by Swiss extreme metal band Hellhammer, recorded in West Berlin in March 1984 and released the same month through Noise Records. This work marked the debut as a bass player for Martin Eric Ain, who had previously recorded the choirs on the Satanic Rites demo (1983) and who improved the lyrics of the songs as English was his native language. Upon its release, it received mediocre reviews, although after the dissolution of the group it would receive recognition from subsequent artists, who would even cover some of its songs.
The EP would be reissued several times and would incorporate two songs recorded for the compilation album Death Metal (1984). The 2020 reissue reached the top 40 on the Swiss and German charts, and was dedicated to the memory of Ain, who passed away in 2017. Over time, various publications have ranked it as one of the best black metal works.
Satanic Rites (1983) was the first demo without original bassist Steve Warrior who had been fired by guitarist/vocalist Tom Warrior for his growing disinterest in the band. Following his departure, the band was replaced by Mike Owens, who stayed only three weeks because Hellhammer was not the group that suited his style; Martin Eric Ain, who only participated in two rehearsals and who decided to leave because he did not think it was good enough and Stephen Priestly, who had previously replaced drummer Bruce Day for three weeks and that at the time of recording Satanic Rites he preferred to go shopping with his mother. Martin Eric Ain had maintained his relationship with Tom Warrior and Day, and was present at the sessions, he co-produced the demo, wrote some of his lyrics and recorded some backing vocals, although the fact that he had barely rehearsed meant that Warrior was the one to play bass. According to the vocalist: "We spent the whole day discussing what had happened and after getting tired of unworthy musicians, we realized that Martin would be the ultimate Hellhammer bassist. It was fate. There was no alternative, neither for him nor for us."
On March 1, 1984, Warrior, Day and Ain traveled by overnight train from Zurich to West Berlin to record their first EP, meanwhile their amps and instruments would be driven by ex-bassist Steve Warrior. Arriving in the German capital, the group signed a contract with Noise Records and between March 2 and 7 they recorded the four songs from the EP and two more for the Death Metal compilation at the Caet studio in Kreuzberg. The sound engineer was Horst Müller, who according to the members of the group, needed to smoke marijuana before starting work, also according to Warrior «we insisted that we were the only ones who knew what Hellhammer had to sound like, so we produced the sessions, despite the fact that none of us really knew what the term "producer" encompassed". better production, but we underestimate their experience. In those moments, Horst was fantastic. When we got back to Switzerland and heard the production, we knew it was flawed.” According to Ain, Müller pointed out to him that he had problems with Bruce Day because of his sense of timing and his precision. The bassist later remarked that "we had gone to Berlin with the belief that we were going to create our definitive work. And we came back feeling exactly the opposite."
The EP was originally going to be made up of re-recordings of three Satanic Rites songs: "Triumph of Death", "The Third of the Storms (Evoked Damnation)" and "Maniac", although eventually the trio replaced the latter with a sped-up track. called «Massacra» and in