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Then Came The Killing

Sweden Country of Origin: Sweden

Then Came The Killing
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 1990
Label: Active Records
Genre: Thrash
1. Then Came The Killing
2. Ancient Terror
3. The Final Holocaust
4. Frozen Soul
5. Distant Death
6. Prevention Necessary
7. Where Death Begins
8. The Cross Of Torment

Review by Felix on April 13, 2022.

32 years after the original release, a recycling company for reusable metallic materials throws “Then Came the Killing” back on the market. Well, due to the significant lack of thrash bands today, this action surely makes sense. But irony aside, I like it pure and therefore I focus on the vinyl from 1990 with its playtime of compact 35 minutes.

Mezzrow play generic yet pretty exciting thrash and the opening title track with its catchy chorus, its dynamic riffs and its clear configuration does not only set the frame for the following songs. It is also the highlight of the album. The five-piece delivers a track of pinpoint precision, with excellently arranged background shouts, high velocity parts, a vigorous, natural voice and Exodus-influenced lyrics. Music-wise, this song documents the inspiring force of Metallica’s best album (“Ride the Lightning”, of course). Or should I say “of Metallica’s only great album”? Better not, I don’t need a shitstorm today.

Similar to their idols, Mezzrow vary the tempo and broad parts of “The Final Holocaust”, for example, wallow in mid-tempo rhythms that spread some Testament vibes (fortunately some of the better ones, none of albums like “Souls of Black”). I find myself a few times wishing for a little more anger, unbridled power and fire. Anyway, good riffs can compensate for a lot and “Then Came the Killing” can brag about a lot of them. In addition, the rasping and sawing guitar tone marks the best element of an edgy and resolute sound. No matter of course, considering that the first thrash wave produced a lot of classics but was already dying down by 1990. “The American Way” or “In Search of Sanity” made clear that the process of dilapidation had begun. Therefore, Mezzrow’s Bay Area import from Sweden tasted (and still tastes) traditional and refreshing at the same time. Geographically speaking, Mezzrow picked up where Agony had left off. Just like the songs on “The First Defiance”, the conventionally designed material of “Then Came the Killing” did not search for new niches. Instead, the Scandinavians wanted to show that they did not stand in the shadow of the US Americans and this approach worked, although monuments like “Hell Awaits” or “Bonded by Blood” naturally could not be reached.

Mezzrow’s honest debut remained a sort of one-hit-wonder and that’s sad in view of band’s musical substance. All songs score with coherence, they are quickly accessible and shape an absolutely homogeneous overall picture. Yes, there are two or three lines that do not deliver the ultimate excitement, to say it diplomatically, but mostly brilliant tracks like "Frozen Soul". Anyway, each and every band that started lovely Sweden’s transformation to one of the most important suppliers in terms of pretty extreme metal has its merits. Thus, it has felt good to rediscover this album which delivers no gram of fat, just pure, mid-harsh thrash.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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