Mezzrow – Then Came The Killing (Reissue Review)

Release Date: May 15th 2022 - Hammerheart Records

Mezzrow - Then Came The Killing

Back in 1987, 5 guys from Nyköping, Sweden got together with a common love for thrash metal in a time and place that did not. Members of the band from out of a couple of small bands like Necromancy and R.I.P solidified to form Mezzrow. Interestingly, the band name is derived from a cool-sounding jazz musician that Zebba was reading about in the paper at the time, Mezz Mezzrow, a clarinetist and saxophonist out of Chicago, Illinois.

These Scandinavian thrash monsters are Steffe Karlsson (Drums), Zebba Karlsson (Guitars), Staffe Karlsson (Guitars, Vocals), Conny Whelon, and Ulf “Uffe” Pettersson (Bass). Nicke Andersson (bass) was a full-time member prior to the recording of the album and Conny left before the recording of Demo 1991. At one time two of the members used to be drummers in this band or others but swapped to a stringed instrument to fill that gap, so now the band consists of three drummers.

This re-release of “Then Came The Killing” (1990) comes out with a collection of their demos, The Frozen Soul Demos (1988), the Cross of Tormention (1989), and Demos 1991 (1991). TCTK was originally brought out by Active records. This record is now brought out by Hammerheart Records.

They lived and breathed thrash favoring this style over the up-and-coming popular styles like grunge and death metal. At the time major influencers were Metallica, Venom, Exciter, Judas Priest, and Testament. This can be heard heavily in their music. They were trying to achieve a Bay Area thrash sound on the album, which they managed to achieve with the Bay Area tone ingrained well within. Some have given criticism for it being a little too much like what they were after, and perhaps not defining themselves more.

As they played and practiced they become more accomplished in their skills. With these greater talents, we might have extra-musical influences crop up in the album, but due to circumstances, they were only able to bring out the one album.

Vocals on the album suit the style of the album hand in hand. Apparently, the recording took a lot of strain on the vocal cords because they did a number of songs in one day while they recorded TCTK. To the general ear, he held up well.

This album runs wild from the start. Rampant. Energetic. Thrash-tastic. Sliding riffs, headbanging crunching tones, and solos peeking up here and there The solos sound fresh and unique and are there to add depth to the song rather than showcasing the lead guitarist’s ego. Guitar tones are solid and well expressed. Bass guitar crops up in the intro to “Prevention Necessary” like a prairie dog just popping up for a quick chat before disappearing into the chambers of the burrows.

It is a non-stop album that sticks to the roots of good ol’ thrash. With few takes on trying to play with different tempos and sounds, the riffs are generally based on the fast bar chords rather than playing around the neck and giving us some memorable picked-out riffs that involved more than two strings. When you think they were inspired by the likes of Metallica and Testament who, not only played with vigorous pace, they slowed things down and played some unique arrangements. This gave the album extra depth and made each song unique. While TCTK has a powerful velocity it doesn’t stop to doing a few donuts in the dust. Having said that, this album sieves what they liked about the style and wrote songs in that fashion.

“Prevention Necessary” leads all of them to the microphone for a chanting chorus effect. “Echoes of Damnation” stands out for the melodic vocal style and use of more complex guitar arrangements. “Then Came the Killing” is a worthy track for the album with a fast and furious style befitting the album.

Unfortunately for them, they brought out their album in a country that didn’t give the thrash genre much attention at the time and other genres of rock were gearing up for dominance. Grunge began to emerge amongst angst-driven youths with its ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude against a world that seemed to be consumed by the dislike for one another and death metal took over leaving the band in the dark. This created some hard times from the start. Considering the amount of effort it takes to create an album, the band dissolved in ’94, as they were unable to secure a record contract.

Sadly, Staffe Karlsson passed away in 2018 from colon cancer. There is some material lying around that he wrote for which the band are wanting to add to it and bring it out. Keep your eyes out.

This is an album you’ll want in your collection. It has all the hallmarks of a ‘Thrash or Die’ attitude, which you’ll need to listen to if you are a fan of the style. After all, it was created by people influenced by it in the first place.


  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
  9. Inner Devastation


The Frozen Soul Demos

  1. Frozen Soul
  2. Prevention Necessary
  3. Resurrection of the Beast

The Cross of Tormention Demo 

  1. The Cross of Tormention
  2. Ancient Terror
  3. Final Holocaust
  4. Inner Devastation

Demo 1991 

  1. Silent Extinction
  2. Echoes of Damnation
  3. Blind Belief
  4. Segregation of the Masses

Mezzrow: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: Hammerheart Records
Category: 2CD (Album & Demos)
Country: Sweden

Reviewed by Byron Lotz