Summon Thy Demons

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. King Of The Infinite Void
02. Through The Eyes Of The Ancient Gods
03. Summon Thy Demons
04. What Is Dead May Never Die
05. De Mysteriis Immortui
06. Beneath The Sea Of Silence
07. On Earth As In Hell
08. Blackness Fell Upon The World
09. Dark Spirit Rising
10. The End Of Everything

If you blinked, you probably missed MEZZROW's first act. Emerging from the Swedish metal scene in the late '80s, they released one excellent album — "Then Came The Killing" (1990) — and split up a couple years later. Aside from one brief reunion in 2005, little has been heard from them since, but that ends here, with the first fruits of a 2021 reformation. Classily produced and utterly vicious from beginning to end, "Summon Thy Demons" is one hell of a comeback.

Led by original vocalist Uffe Pettersson, this new incarnation of MEZZROW sounds close enough to the sound of "Then Came the Killing" to reassure diehard fans. But "Summon Thy Demons" has the kind of grand, pristine production and punishing presence that simply wasn't available to (with respect) third-tier thrash bands three decades ago. As a result, the opening "King Of The Infinite Void" sounds more like a debut's opening clarion call than any kind of follow-up. MEZZROW deal in honest, unpretentious thrash metal, with a strong melodic streak redolent of VICIOUS RUMORS and an intensity that echoes fellow countrymen like THE HAUNTED. Despite all that, "Summon Thy Demons" sounds distinctive too; partly thanks to Pettersson's reliably gruff and impetuous vocals, but also because these songs never meander toward cliché.

Mostly, however, "Summon Thy Demons" delivers a relentless flurry of fists to the face. "Through The Eyes Of The Ancient Gods" weaves gothic discord into a prolonged, heads-down sprint to the finish. The title track is a bullying, mid-paced stomp, with unashamed shades of early METALLICA. "What Is Dead May Never Die" is a perfect blast of thrash purism, replete with a ragged melodic chorus. MEZZROW branch out a little when the time is right, too. "Beneath The Sea Of Silence" still hits its thrash marks, but the atmosphere is dark and cinematic. "On Earth As In Hell" is malevolent and venomous like prime POSSESSED. "Blackness Fell Upon The Earth" is tinged with prog metal pomp, and boasts a seemingly endless parade of sublime lead breaks.

Ultimately, MEZZROW have delivered a really strong, modern and malicious thrash record, with hooks galore and 33 years of pent-up aggression channeled into pure headbang fodder for the (presumably grateful) masses. It also sounds like the first of many more. So you may blink with impunity this time.

Author: Dom Lawson
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