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MEAN STREAK Blind Faith

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Monday, May 1, 2017 @ 4:01 PM


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MEAN STREAK
Blind Faith

HighVolMusic (USA), 2017




In an increasingly uncertain world where stability is rare and traditions are being lost, it is most reassuring when every now and again somebody keeps certain values alive. Too abstract? Here's a concrete example.

Swedish metallers MEAN STREAK, founded by bassist Peter Andersson in 2008, stand for traditional, classic heavy metal that, according to the biography on the band's website , comes “straight from the heart”, which is something that generally goes down extremely well, not just over here in Europe but also in Japan. It is therefore hardly surprising that the Swedes' 2009 debut was met with a lot of interest, received good reviews in some of the leading magazines and got a fair amount of airplay, including on Bruce Dickinson's Rock Show on BBC 6.

Now, eight years later, MEAN STREAK's fourth studio album called Blind Faith will be on the shelves in Europe on June 2, in Japan on May 31 and in the USA on June 16. The ingredients of MEAN STREAK's latest opus are exactly what you expect from a band dedicated to “classic metal”: driving up-tempo beats, neck-breaking mid-tempo grooves, virtuoso guitar shredding, long drawn-out epic melodies and soaring vocals.

Already the opener, “Blood Red Sky”, contains quite a number of those elements: this is traditional heavy metal indeed, up-tempo, bordering on power metal, uber melodic and it leaves out no cliché, including the high pitched note at the end of the last chorus – and this is meant in the most positive way. The second track, “Animal In Me”, pretty much represents the slower, mid-tempo groover with a shout-along chorus, while number three, “Retaliation Call”, brings in some fast and heavy galloping and an extremely catchy chorus. “Settle The Score” is rhythmically a bit more progressive and stands out with its intriguing middle section, while the mid-tempo rocker “Tear Down The Walls” is probably the most relentless one of the several earworms on that album. The epic, keyboard-laden intro to “Fire At Will” – you know what's coming next – is followed by speedy heavy metal attack whose end is somewhat reminiscent of JUDAS PRIEST during their Painkiller days. After the more commercially appealing and catchier mid-tempo track “Caught In The Crossfire”, “Gunnerside” concludes the album with yet another heavy metal onslaught in true classic fashion.

Admittedly, there are no surprises on Blind Faith and you can always sense what's coming next. However, suprising and innovative moments would probably be besides MEAN STREAK's intention anyway. Instead, Blind Faith brings back and revives traditional heavy metal formulas with all their aesthetics and clichés – and again, this is meant in the most positive way. Within the given parameters of the genre, the songs are inspired and abound in ideas. Far from sounding old-fashioned, the album comes across as fresh and powerful, which is not only due to the superb musical craftsmanship of Peter Andersson (bass, background vocals), Andy LaGuerin (lead vocals and guitars), Thomas “PLEC” Johansson (guitars) and Jonas Källsbäck (drums and background vocals) but also to Max Norman (OZZY OSBOURNE, ARMORED SAINT, MEGADETH, Y&T), who, together with Peter Andersson, co-produced and mixed the album.

This album is not only recommended to those who can't cope with the world's instabilities but also to everyone looking for a fresh approach to solid, hand-crafted, classic heavy metal. If you're looking for innovation, though, you might be disappointed.

4.0 Out Of 5.0

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