MEAN STREAK - Blind Faith
June 28, 2017, a year ago
(ROAR: Rock Of Angels)
Fourth album from Swedish traditional metallers. This is precisely the style of music that (tragically) never gets a fair shake in North America. Smooth vocals, straight ahead, quality constructed heavy metal. If Ronnie James Dio was a wet behind the ears neophyte, people would probably just ignore him too. The Swedes (like thousands of others) owe a debt to the man who came before them, living in the niche he carved out. Witness the opening “Blood Red Sky”. A commercial chorus atop HammerFall sensibilities characterizes “Animal In Me”.
Follow-up, “Retaliation Call” gets things back on track, an aggressive, guitar driven number. Mid-tempo “Settle The Score” might as well come from the metallic haven/nation to the south, while a lively “Tear Down The Walls” sounds as Sunset Strip as the title intimates, albeit with a tasty slice of guitar in the mix. Despite the handle, “Love Is A Killer” might be the fastest (but not heaviest) tune of the eleven, with screaming, gritty guitars all the way through. While Swedish acts frequently try to emulate native son Yngwie Malmsteen, this isn't a masturbatory showcase. The clickety-clack double bass drumming of the debut returns for “Fire At Will”, which could relate to the six-strings. First single/video “Caught In The Crossfire” isn't devoid of axe swinging, lots of taping/hammer-ons, despite its 80s appeal and singable titular chorus. The disc closing “Gunnerside” jumps from the speakers, a fun-loving piece that sums what's come before. Highly recommended!