Company: Black Lodge Release: 2011 Genre: Power Reviewer: EC
Matured and grown with their formula
I can honestly say that I wasn't terribly impressed with Mean Streak's debut last year. That record just fell well short of the mark, a high rung indeed considering the influx in Swedish talent. While the debut had some good vocals, decent production and a glossy packaging the end result was just par for the course. Mean Streak apparently felt the same way.
These Swedes went back to the boards, recruiting new guitarists Patrik Gardbert (Solution 45) and David Anderson (Soilwork). This is a huge step in the right direction as this duo has perfect timing, a steadfast buffet of excellent grooves, Accept's thundering guitar and once again great production. "Declaration Of War" is a continuation of Mean Streak's classy power metal sound evident on the debut but it does more with songwriting and melodies.
Fans of heavier Swedish power should roll with this. Easily newer acts like Savage Messiah, Lecher and Bloodbound come to mind with this sort of bombastic sound. I love the retro writing on "In For The Kill" with its perfect Sinner/Accept styled chorus. A lot of the songs on this album have that larger than life 80s chorus, a gang-like chant that was the trademark of those German bands. The title track opener has a similar feel to modern Saxon, modern production values tied to that true tradition. The really interesting facet for me was the slight experimentation, evident with the strong epic "The Oblation", a neat track with some spoken parts and "marching battle" drums.
With a great cover, efficient songs and the recent spin on Bruce Dickinson's radio show Mean Streak are indeed riding a hot streak. These guys have matured and grown with their formula. This is polished heavy metal class that should become relevant in a crowded scene. Hats off to the guys for employing a change leading to improvement overall.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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