Mean Streak: Blind Faith (ROAR - Rock of Angels Records)
Sweden's Mean Streak play classic 80's heavy metal that occasionally adds hard rock and AOR touches, probably because guitarist David Andersson and drummer Jonas Källsbäck also play in the slightly higher profile unashamedly 80's Night Flight Orchestra. Where as songs such as Fire At Will and Love Is A Killer feature some explosive fretwork and rampaging rhythms others such as Tears Of The Blind are chunky stompers led by Peter Andersson's bass. Elsewhere Animal In Me has sleazy 80's feel of Def Leppard and Come Undone ramps up the attitude.
With great performances throughout sometimes the band are let down by the songwriting Caught In The Crossfire tries to be tough but it's cheesy and opening track Blood Red Sky is decent enough but there are better openers, like Maidenesque Retaliation Call or the bouncy Settle The Score. Mean Streak share similarities with Edguy due to their fusion of hard rock and blistering heavy metal, vocally too Andy Le Guerin is a ringer for Tobias Sammett hitting the huge highs with ease as the rest of the band crank out the classic metal riffs, which bring to mind Judas Priest, Dokken and even Y&T. Blind Faith is the bands fourth album, their first since 2013 and having gone back to their previous records it's a step up in terms of quality and performance, these are songs built for the live stage, having been formed in 2006, their 11 years of experience means they can be seen as veterans of scene and with Blind Faith they have executed a direct hit of Post-Millennial heavy metal. 8/10
Radiation Romeo's: Radiation Romeo's (Frontiers Records)
I've mentioned how Frontiers' main output are melodic metal supergroups, well the other side of their roster are performers who first saw success in the 80's and 90's returning with new material that they have written with or have had written for them by Frontiers crack in house team of writers/producers/performers. Radiation Romeo's is in this category, the name is about as 80's chees as you can get and the songs contained within would also sit perfectly on a GTA: Vice City soundtrack. I'm not sure what a Radiation Romeo is but if you listen to the song of the same name that opens this record, I think they are guys that are romantically involved with their music, literally in love with rock. I could spend all day looking for higher meaning in these songs but that's not the point these are FM radio ready rockers and the occasional ballad built for highway cruising in red Corvette on the sickly sweet Ocean Drive.
The record is as I say the vehicle for returning performer and this time it's singer Parramore McCarty who is 'best' known for fronting Steve Stevens (Billy Idol's guitarist) solo project and the American metal act Warrior and his vocals haven't lost a note they are powerful and gruff but it's only on the sleazy Bad Bad Company and the orchestral Ratt-meets-Zep of Promised Land can you hear him at full power. With the obligatory slick Frontiers production Radiation Romeo's is a showcase for McCarty's vocals, some may not know who he is (I'll admit I didn't) but in the US metal circles he's kind of a big deal so this is a great accessible introduction. 7/10
The Wizards: Full Moon In Scorpio (Fighter Records)
Draw a pentagram on your floor and crank this second full length up loud, it's pure occult rock riff worship form start to finish, with one foot in the 1970's the album plays out like a contemporary of Blue Oyster Cult and Pentagram with heaviness cut through with melodic harmonic guitars. The first two tracks give you all you need to know, Avidya and Calliope (Cosmic Revelations) are ideal openers with the dirty riffs giving way to harmonic leads and lead guitar explosives worthy of Buck Dharma's hot rails to hell. It's a quality that's maintained throughout the course of the record as the vocals wail the rhythm section grooves and the guitars play sizzling leads.
The band have toured relentlessly supporting the The Dictators, Iggy Pop or Turbonegro, in fact The Dictators current bass player Dean Rispler produced the record and their guitarist Ross The Boss (yes that one) contributes a solo to Leaving The Past Behind which stands out as on of the best songs on the record along with the brooding 7 minute plus finale When We Were Gods. This is proto-metal with a punk attitude that has became a staple for UK and East Coast American bands in the 70's so this kind of authenticity that is well received, especially when you consider this band are from Bilbao it's all the more impressive, check out Full Moon In Scorpio it's one of the best albums of the 70's underground released this year. 8/10