As the strange year that is and was 2020 starts to wind down, We here at Sentinel Daily decided to look back at some of our particular favourite albums of the year to date and touch base with the people behind the sounds, starting with Swedish metalheads Mean Streak, whose superb new album Eye of the Storm first graced our ears in May this year and saw the band, in the eyes of reviewer Gavin Strickmann, becoming “a fully-formed classic metal identity in their own right”. As ever, the dustcoat-sporting Welshman was bang on in that description, but it’s only the tip of an iceberg that has been a bit of a struggle to get to the top of, as singer Andy La Guerin alludes to in this chat…
It’s fair to say the dust has settled around the album now – were you pleased overall with its reception from the press and fans? “Yes I’m very pleased with the new album after having recorded it and re-recorded it when we didn’t like the first take. A lot happened in and around the band at that point and we had to start from scratch. We scrapped some songs and added some new ones that I think came out fine in the end”.
Tell us a bit about the band for those of our readers who might not be too familiar with Mean Streak. “To make a long story short I can tell you that Peter (Andersson, bassist) is the engine and the motivator in Mean Streak. He writes all lyrics and at least half of the songs on every album and I fill in the rest. Me and Peter have been there from the start and today I think we have the band that we wanted to have. When we found Julian (V Eriksson, guitar) and Fredrik (Sköld, drums), everything just felt right”.
Within a framework of ‘traditional’ heavy metal you manage to cover a lot of ground on the album – is it important for you to keep things fresh and try to mix the styles on each album as much as possible? “This is a tough question for me. I just creating my songs from a feeling, and they turn out to sound in a way that we found out sounds like us (laughs). I know Peter does the same so there is no thought behind it”.
Obviously COVID has wrecked your ability to tour behind the record. As time drags on and on, are you more tempted now to perhaps record another album and tour with two ‘new’ records when things get back to normal, or are you happy to just get out behind EotS when the time comes? “I’ve heard from a lot of friends who say that -now that you can’t tour you have the chance to write a new album. I also thought that but I can tell you when it comes to me – there is no inspiration for putting a new album together. We write new songs of course, but we still have five albums to play songs from when it comes to playing live. Then it is a question how long this pandemic will be. Maybe we’ll do a live-album when the time comes”.
And whenever we do get back to normal, who would your ideal touring partners be? “I’m a big fan of Accept, so that would be nice”.
Here’s your chance to sum up in one sentence what each song on the new record means to you:
Last Nail In The Coffin: “This is the first song on the album and Julian really shows that he can pull off some great solos”.
From The Cradle to the Grave: “A great chorus oiled in heaviness”.
Heavy Metal Rampage: “A metal hymn in the way of Judas Priest“.
Sacred Ground: “This is so much Mean Streak!”
Dying day: “One of the songs we added last to this album, turned out to be one of my favourites”.
Judas Falling: “Once again a song with a classic riff and a classic intro, makes me feel warm inside”.
1000 Years: “This song didn’t have a chorus in the original take, we remade it and oooops, it’s a hit, well what do I know!”
Stand My Ground: “We always wanted to have one song in the ‘shuffle’ rhythm, well, there you go”.
Eye of the Storm: “This song we wrote in 2015 I think. It didn’t make that much noise back then but we altered some parts and recorded it again. I remembered having a demo-version of it and played it for some friends when we released Blind Faith. Everybody told me, why isn’t that song on any album?”
Break the Limit: “This is me going rock’n roll (laughs)”.
Pandemonium: ” The first song written for this album. This was also the original album title, we did not use it when we all decided: Eye of the Storm!”
You’ve enlisted Max Norman‘s assistance again on the production side for Eye of the Storm-what’s it like working with a bona fide heavy metal legend like Max? “On the Blind Faith album Max helped us out with some songs as a producer and this time he was just taking care of mixing. I grew up with his work on Ozzy‘s albums and when you get the opportunity to work with him, it’s a dream coming true”.
Anything else you think the readers of Sentinel Daily should know about the album? “Doing this album has been a long journey and a struggle to push forward. It took a long time for us to find people who really wanted to do the same thing, play our music as we wanted it to sound and be there for the band instead of doing things in other bands that in the end interfered with Mean Streak. Today it feels like we have a solid force”.
Read our review of Eye of The Storm, written by Gavin Strickmann, HERE