"Mean" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish grindcore act Filthy Christians. The album was released through Earache Records in April 1990. Filthy Christians were formed in 1987 by Per Thunell, who at the time was a prolific character on the Swedish hardcore/grindcore scene and an avid tape trader too. The band was the first Swedish act to be signed to Earache Records. "Mean" was recorded during April 1989. The album was considered rather controversial upon release. Not only because of the obviously controversial band name, but also because of the cover artwork, which shows a picture of the murdered Swedish prime minister Olof Palme lying in a pool of blood (Olof Palme was gunned down on open street in Stockholm, Sweden on February 28, 1986 by a still unknown assailant). As a consequence the British authorities confiscated several copies of the album upon release as they deemed the cover artwork obscene.
The album features 18 tracks distributed over a 35:54 minutes long playing time. The music style is grindcore with quite a few nods toward hardcore punk and some crossover thrash elements too. The most noisy and fast blasting parts somewhat remind me of early Napalm Death, but "Mean" is a much more varied release than any of the early albums by the Birmingham bunch. The rather silly humourous lyrics also point in a less "serious" direction. I guess song-titles like "Extremely Bad Breath", "If You're Hardcore...I'm Not!" and "Herring Attack" say more than words about the lyrical subject matter. The lyrics actually stand in stark contrast to the real life violence on the cover of the album and it´s definitely one of those cases where you can´t judge a book by it´s cover.
Silly/humourous lyrical content or not, the music is of high quality. The songwriting is relatively varied for the genre, the musicianship is strong (that drummer is on fire) and the sound production is great too. While it may be slightly thin sounding compared to more bass heavy releases, the sound on "Mean" allows you to hear all details in the music. "Mean" is in all respects a great album which has a lot to offer to those who like their grindcore varied (hell there´s even the odd swing part and a couple of melodic leads thrown in) and not relentlessly blasting all the time. A 3.5 - 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.