MUSTASCH – Testosterone

KVA000007159602Before Mustasch released their last album, Thank You For The Demon (reviewed here) from last year, I was just about ready to give up on this band. See, I was never a big fan from go. I found their first three albums – Above All (2002), Ratsafari (2003) and Powerhouse (2005) – quite underwhelming and not memorable enough. Mustasch just weren’t my can of beer. But some time around 2007, someone played me their new single “Double Nature” and this guy was down for the count. That song had everything – the groove, the catchy melody, heaviness – and the production, complete with orchestrated strings, was bloody brilliant. For me to get a copy of that album, The Latest Version Of The Truth, was a no-brainer, of course. To this day, I find that album damn magical. The producer’s name was Tobias Lindell and has since then gone to produced brilliant records with Europe, H.E.A.T., Nubian Rose and Hardcore Superstar, but unfortunately he and Mustasch’s ways hasn’t crossed since (except for the 2006 E.P. Parasite that I have completely missed). I don’t know if that is the reason that Mustasch’s records’ quality has gone downhill since then, but that’s case. The self-titled follow-up (2009) was actually really good, it was more or less a sister album to Latest Version Of The Truth, but it lacked that little extra that its predecessor had. But it was their next effort that made me think that the band really had lost the plot. I’m not gonna say that Sounds Like Hell, Looks Like Heaven (2012, reviewed here) was crap, but the 6/10 I gave it, now feels like at least one point too many. Their last album was a step up, but still, something was missing. The songs were really good, but for some reason, I never pick that album up anymore. I listened to it a lot when it came out, but my interest faded soon and it’s the same deal there, the 8/10 I gave it, now feels like one point too many – a seven would be more accurate. That meant that when Mustasch was about to release a new album only one year later, I didn’t think they would bring it up one more notch, I thought they had just too little time to be able to write and record a killer record. No, this would be a rushed album because Ralf and the guys hadn’t taken enough time to write proper songs and give the album a fair production. Yes, maybe Mustasch were done. But hey, first at least one listen before the hammer falls.

Usually, there are at least one or two tracks that are available for listening before the release of an album, but before opener “Yara’s Song” broke out I hadn’t heard a note from this record. Therefore, this song was almost pivotal for keeping my interest up and I’m glad to say it’s a really pleasant surprise. This is Mustasch gone pop, but with a rockier and a Mustasch kind of arrangement. It’s a killer track and a brave move for a band like Mustasch. However, it feels kinda strange as an opener. The following track “Breaking Up With Disaster” feels more like the natural album opener. It has a lot of “Double Nature” in it, it’s almost like a continuation of that song, but it stands fine on its own two feet – a  brilliant tune. “The River” is a bit slower and for some reason, I’m thinking of some random western movie when I hear it. It’s very effective and a great tune. “Down To Earth” goes in yet another direction. It’s a fast rocker where the guitars runs with an almost Iron Maiden / Thin Lizzy twin guitar lead, something I have never heard from this band before. “The Hunter” is dark and heavy, but goes total pop in the chorus without sounding schizophrenic at all – just unexpected  – a killer track! When was the last time you heard a ballad from Mustasch?  I can’t even remember them writing one. That makes “Dreamers” a stand out track in their discography, because a ballad it is. Dreamy and spacey with a brilliant pop melody. “Be Like A Man” is one of the best tracks on this record and again, Mustasch is providing us with stuff I would never have expected from them. It’s a heavy and pretty angry tune, yet it’s really a pop song deep down. The striking melody is backed up with an 80’s sounding synth and there is also a synthesizer that joins the bass and drum rhythm. Far out! “Someone” is slow and heavy, but it has a big chorus and an instant melody and I can smell a hit here. “Under The Radar” is another favourite and for the first time ever it sounds like Ralf and the boys has gone back to 1989 for inspiration. It’s heavy rock, yet 80’s pop-metal, there are keyboards that’s pivotal for the song’s sound and the whole thing is catchy as can be. This might not be for everyone, but I love it. The title track that closes the album is fast and aggressive and very much a classic sounding Mustasch song, but it’s still very memorable.

Just when I was about to say bub-bye to Mustasch, they came along with their best effort since Latest Version Of The Truth. Hell, this might just be their strongest release ever! I’m sure this album will get its nay-sayers and their hardcore fans who wants them just doing the same old, same old and I can understand that. But the way I see it, Mustasch were in need of renewal, they had taken their old sound as far as the could and they were running out of ideas. I still think this album sounds just like a Mustasch album, but at some point, a band need to experiment, to broaden the horizons, to look at music in a wider perspective and bring in some new – and sometime unexpected – influences. That’s what Mustasch has done here. Let’s pop it up a bit – done! Let’s bring in keyboards to see if it works – done! Let’s write some god-damned hits – done! Let’s not lose our identity – done! It’s every musician’s damn obligation to make sure that they don’t stagnate – hello Yngwie Malmsteen – and to develop and move forward. Mustasch has done exactly that, the way I see it. I wasn’t expecting this, but it’s so much more fun when you’re taken by surprise like this. Well done, boys and welcome back! I so hope that this album will go down really well. Hell Yeah!

9/10

Tracklist:

1. Yara’s Song
2. Breaking Up With Disaster
3. The Rider
4. Down To Earth
5. The Hunter
6. Dreamers
7. Be Like A Man
8. Someone
9. Under The Radar
10. Testosterone

 

 

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