It might have taken me a while to get Mustasch but when I finally did, I really damn did. Their first three albums Above All (2002), Ratsafari (2003) and Powerhouse (2005) did nothing for me at all and to this day those albums leaves me pretty cold. But their fourth effort Latest Version Of The Truth (2007) knocked the living daylight of me – and I still hold that album very close to a masterpiece. Since then, Mustasch sure have had its ups and downs. Their self-titled follow-up wasn’t as great but it was still a damn fine record but it was after that the downfall started. Sounds Like Hell, Looks Like Heaven (2012) was a poor album and its follow-up Thank You For The Demon (2014) was better without flooring me. That’s why 2015’s Testosterone was such a great surprise. On that album, Mustasch stepped out of their comfort zone and took some chances. Firstly, the album had more hooks than they ever had and the tunes came with a big Pop feel without losing their heaviness and secondly, the production was cleaner and a bit polished – something the band clearly benefitted from. This made me very curious of how the band would follow that album.
Mustasch open the album with one of those useless intros that is there to bring in some kind of atmosphere before the first real track begins. Now, I don’t hate intros as such but to give small snippets of music – because that is what this really is, a snippet of music – a name that makes it a song of its own bugs me. It should just be part of the opening track. Intro ranting done for now! Said intro goes straight into “Winners”, a hard, blasting Metal track that takes Mustasch into Thrash territory, at least a bit. It’s aggressive and robust but it fails to connect with me. It’s an ok song but it doesn’t stick with me. “Libertá” is a pretty ballsy and powerful heavy rocker that lands somewhere between Hard Rock and Metal that holds a classic Mustasch arrangement. It’s both catchy and very in-your-face. Very good.
“Barrage” brings on some pretty furious Thrash Metal riffing which makes the song’s base really kicking. But over the heavy and tough rhythm lies a neat flirtation with Pop and that twist brings on the catchiness all of which marries brilliantly. Great track and the best one so far. I have heard first single “Lawbreaker” many times by now as it’s all over Swedish Rock radio – and no complaints about that from this guy. It’s a massive, fat and tough hard rocker that holds some killer riffage. The tune strikes hard and without being very radio-friendly, the chorus sticks immediately. “Fire” – featuring Hank Von Helvete of Turbonegro fame – comes in a mid pace and brings on a heavy groove and is over all quite rough and ballsy. The tune also sports a very memorable main melody and the refrain is a real knock-out. Surely a single at some point. Great! The title track is up next and what we get here is a mid paced Hard Rock stomper that speeds up half-way through the song. It’s tough and hard – a real gut puncher. A good tune indeed.
“The Answer” is a steady, rhythmic and fat rocker that’s very meat n’ potatoes. The sound is classic Mustasch all the way and it’s a good tune but it fails to reach great. “Grave Digger” provides some very Metallica influenced riffs but as a song, I find this very standard with nothing that shakes my world at all. The refrain says hello and leaves without making me wants to invite it for a beer. It’s actually a boring song where nothing really happens. Skip button alert. But luckily enough, the band leaves us with a powerhouse of a song. It’s called “Burn” and is an attitude-laden, classic Mustasch sounding and direct Hard Rock tune. It’s not the least radio-friendly, it lacks all hit-potential but at the same time it’s very memorable and the chorus hits like a ton of bricks. What a great way to close a record like this.
This album has squat to do with its predecessor. All the Pop undertones and the in-your-face catchiness are gone and the production here is a lot more raw, robust and crunchy. Over-all, this album is heavier, edgier and darker and it feels like Mustasch wants to go back to basics with this record. That’s super for the fans that weren’t that big on the last record and I guess they’ll love this one. But me, I really miss the poppiness and smoothness that broke new territory last time around and I keep thinking how these songs would have sounded with Testosterone‘s production and arrangements. That said, I don’t find this album bad at all, quite the contrary it holds a whole bunch of damn good tunes. But. In many ways, this album comes across as just another Mustasch record and except for some knife-sharp, Thrash influenced riffing, it feels like I have heard this album before by the band so it kind of fails to excite me much. Another Mustasch record, a good one but not a great one.
More Mustasch reviews:
7. Silent Killer
8. The Answer
9. Grave Digger