Mustasch - Self Titled (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

We aren't talking the furry things on men's upper lips, although there appear to be a number of them in this band: Sweden's favourite Heavy Metal band (at least according to the Swedish Grammy Awards!).

 

Sweden's Mustasch won the Best Hard Rock award at the Swedish version of the Grammy's in January of this year. Quite an achievement considering the band lost two of its founding members at the same time, leaving Ralf Gyllenhammar (vocals) and Mats Johansson (bass) to find two new band mates. The spaces were filled with David Johannesson (guitar) and Danne McKenzie (drums), and this self-titled album was born.

The self-titled fifth album from Mustasch starts off as a stomping rock'n'roll album full of staunchly choruses, Metallica-friendly riffs and a rhythm section fuelled to give you RSI in your neck. However, things start to fall short about mid-way through, and unfortunately the flow just isn't found again. 

Opening with a short instrumental with dark riffs reminiscent of Slayer, you are quickly taken to the first full length song Heresy Blasphemy which has the key Metallica sound that Mustasch have become well known for. The first single from the album is Mine, and with its hard hitting chorus it's not really a wonder: the rhythm section on this song is outstanding and will have you rocking without your prior knowledge or consent!

Damn It's Dark has a much more melodic sound with a riff-tastic guitar break towards the end. The only disappointment here is that the lyrics and vocals aren't so strong. The Man, The Myst, The Wreck re-introduces the rhythm section on a mission to kill your neck muscles. You could be forgiven for thinking this was Motorhead before hearing vocals, as its got a very 70/80s heavy metal feel to it. 

The Audience Is Listening has a more pop-rock feel to it, not quite what you expect from a heavy metal band. Moving on to song seven, the dictionary defines desolate as being 'barren or laid waste' as for the song Desolate; well, there is little melody and the Dalek sounding voice effects just prove to make this song all the more strange. Need I say more! Deep In The Woods takes things back to a more early Metallica sound, although the sound effect of what I think must be a bird cheeping is really quite unnerving. I'm Frustrated will leave you, well, frustrated. It's extremely melancholy and lacking in quality lyrics and melody. 

The dry spell in the middle of this album seems to be over with song number ten, Lonely, which has a bit more oomph, melody, and some good guitar work. Blackout Blues is another song with a Metallica feel to the instrumental aspect, and, honestly, it really is hard not to like something that sounds like Metallica! The vocals are stronger on this track than on the past few, and ends in a very Black Sabbath psychedelic way.

The final track Tritonus is the extended version of the album's opening sampler. Once the stringed instrumental has gone by it becomes a spoken word piece, which is just plain strange. It drifts between heavy guitar riffs, stringed instrumental and more spoken word for the remainder of the song, and it ends up leaving a strange taste in your mouth.

This album is worth having for the first half where the force is strong. It's not quite up to previous Mustasch efforts, but maybe that has more to do with the changed line-up and some experimentation with new ideas. The next album will tell all!

Mustasch's self-titled release is out now on Nuclear Blast/Riot.