Mustasch

Thank You For The Demon

Written by: AP on 21/01/2014 22:01:36

With a surname like Gyllenhammar, which translates more or less to golden hammer, there must never have been much doubt as to the career path Ralf, the founder of Swedish heavy metal quartet Mustasch, was going to choose. And so, since 1998, Gyllenhammar and his compatriots, lead guitarist David Johannesson, bassist Mats Johansson and drummer Jejo Perković; have been forging critically acclaimed, award-winning records in their Gothenburg smithy, reaching now their eighth studio album in "Thank You for the Demon".

I must confess to having entertained only a marginal interest in the band, since watching them once at Metal Town in 2009, and then at Hellfest 2013; the revelation, which a lot of people no doubt experienced through their 2007 album "Latest Version of the Truth" (which picked up a Grammy), never hit me. But when "Thank You for the Demon" was made available for grabs, I immediately pounced on it, thinking I'd finally attempt to understand what it is about this band that makes them so revered by so many.

There's much and more here to suggest that the four gentlemen who comprise Mustasch have a fondness toward Metallica. Still, there's actually a curious commonality with Iced Earth on first track "Feared and Hated", which, despite falling significantly short of that outfit's grandeur, opens the proceedings on a rather pompous note; nostalgic aahs & yeahs and all. It's a misfit anthem which pries memorabilia from the simplest tools: a ballistic double pedal drive, a sticky chorus of "I wanted to be loved, at least admired / If not, I want to be feared and hated" and a powerful vocal performance by Gyllenhammar. But despite the strong beginning this song produces in liaison with the subsequent title track, which combines to a satisfactory degree balladry (via the admittedly prosaic words "I'm a king without a kingdom to rule / The day I was born was the day I was doomed / But the scars that you gave me, they made me look cool / So I thank you for the demon."), bombast and orchestral enormity; "Thank You for the Demon" often finds itself at pains to reproduce such moments as the minutes tick in.

Track three "From Euphoria to Dystopia" initially offers hope of things unfolding in a more positive way, its successful marriage of Danzig and "Black Album"-era Metallica and inclusion of a tasty bass-based (I had to...) verse striking an immediate chord within me. But once you've laboured through droning, utterly forgettable "Mauler", the equally iconsequential "Enter Sandman"-idolatry of "Borderline" (seriously, the bridge that comes in at 00:53 is nigh identical to sections of that classic song from guitar to lyrics to singing style), and the syrup of "All My Life"; you'll most likely feel a little exhausted. Granted, those three songs could be much more dismal, and "Borderline" certainly has my head bobbing at times. But for a band in possession of a Grammy, it all seems pretty disappointing (which perhaps speaks against that prize above everything else), with "Lowlife Highlights" and the odd metal-disco of "I Hate to Dance" doing nothing to redeem the impression.

I appreciate the fact that bands hoping to lay their claim to the mainstream as well have certain obligations to fulfill, and by and large, "Thank You for the Demons" sounds to me a product of exactly that: Mustasch needed a new record, said Sony, so they engaged the autopilot and did as they were told. Of course, such a presumption has no credence and this probably isn't the truth. But apart from the trio of quality at the beginning of the album, there is a pressing lack of ambition to the affairs here which even the violin-backed, Monster Magnet-style "Don't Want to Be Who I Am" cannot suppress.

6

Download: Feared and Hated, Thank You for the Demon, From Euphoria to Dystopia
For the fans of: Avenged Sevenfold, Corroded, Metallica, Sparzanza
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.01.2014
Gain Music / Sony

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