Good day all,
Another Friday, another Four Pack! No need for further adieu…let’s get it on!
Mustach: Sounds Like Hell, Looks Like Heaven
This album is everything that I love about heavy metal. There isn’t a note, a riff, a solo, a cow bell that is wasted. This album by Mustach (the first I have heard from this band) is nothing short of a traditional metal classic from beginning to end. There are very few bands that I listen to from the first song to the last and believe that every song on the album is a winner. I had this experience with Dawnbringer and Gypsyhawk this past year and I have it again with Mustach! I thought that the Audrey Horne album was going to be a tough one to beat for me but this album blows it out of the water. It is one of the most solid albums I have heard in a very long time.
Mustach have found a combination of the old and the new and combined them with an expertise and solidity that brings the power and beauty of every song to the listener without fail. Plus they are not afraid to enhance what was once a classic sound and make it their own whether it is Metallica’s “Sad But True” riffage in “Dead Again” or the Coney Hatch attitude of “Morning Star” this album is all strength and no filler. The crusher “Cold Heart Mother Son” starts off with a riff that harkens back to Megadeth’s Symphony of Destruction not a carbon copy but homage. The song itself moves into an Ian Asbury like vocal performance by Ralf Gyllenhammar that makes the song that much stronger. It is very rare to get this excited by an album, but this is a stone cold instant classic as far as I am concerned. A little odd for me to see that this band comes out of Gothenburg, Sweden, usually one would see a melodic death metal band as opposed this fantastic piece of traditional metal. There really has to be something in the water over there to produce this many great metal acts, I mean seriously! Love heavy metal? Buy this album! The only thing I do not like about this album is that it is only a little over thirty minutes long! I need more Mustach! And Cow Bell!
Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance
Some may think that the review for this album should have come before Mustach because Darkthrone have been around a whole lot longer than most bands and they are the quintessential kings of the metal underground. In the end maybe it should have but it is the album that I liked the best or felt the most relevant that gets the first spot in this weekly post and in this case it is the spectacular journey through the past and present that Mustach served us. That is not to say that the new Darkthrone album isn’t good, but in my opinion it is not as good as Mustach. A couple of things I have to make clear, I have never been a major fan of Darkthrone, yes I have listened to them and yes I like some of their stuff but in the grand scheme of things I have not intentionally sat down and listened to their catalogue of music. One of the reasons is I have issue with anyone who takes a pro-Nazi, Aryan, stand on anything, and I find it doubly offensive when a band uses their notoriety in the metal underground to spread this agenda. But alas, Darkthrone has removed themselves from that arena and stuck with what I guess we as metalheads believe is the straight and narrow (is that possible in metal?).
So as for the album itself the one thing I really like about it and the thing that struck me on the very first note of the first song “Dead Early” was how grimy the production is, for me this is a good thing. When I heard that first not all I could think of was Motley Crue’s Too Fast For Love album and how the sound was so familiar and warm. I love the way that Darkthrone has basically genre-jumped throughout this whole album, it is kind of like a extreme metal Quantum Leap episode where they go from punk, to death, to black, to NWOBHM in a matter of six songs. It is a schizophrenics’ dream! I like this album for the most part but I am not jumping up and down with excitement over what Darkthrone has delivered like some other reviews that I have read. Part of this is probably because I am not in the Darkthrone fan club or a listener who is totally familiar with all of their music but the other part is that this album is good but not great to me. While it has it’s high and low points there is just something on the album that makes it forgettable to me. Which is weird because I usually love anything that calls back to the golden age of heavy metal and that grimy sound we love so much?
Ruins: Place Of No Pity
Death metal, black metal, it doesn’t matter, here is another offering this week from a band that has decided to do its best impression of the past. It is not a terrible album but the obvious Celtic Frost homage can become a bit much at times and it takes away from the overall enjoyment of this album. It has fine qualities about it, the production is good, the vocals are understandable but one comes out of a listen to this album with the feeling that you forgot to listen to the music while it was on. This is quite a feat with a death/black metal album. I was actually listening to the album on my way to work this morning and found myself lost in thought enough that I had to remind myself that I was listening to this album. It starts off well enough and weaves its way through the clichés of the black/death world but after the second or third song they all start sounding the same and it becomes a bit mundane. I think that there is definite promise for this band if they put out more music, but I think they have to find a sound that is more their own.
Karnya: Coverin’ Thoughts
OK so it seems that every album I have written about today has some type of relationship with the past and this album is no exception. Karnya’s debut album is chocked full of 70’s progressive sounds but with an updated production value and a singer who can handle the large task that they set in front of themselves. Karnya seem to allow the music to lead them as opposed to the other way around. They have written tight songs and incorporated the sounds of the past with an updated tight progressive, hard rock atmosphere that makes this album one I can listen to over and over again. When the opening track “Mechanical Mixtures” starts one gets the feeling of Dream Theater’s debut album, but that is not a bad thing because it was the only Dream Theater that I really enjoyed plus Karnya doesn’t get lost in that sound. They have produced an album that is original, tight, and well conceived and should be enjoyed by anyone with even a small interest on what good progressive metal/hard rock can sound like.
That’s it folks, I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know what you think of these bands in the comments. I have said it before and I will say it again, I love hearing from you…
Until later, Peace!