Mustasch
"Latest Version of the Truth"

(Regain Records 2007)Mustasch - Latest Version of the Truth

Ah, Sweden. I hold a special place in my tiny heart for the land that brings me the joys of Cult of Luna, Swedish Fish, and awesome hockey players with awesome names like Hakan Loob. Also hailing from the country that gave the world Ikea are four guys with names not as awesome as Hakan Loob, collectively known as Mustasch.

Mustasch delivers straight up heavy metal that some would probably feel the need to file under the hard rock category. To be fair, this may owe to the fact that the sound on "Latest Version of the Truth" bears striking resemblance to later Metallica, down to the trademark Hetfield "yeah!" that singer and guitarist Ralf Gyllenhammar drops on "Falling Down." Hell, this album is what "Load and Reload" would have sounded like if Lars, James, and company had been mainlining the Crue and testosterone instead of whatever cheap crap they were shooting circa 1995.

From the distinctly Van Halen-esque opening on "In the Night," there remains a definite '80s metal sensibility throughout. Mustasch can't be accused of underplaying anything here, as everything is done big: big riffs, big drum sounds, big soaring vocals. There are even orchestral flourishes sprinkled in to expand and inflate their already swollen sound.

This cocksure grandeur works just fine until "The End," the album's closing "opus." The best part about this ten minute masturbatory wankfest is that you can just skip the damn thing without interrupting the flow of the rest of the album.

Cheesy final track notwithstanding, "Latest Version of the Truth" is a highly listenable exercise in heavy music that even the slightly goofy lyrics can't detract from. Metal fans both casual and psychotic should find something to enjoy in a record that gives the heavy while keeping a sense of fun, something that is all too rare in today's metal scene.

B+

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