The more album reviews I write, the more I see just how big Sweden’s hard rock movement is these days. It seems like every hard rock album that makes it to me is another Swedish band. This movement varies both in style and quality: some softer, some harder, some weaker, some better. Mustasch, who have a history stretching back to the late 90s, bring us something on the more aggressive, powerful side, and it’s a damn good time.
It’s evident right from the opening, teeth-gritting chug of “Where Angels Fear to Tread” that we’re in for a somewhat heavier treat. Still grounded in hard rocking fun, but this isn’t an album for sugary sweet ballads or the like. There’s a vibrant, delectable crunch to the guitars and the quality production that makes this all about fist pumping and head banging good times.
Ralf Gyllenhammar’s vocals stand out as a highlight, sounding crisp, clear and brimming with passionate delivery.
Also of note is the stand against suicide that the album takes. The band have worked with Swedish aid organisation Mind to produce the single (and track 7 here) “What is Wrong”. The song focuses on depression and the crippling effect it can have, that feeling of not having the will or motivation to do anything, and not knowing what’s wrong, only that you can’t bring yourself to overcome it. It’s a powerful subject, and not the only song on the album to highlight such issues, with “Blood in Blood Out” acting as a cry of defiance against suicide: “Why should I embrace the silence?”. Elsewhere the album may not focus on the topic directly, but its whole attitude is one of power and defiance, and though Freddie Mercury’s death was not one of suicide, the track named for him is nevertheless a tribute to a man who passed too early.
It’s a nice touch, and fits surprisingly well even alongside the fun, wild attitude the band often displays. Songs like “Ransacker” and “Garlic and Shots” are a blast, and “Go to Hell” enjoys a nice spacey vibe with its ambient sounds, slower pace and distorted solo.
All told, Killing it for Life is a lot of fun, with the solid vocals and quality production helping to give it a boost above much of the competition.