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Cocaine Moustache - "On The Mirror" (CD)

Cocaine Moustache - "On The Mirror" CD cover image

"On The Mirror" track listing:

1. The Drip (5:41)
2. Out Of My Hands (4:52)
3. Better Back In Time (4:15)
4. The Pledge (6:29)
5. Cocaine Moustache (6:15)
6. Garbage Bags And Shovels (6:13)
7. On The Mirror (5:12)
8. Worst Of Me (4:59)
9. Bleed My Last Breath (6:58)

Reviewed by on February 15, 2012

"Their debut album, 'On The Mirror,' has no shortage of swagger, courtesy of vocalist White Willie Sniffsum, but that’s not enough to look aside the repetitive lyrics and redundant song lengths."

Metal tends to be full of grim faces and unthinkable horrors, but music doesn’t always have to be grey and bleak. There’s nothing wrong with a band trying to take a light-hearted tone, and Cocaine Moustache takes their hard partying exploits and snorting tons of that special white powder very seriously. Their debut album, “On The Mirror,” has no shortage of swagger, courtesy of vocalist White Willie Sniffsum, but that’s not enough to look aside the repetitive lyrics and redundant song lengths.

On second thought, calling Cocaine Moustache metal might be a stretch with their blues/funk undertones. They might get a comparison to a raunchier Clutch, and there is some merit to that assessment. The guitars do cut away from the mold with each song having one big-league harmonic or solo break. The band has a large supply of bluesy melodies crusted in metal roots, which comes out on songs like “The Drip” and “Out Of My Hands.” The funk is underutilized, considering it brings the energy up to a playful level on the title track.

This may only be metal in spirit, but then again, the band has no qualms about hitting back with a fistful of striking riffs when the moment feels right. “Better Back In Time” goes on a rampage to go along with an anthemic quality that the band fails to replicate on “Cocaine Moustache.” When any band names a song after their band, it’s expected that this particular jam is supposed to be a defining moment. Instead, “Cocaine Moustache” extends its stay for too long, hobbling on a lanky mid-tempo that can’t be saved by the flashy guitar solos.

Cocaine Moustache leaves room in “On The Mirror” to stretch its coke-fueled wings on the ode-to-alcohol in “The Pledge” and the last rites sung by Sniffsum on “Bleed My Last Breath.” A country-tinged acoustic guitar backs up Sniffsum for the better part of the former, and the band holds back to flirt with a sludgy vibe on the latter closing track. A diversion from the usual pace of the other seven songs, these hold up strong, even if Sniffsum’s screeching high notes are more grating than charming.

Sniffsum’s vocals aren’t the only thing that may cause mixed reactions. His crass lyrical writing is not something that will appeal to everybody. Subtly isn’t his strong suit, and the tendency to repeat himself hurts a few songs. To his credit, there is some clever word play on “Garbage Bags and Shovels” with the line, “In the animal kingdom, you’re a lion and cheetah/But in the real world, you’re just a liar and a cheater.”

There will be many readers who will toss away any notion of giving “On The Mirror” a shot based on the band’s lyrics and name alone. While the whole “snorting cocaine, drinking booze, and calling women sluts” persona can be overbearing, the music is groovy and full of tight guitar harmonies. It’s not a fine work of art, or a well-crafted record that will have the elitists nodding in approval, but “On The Mirror” is loose and dirty blues metal fit to go along with while binging on various illicit substances.

Highs: Guitar work stands out, a few clever lyrics, has nice use of blues/funk elements

Lows: Vocals are a mixed bag, over-the-top lyrics, songs tend to go longer than necessary

Bottom line: Gross and inappropriate, yet a strong display of musicianship, "On The Mirror" will have a divided audience depending on one's tolerance for juvenile lyrics and blues/funk in their metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)