Monster Magnet

Mastermind

Written by: AP on 31/12/2010 13:45:30

Following a series of decent, if safe albums, Monster Magnet have returned with their legendary blended brew. Widely regarded as one of the foremost progenitors of the stoner rock/metal movement, Monster Magnet are a band that truly celebrates everything about the culture - the tritone Sabbath riffs; the space rock of Hawkwind and Captain Beyond; lyrical content so over the top it had people questioning its sincerity; and the hallucinogens that fuel the genre (anyone who has ever seen the band live can attest that you'd have to search far and wide to find a band tripping beyond Monster Magnet on stage).

"Mastermind" finally continues the legacy owed to fans since the release of "Powertrip" over a decade ago, with a mighty down-tempo swagger and lyrics awash with sparkling irony. Not many bands could get away with rhetoric like "the kids just seem to wanna spray paint the word nigger on the wall", but sung with the characteristic style of vocalist/guitarist Dave Wyndorf in the laid back context of "Dig That Hole", such upfront social criticism sounds as appropriate as it does confrontational. Dave is the penultimate personification of everything stoner rock, and despite the fantastic instrumentation drawing from psychedelia, classic hard rock and grunge, it is he who commands and demands attention on "Mastermind". He drops syllables, slurs words, and sings about Marvel comics, insane, libido driven rockstar proclamations, and brilliant, hallucinogenic science fiction ramblings with one of the strongest voices in rock music today - the kind of gruff croon that only a hairy, slightly obese, perceptually enlightened rock star can achieve through years of substance abuse and, consequently, a near-death experience with overdose.

But of the music itself. Imagine the drowsy groove of Alice In Chains meeting the chutzpah of Iggy & The Stooges. Now take the overblown fixation on solos of classic rock bands like Deep Purple, and fire the concoction into orbit on a rusty space rocket. This is what "Mastermind" sounds like: classic metallic stoner space rock of such overstated confidence, quirky attitude and instrumental flamboyance that playing it live requires an explicitly large reservoir of smug condescension (à la something like this). As such, "Mastermind" is an irresistible amalgamation of all things rock n' roll and one of the best of albums its kind in recent years. Given that Monster Magnet rarely know to stop before five minutes clock in, it says something about the band's songwriting prowess that the fourteen songs (of which two are bonus tracks) on offer here never drag.

The sheer amount of texture present in its hour of playtime is exquisite; each song different from the next, with its own, distinct vibe. Whether it be a dusky, ominous ghost story ("Ghost Story"), a lingering cappella ("The Titan Who Cried Like a Baby"), or songs for singles ("Bored With Sorcery", "Gods and Punks" and "100 Million Miles"), Monster Magnet distinguish themselves as veterans and pathfinders. Its daring title satisfied, "Mastermind" is the stuff of legend.

Download: Bored With Sorcery, Gods and Punks, 100 Million Miles, All Outta Nothing
For the fans of: Alice In Chains, Captain Beyond, Clutch, Hawkwind, Kyuss
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.10.2010
Napalm Records

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