Monster Magnet
Powertrip


4.5
superb

Review

by NodScene23 USER (14 Reviews)
May 9th, 2011 | 88 replies | 11,038 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A true triumph for Wyndorf and Co. You get the classic elements of Monster Mag delivered with a straighter edge.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Band Lineup:
Dave Wyndorf- Vocals and Guitar
Ed Mundell- Lead Guitar
Joe Calandra- Bass
Jon Kleiman: Drums


What is there to say about Monster Magnet? Among the stoner rock faithful, Wyndorf and Co. represent one of the purest strains of the legitimate mid to late 90's stoner rock movement. Along with Kyuss, Monster Mag brought stoner rock into the mainstream to a degree, mostly thanks to the release of Powertrip. Prior to that, the band released such classics as Spine of God, 25...Tab, the overlooked Superjudge, and Dopes to Infinity. All those releases established Monster Mag as a true titan of artistic expression within stoner rock. They had the heaviness, the stoner themes, but most importantly, the pure rock power. This leads to Powertrip, which establishes a movement by Wyndorf and Co. to maintain their vital elements while emphasizing a more straightforward, metallic charge to their delivery.

If the ratings on Sputnik indicate anything, Powertrip is the bridge between two eras for Monster Mag. The first era is the most acclaimed one, with Monster Mag putting their mark on the stoner rock scene with the aforementioned albums. The band seemed to have a signature sound but it still evolved throughout that time period. You have the fuzzy, dirgy heaviness of Spine of God, the epic space freakout of 25...Tab, and the metallic but still spacey Dopes to Infinity. After Powertrip, the stripped down approach becomes much more apparent, and some longtime fans were not pleased. The albums still sounded like Monster Mag, but there is no denying that Powertrip was a pinnacle in many ways.

The album begins with "Crop Circle," a track that slowly builds up to a simple riff. Once the distortion comes in, you can immediately sense you're in for a more guttural approach from Monster Mag. Dave Wyndorf and Ed Mundell combine to create some heavy but groovy riffing and some great solo work. Wyndorf yells at all the right times and really stresses what some may dub his "nonsensical" lyrics. With Monster Mag, if you throw prejudice to the wind and embrace the subtle meanings behind Wyndorf's words, you can really learn to rock out while singing lyrics like "I was born underwater, I dried out in the sun. I started humping volcanoes baby, when I was too young.” The band finishes off and transitions to “Power Trip”, which begins with a speedy riff before ripping into a more distorted, thrashier version of the main riff. Wyndorf sings anthemic verses and choruses, which pull the listener into the bizarre worlds that Wyndorf has such a knack for creating. The band allows room for some great breakdowns in which lead guitarist Ed Mundell can show off his soloing prowess. As one the premier lead guitarists in stoner rock, Ed Mundell is allowed room to stretch his legs on the more straightforward rocking songs, whereas he opts for a more subtle approach on some of the more spacey, atmospheric tracks.

The band vaults into Monster Mag's biggest single, "Spacelord." The massively catchy acoustic riff in this song provided for its impetus on rock radio. Even so, the original Monster Mag vibe is still intact as Wyndorf once again shouts out anthemic choruses behind heavily distorted guitars. The song fades out with its catchy chorus repeating and Mundell getting in even more solo flare. Some may hear remnants of "Tab…25" (the song) in the closing of "Spacelord", as some of Monster Mag's earliest space rock excursions are on display. The heavily anthemic first three tracks set the stage for the straight-ahead rocker "Temple of your Dreams", which has a hugely simple riff but with enough fuzz to please any stoner rock fan. A catchy bass line clamps it all down and Wyndorf alternates eerie verses with even more fist pumping choruses. The song closes and in comes "Bummer," which rolls in with a HUGE drum line followed by an even more massive riff. Wyndorf roars with with an almost judge like tone as he shouts out lyrics like "You're looking for the one who fu**ed your mom. It's not me." Awesome.

The distorted assault thus far leads nicely into the dreamy, trippy "Baby Gotterdammerung." Wyndorf engages in some spoken word behind an extremely hypnotic riff. The tension continues to build with great guitar effects and melodic leads. Wyndorf inquires his followers with lines like "What would Modok do, if his memory got too full? He'd find the power source, and pick what plugs to pull." You will find yourself increasingly engaged with Wyndorf's lyrical tales thanks to the hypnotic nature of the background music. The band shows an impressive ability to pull back after the full on rock assault of the first four tracks and concentrate on atmosphere and effect.

This is when the diversity of the album begins to reveal itself even more. Thus far, Monster Mag has shown a true pension for creating a hypnotically heavy sound coupled with strangely addicting choruses. They've infused some of their space rock influence throughout the beginning half of the album and have also shown a knack for creating their own brand of ambiance. On "19 Witches," the band successfully combines the two forces by creating a heavy rocker that has the vibe of something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. The band returns to more psychedelic drenched riff rock with "3rd Eye Landslide." The band alternates eerily played verses with full on assaults on the choruses. Ed Mundell returns to center stage by showing off his trademark lead sound while Wyndorf screeches and shouts at all the right moments.

"See You in Hell" is another spooky, trippy track but still utilizes Wyndorf's impressive range of vocal abilities. He can shriek or shout with power as well as sing in a clean, melodic tone. Keyboards, or perhaps organs, are utilized in this track and are done impressively. Wyndorf and Mundell bring out huge amounts of fuzz in this as well, but not quite with the metallic edge of earlier tracks. It is these small differences that make up the diversity of the album. There's a real undertaking here, with Monster Mag exploring a more conventional songwriting approach without sacrificing their space rock heritage. Huge riffs, fuzz tones, Wyndorf shouts, and seemingly outlandish lyrics are still the name of the game. The band decides to rein in the drugged out excursions of the past (25...Tab) and focus all that stoner rock nuance into shorter blasts of energy. It is done to GREAT effect.

"Tractor" brings the album back to a blistering level. With another massive, fuzzed out riff, Monster Mag jumps right back into pure rock territory. "Atomic Clock" slows down the tempo a bit and Wyndorf graces us with more engaging lyrical stories. "Goliath and the Vampires" produces more ominous, spooky tones. "Your Lies Become You" closes the album and the band opts for a swampier atmosphere. Think of drifting through the damp marshes of the Everglades while listening to this track.

The strength of Powertrip lies in the band's conscious attempt to retain the psychedelic and space rock influences of earlier releases while melding them into a more concise rock package. This is no small feat, as the band could have easily overemphasized one direction over the other. They find the perfect balance and the result is this stellar, diverse set. Monster Mag would continue to streamline even more in the future (with varying degrees of success to some) but this album represents the best of both worlds. Your average hard rock fan will find this disc just as pleasing as your most veteran stoner rock fan, and for good reason. That alone makes it an essential album.

Prepare yourself for the Monster Mag experience. Hail the Church of Wyndorf!



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user ratings (151)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ConsiderPhlebas
May 9th 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

FUCK YEAH

NodScene23
May 9th 2011



264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

WYNDORF

Josh D.
May 9th 2011



13967 Comments


Really, I thought these guys were just famous for being in a Mitch Hedberg joke.

NodScene23
May 9th 2011



264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Haha, no good! Monster Mag!

ManintheBox
May 10th 2011



867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SPACE LORD MUTHA FUCKA!!!!!
good review dude, and good tastes.

Digging: Gorguts - Colored Sands

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2011



7312 Comments


Awesome, very detailed review. Pos'd. I haven't listened to this in so long. I'll relisten to it soon
inspired by your review.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

NodScene23
May 10th 2011



264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks everyone, probably could have shaved some commentary off, but what the hell. It's Monster Mag. To Greg, definitely rediscover this album. I've been using you as my primary source in the search for more stoner rock, so I'm happy to oblige you with a return to MM.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2011



7312 Comments


I've listened to their new stuff and frankly wasn't very impressed, but I remember that Powertrip and the albums prior to it are very good.

NodScene23
May 10th 2011



264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, a lot of Monster Mag fans aren't quite as pleased with everything post Powertrip. There's some good stuff to be found there, but not nearly at the high level of this album and everything before it.

Counterfeit
May 10th 2011



17819 Comments


When I dont get my bath I take it out on the slaves

BigHans
May 10th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Title track just fucking owns mountains.

ConsiderPhlebas
May 10th 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favourite rock songs of all time

BigHans
May 10th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

me too, easily.

ConsiderPhlebas
May 10th 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd put this on now but can't stop playing Volbeat. On its fourth rotation today.

BigHans
May 10th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome dude, which album (s)?

Spec
May 10th 2011



27053 Comments


Should check this.

BigHans
May 10th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just Youtube the title track and prepare for fucking RAWK

ConsiderPhlebas
May 10th 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Beyond Hell/Above Heaven, man. Only just dawned on me that they have more than one album... are the others awesome as well?

BigHans
May 10th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude, yes. Beyond Hell is probably 1a for them. I would say Rock the Rebel Metal the Devil is probably the best, You Tube the song Sad Man's Tongue and get fucking blown away.

But all of the albums are good. The debut is the heaviest. Rock the Rebel is probably best, Guitar Gangsters is damn solid, and Beyond Hell is the catchiest.

ConsiderPhlebas
May 10th 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome, man - best surprise I've had for awhile. Volbeat is gonna be my summer I think. The choruses, the riffs.. aaargh



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