Monster Magnet
Spine of God


4.5
superb

Review

by ValiumMan USER (17 Reviews)
September 30th, 2006 | 17 replies | 8,644 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Monster Magnet's 1991 debut album, "Spine Of God" is considered a Stoner Rock classic and/or the band's "best album" by some. While it is both, it still has a few flaws that prevent it from getting a 5. Well, at least from me.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

In 1991, Stoner Rock had just started. Besides Palm Desert pioneers Kyuss, "proto-stoners" Masters Of Reality, there wasn't much on the scene, except for, well, a band hailing from New Jersey, led by a hilariously stereotypical macho rocker and a Syd Barrett devotee with his feet substituted with effect pedals, called Monster Magnet. And these guys definitely took more drugs and listened to more Hawkwind and Blue Cheer per day than both of the above-mentioned bands.... together.

So what's the difference between this album and Kyuss's "classic" LP "Blues For The Red Sun" you ask? Well, Kyuss were definitely inspired by desert rockers like Giant Sand as much as by the now-usual suspects, whereas this kind of music was only a tertiary influence for Monster Magnet, if it even was any. Thus, these guys are more instantly psychedelic and less sludgy. So, what does it sound like now? First of all, Monster Magnet apparently went down the Black Sabbath revival route later one, and this is something very different from "Space Lord" or the "Dopes To Infinity" album.

"Spine Of God" begins with a psychedelic drum solo(!) which turns into "Pill Shovel", the album's great opening track. And it already presents the band's best qualities: John McBain's (the Syd Barrett devotee) lead guitar gives us some weird, often eastern-inspired freakouts and all sorts of strange noises, heavily utilizing wah-wah, delay and a ton of other effects, whereas rhythm guitarist/singer Dave Wyndorf (the stereotypical macho rocker) is responsible for the actual riffs and the more earthy tones. And when Wyndorf intones "I stand/On the mountains of mars/Sparkin' up" with his sometimes Captain Beefheart-like, effect-laden macho voice over a Maharishi-Beatles drone, you feel like it's approximately 1972 and you're staring at your lava lamp, completely stoned (even if you're sober). The album continues with the more conventional rocker "Medicine" (later sampled by the Beastie Boys for "Sabotage"), complete with strange, yet anthemic chorus ("Down that medicine now/Yeah baby!"). Whereas the lyrics may be more of a "take it or leave it" affair, the music is definitely on the "take it" side. I mean, if you don't like songs like the epic title track (with some of John McBain's best guitar work and a sitar), the rocking "Snake Dance" ("If Satan lived in heaven/He'd be me"), or the soft verse/heavy chorus freakout that is "Nod Scene", I can't help you either. Even the "soft" numbers, namely the mockingly hateful "Zodiac Lung" ("It's ***ups like you/Who always seem to get it all"), with bongos(!) and especially the excellent closing track "Ozium" are absolutely stunning and what not.

Now, if this guy likes this album so much, why doesn't he a give it a 5?, you ask. While this absolutely great, it still has a few small flaws. First of all, the sound's a bit flat (I recommend getting the recent remaster) and it can be seem a bit chaotic at times, since it's far from streamlined and it has all sorts of strange noises everywhere. Plus, I don't think "Black Mastermind" needed to be stretched out to nearly 8 minutes, and the cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "Sin's a Good Man's Brother" is pretty boring. So, no sir, no 5 for you.

All in all, I can only sincerely recommend this one to anyone who likes Stoner Rock (or just psychedelic Heavy Rock in general), but people who only know (and like) Monster Magnet's stuff circa "Dopes To Infinity"/"Powetrip" are advised to handle it with care and probably try the "Superjudge" album first.


(Feedback would be much appreciated)



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user ratings (89)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
September 30th 2006



2647 Comments


This is pretty good for a first review but please fix up the odd gaps between sentences.

ValiumMan
September 30th 2006



493 Comments


Gaps fixed. I actually made them on purpose, since I thought it'd make the whole thing easier to read, but since they don't seem to be appreciated here, I've no problem with removal ;)
Anything about the style in particular?


AlienEater
October 1st 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool, I think this is their best album.

MrKite
November 11th 2006



5020 Comments


Mitch Hedberg was talking about theses guys in one of his routines. He said they were a heavy Metal band. Is this true?

AlienEater
November 12th 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nope. they were space rock, but now they're just rock, and not too great.

this is their bestThis Message Edited On 11.12.06

AlienEater
November 12th 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

EDIT: dangThis Message Edited On 11.12.06

any14doomsday
February 6th 2007



678 Comments


I like this album, they never get any credit outside of "space lord", I didnt know they were from new jersey either. There home town heroes... As much as I enjoyo this album I find myself listening to Dopes to infinity more.

Has anyone heard tab ?

AlienEater
February 6th 2007



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah

its good

anticipatious_phoenix
February 9th 2007



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is definitely one of their better albums.

Mungo
November 17th 2007



6 Comments


Just got this CD today and listening to it for the first time. I had only previously heard the excellent Dopes to Infinity, so I didn't know what to expect but this is some good stuff. Sounds good so far.

DoubtGin
November 10th 2010



6686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

5 ---> 4,5


Dopes to Infinity rocks more

conesmoke
April 2nd 2013



4905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeh im liking what im hearing from this so far.

conesmoke
October 28th 2013



4905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh yeh, this rules and Dave Wyndorfs vocals are amazing mm/

Inveigh
December 29th 2013



24190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band rules superhard

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis

ShadowRemains
December 29th 2013



19431 Comments


this looks dopeariffic

Inveigh
December 29th 2013



24190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah man if you like kyuss, clutch and the like definitely jam this

conesmoke
March 27th 2014



4905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The bass work on black mastermind is tasty as fuck



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