Monster Magnet
Cobras and Fire (The Mastermind Redux)


3.5
great

Review

by manosg STAFF
October 14th, 2015 | 26 replies


Release Date: 10/09/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So keep your eye upon the saucer, baby…Ignore the world as it bleeds…You've got your phone and your mirror, what else do you need?

Second, in a row, trip in time and space for the stoner legends to an era where colors were… more colorful and folks more dependent on their senses and less like the over-informed cynics that they are today. It might be that Dave Wyndorf, at this point of his life, feels more at ease revisiting past memories when he was young and impressionable or just his desire to experiment with previous material and see how it feels. Whatever the reason, Cobras and Fire is once again an interpretation of a previous release within his band’s catalogue. And like Milking the Stars was a reimagining of Last Patrol with a strong late ‘60s flavor, Monster Magnet’s latest release puts 2010’s Mastermind in a time warp and sends it back somewhere around 1969.

That is in theory of course, because in practice Cobras and Fire sounds more like the soundtrack of an American road movie that deals with late ‘60s/early ‘70s. Eight tracks come from Mastermind, there’s a cover and a track that is essentially a medley of Magnet’s older songs. Calling this album just stoner rock wouldn’t do justice as it leans greatly towards the psychedelic/spacey side and the alternate arrangements include organ, piano and sitar. There will be times where loyal Monster Magnet fans might get vibes from 25 TAB’s “Lord 13”, Superjudge’s “Cage Around the Sun” and “Black Baloon” or “Pill Shovel” from Spine of God. Overall, the album revolves around mid-tempo songs and is a pretty chill experience. The only exception is the cover of The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion” which is turned into garage rock similar to MC5, who coincidentally released their masterpiece Kick out the Jams in 1969. In addition, “Cobras and Fire” and “Gods, Punks and the Everlasting Twilight” are both longer in duration than the originals as they include psych-infused jams.

What’s more, “The Titan” and Time Machine” are turned into instrumentals that mainly serve the purpose of making the album more atmospheric like “Goliath and the Vampires” on Powertrip. Nevertheless, “The Titan” was and still remains one of the weak links of the album. For most of the time, Cobras and Fire is a very enjoyable experience that works even more on the heavier moments such as the groovy “She Digs That Hole” with the infectious chorus, the ballsy “Mastermind ‘69” and the slow doom-fused “When The Planes Fall From the Sky”. Also, this version of “Watch Me Fade” works much better than the original as it’s the most “flower power” track of the album as has “single” potential written all over it.

Mastermind was/is one of the band’s most polarizing efforts, with fans debating whether it’s a fine hard rock album or an overproduced low point in Monster Magnet’s career; and probably unintentionally, Cobras and Fire will have the same effect. There will be those who feel that a second redux in a row is too much and reeks of stagnation while others will enjoy the album for what it is and view it as an improved experience over its dizygotic twin. Moreover, people who loved Mastermind for its hard rocking nature might find Cobras and Fire too fuzzy and tame while “I Live Behind the Paradise Machine” serves no real purpose apart from being a self-indulgent medley of various tracks.

All in all, Dave Wyndorf has completely restructured Mastermind not to the point where listeners will be unable to recognize the original versions of the songs but enough to make Cobras and Fire an album that can easily stand by itself within the band’s discography. His voice is once again on top form and the production suits perfectly the final outcome. However, the album could work better without one of the two instrumentals and the medley as they’re all gathered in the second half and some may feel that the album loses steam towards the end. Now if Dave could re-imagine Spine of God…



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really interesting redux of Mastermind for those who liked/disliked that album.



Your comments are appreciated.

Digging: Dio - Magica

Titan
October 14th 2015


19092 Comments


i know im one of the few that actually like mastermind......i need to hear the newest rendition of the t/t and will go from there.......another fantastic review by manosg

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks dude! Actually, after listening this one on repeat for a week or so, I enjoyed Mastermind a bit more.

DoofusWainwright
October 14th 2015


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Never heard the original album but this sounds really very tasty indeed. I prefer this approach to them trying to record a set of rockers as good as Powertrip again and again and failing

Sabrutin
October 14th 2015


5766 Comments


Fantastic [2] review man, very detailed.

ChaoticVortex
October 14th 2015


687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow I didn't even realized that MM just dropped this one. Great review, will check it out.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys, appreciate it.



Agreed Doofus, this one and the two that preceded it just sound more mature and unforced. Dave seems to be very content with this style and I'm really curious to check an album with original material.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


23854 Comments


nice review as always man! I liked last patrol so this is a good reminder to listen to this band more

to be completely honest I think your opening sentence reads sort of strangely, but maybe it's just me. did you mean "where" colors were? idk just not exactly following that sentence but the rest of the review is solid as usual :]

Digging: Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oops nice catch man. I've developed this thing lately and I confuse were and where haha. But yeah these guys are pretty good if you're in a spacey mood.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


23854 Comments


no problem buddy, yeah they're a really cool band from what I've heard. seems like you've reviewed several of their albums now, so props for that!

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks, been hooked on these guys since I saw them live a good 16 years ago with Metallica.

Froot
October 14th 2015


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh fuck shit is this out?



I mean Mastermind is shit but I LOVED Milking and maybe they can give this an equally good coat of paint.

Froot
October 14th 2015


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review btw, mind-pos. props for the Tab name drop

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah you'll probably enjoy this one, dude. One of my beefs with Mastermind is that it felt a bit overproduced and quite forced. This one sounds more natural.

Froot
October 14th 2015


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

holy fucking shitballs this version of Hallucination Bomb is impeccable



halfway through this now, sounds pretty good, definitely miles ahead of the original Mastermind but maybe not as good as Milking. still though, nice to see they're not losing touch anytime soon. leaning to a 3.5.

Froot
October 14th 2015


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

okay so i had a few drinks so this might sound better than it actually is, but oh god this is the best 3.5 ever holy fuck



closer made me almost cum when i heard the bridge guitars from Live Behind the Clouds kick in



now listening to Atomic Bitchwax's debut because I have to keep this groove going

rockandmetaljunkie
October 14th 2015


7475 Comments


Superjudge is still without a review ;)

Froot
October 15th 2015


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Now if Dave could re-imagine Spine of God…"



As far as I'm concerned that album is near-perfect as is. I mean it's already their most spaced-out LP, so trying to do anything else with it would probably be impossible, besides cleaning up the production which in my opinion is part of the album's very garage-y and primitive charm. Plus that version of Medicine they re-recorded for the God Says No sessions wasn't that good with giving it cleaner production so yeah

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2015


11313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Production is great for what it is, I agree. I didn't hate Medicine though. Not that it added anything substantial to the original, but it wasn't bad either imo. However, 2001 Dave was all about hard rock and shit whereas 2015 Dave knows better how to put those older albums in a time warp.



I mean, imagine Spine of God with organ, sitar and more flower power. That would be very interesting to me, dude. That's why I proposed Spine. That album is already out there but what if he makes it fuzzier and gives those guitars a bit more oomph?

danielcardoso
October 15th 2015


11766 Comments


"to an era were colors where..."

I believe you switched "where" and "were" right there.

Besides the strange first sentence, which I'd probably go over again if I were you, pretty solid review as usual from you.



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