Review Summary: A straightforward rock'n'roll record with influences from their entire catalog...
David Wyndorf was always a keen observer of the star-studded world he immersed himself into with Monster Magnet. His vintage rock influences have been the main driving force behind the songs and although the band had a fair share of mainstream presence in the late ’90s-early ‘00s, the man maintained his vision intact. Not getting sucked in the superstar vacuum helped a lot, as we received several detailed pictures of the twisted Hollywood lifestyle and the damage an inflated ego can cause. Even if Mind***er
was conceived as a good time record, it dives deep into cautionary tales and consequences of bad decisions. There are various comments on the world today too (the ubiquitous political/social/environmental issues), all set against a straightforward, proto-punk/acid rock revival background.
Wyndorf always knew how to play dumb and get his message across as well. The title track sees him questioning the identity loss people face in the 21st century by taking cheap celebrities as models in life. Plus, there’s this detachment & anxiety coming from the smallest, most meaningless things like negative comments on our social media pages for example. He asks us to stop looking for validation from others around us and just be ourselves whatever it takes. Still, the front man does it in his own way, using overblown, comic book-like language, delusions of grandeur and cosmic metaphors or comparisons. All these, in addition to the vernacular, make the lyrics read like a superhero story on each album. Even so, ‘Mind***er’ is only a small part here, as there are better tracks on the LP. ‘Rocket Freak’ and ‘Soul’ are high octane numbers reminiscing the Monolithic Baby!
era. The swinging riffs, alongside Dave’s passionate vocals are enough to wake you up and get you head banging. Meanwhile, ‘I’m God’ & ‘Drowning’ are the trademark expansive cuts balancing pile driving moments with melodic ones. The former cranks the fuzz to the maximum, relaxing only during the verses. It’s really cool how the Monster Magnet still manages to craft such compelling tunes with just a few chords. ‘Drowning’, on the other hand, echoes the tensed beginning of ‘Third Alternative’ off Dopes to Infinity
, before bursting into a scorching rocker. I admire Wyndorf’s voice, because it remained just as powerful and enthusiastic throughout his career. You would never guess he’s 61 years old.
On the second half, we receive another Robert Calvert (Hawkwind) cover, this time for ‘Ejection’. This version kept most of the ‘70s appeal, only the guitars boasting a fatter tone. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and flawless execution, so the band focused on delivering a fun, rocking rendition. The solos rip through the speakers while the rhythm section stays locked in the main groove. The throwback continues with ‘Brainwashed’, which is arguably the closest Monster Magnet got to the original proto-punk sound. The lighter, swaying progressions are catchy and the atmosphere compelling, nevertheless, it’s a bit odd to hear it from the band (especially when put next to the gritty stuff), despite making sense. Sandwiched between these songs is ‘Want Some’, a stadium sized rager, allowing Dave to go nuts. The Powertrip
vibe is welcomed, since Wyndorf was reluctant to return to radio-oriented material. Moreover, album closer, ‘When the Hammer Comes Down’ shoves riffs down your throat, on top of which the reverbed, prophetic vocals sound as if they’re coming out of speakers in the clouds. The mid-tempo riffage gives way to a punk-inspired segment, thus, allowing the guitars to melt your face off. Needless to say, this is a fitting end to this loud LP.
is more or less a current update on the straightforward material the band produced in the late ‘90s-early ‘00s. It is, however, filtered through a slightly vintage production, besides the more psychedelic leanings of Last Patrol
or Dopes to Infinity
. It might sound aimless upon a first listen, as it reaches in different directions, yet it is in fact a very cohesive affair with a rather concise message (by MM standards of course). Unfortunately, there’s nothing here you haven’t already heard from Monster Magnet, but everything is real tight, carefully sewn and free of excess. This straightforward LP also reveals a rejuvenated band who still has fun writing new tunes and performing live. Dave’s passion (and at times vitriolic presence) is the fuel to this 30-year old machine and it definitely burns brighter now than it did in the past decade.