Monster Magnet - 'Mastermind'

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Monster Magnet - 'Mastermind'

Monster Magnet, monster album, and possibly the release of the year.

Fire up the masterburner – they’re back! Three years after the release of the vaguely disappointing ‘4-Way Diablo’ and 15 years since the breakthrough ‘Dopes To Infinity’ album, the seemingly MIA volcano-humpin’, powertrippin’ space lord Dave Wyndorf and his fellow monster magnets are back in business once more with a new label and a cracking new album. Bigger than a crop circle, heavier than an elephant bell and stranger than a dinosaur vacuum, ‘Mastermind’ is a real return to form and the perfect antidote to the impending winter blues as the album’s twelve tracks transport you to the weird and wonderful world that is Wyndorf’s uncharted, unchained and possibly unhinged imagination. “The music itself is exaggerated and muscular,” he claims on the band’s official website; “and the lyrics read like a fever-dream of life in the 21st century. Cynicism, optimism, satire, sex, deluded fantasies and dead-on reality. They’re all here – sometimes even in the same song… I’m having a weird life and I have to write it down that way!”

Having said all that, to be fair there’s no great surprises on the album, but, then again, why should there be? Like Motörhead, with Monster Magnet what you see is most definitely what you get, and ‘Mastermind’ is no exception; serving up 60 minutes of supercharged riffs, anthemic singalongs and laid-back Jim Morrison-esque vibery, it doesn’t deviate too far from the band’s normal template but it exudes a confidence missing from ‘4-Way Diablo’ and should surely push the band back to the heady heights of fame and fortune once more.

Despite its title, ‘Hallucination Bomb’ actually makes an understated opening to the album. No ‘Crop Circle’ this time around; instead Monster Magnet offer up a deeply-grooving slice of stoner pie to kick things off with a middle section that could have come straight off Black Sabbath’s ‘Master Of Reality’. While ‘Bored With Sorcery’ ups the tempo with its bouncy, punky riffage and a gravity well full of attitude, it’s the third cut that really sets things alight. A Magnet classic in the making, ‘Dig That Hole’ is a huge song with a huge sound built around a huge riff, and you can expect to hear the audience participation of “Woo-ho! Dig that hole” to reverberate around venues across the (living) planet for many years to come. I could go on but I’ve got to leave you some treats to discover for yourself. I guess if there’s anything that left me a trifle cold it’s ‘The Titan Who Cried Like A Baby’; coming on with all the swagger of an epic in the making, it should have been and could have been a terrific track had it taken flight and gone someplace megasonic, but disappointingly it unfortunately peters out after just three-and-a-half minutes.

But then again, there’s ‘Gods And Punks’, the strength of which lies in its simplicity, reprising the oft-used Wyndorf trick of following a low key verse with a heavy, heavy chorus; and a strong coupling to wrap things up in some degree of style with the quirky ‘Ghost Story’ giving way to album closer ‘All Outta Nuthin’; one of the band’s laid-back. dippy, trippy, Doorsy-type singsongs, this is exactly the sort of thing you need to bring you down after an hour with a slut machine.

Monolithic, baby? Hell, yeah! Will heads explode? Quite possibly… ‘Mastermind’ is a welcome mat back to the real world. And with a solid but crystal clear production courtesy of Matt Hyde and eye-catching cover art, this is the right stuff, yes sir-ee, and more besides. Monster Magnet, monster album, and possibly the release of the year. And if God says no, don’t listen.

John Tucker

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