Monster Magnet has never been a band that have followed trends or stuck to a rule book. Over the course of their near 30-year career, they’ve gone from epic psychedelic stoner freak outs to driving hard rock tinged with an industrial flavour and everything else that happened to fall in between.
On their 11th full length album, ‘Mindfucker’ the band take another left turn by dialling down the stoner and psychedelic influences and offering the masses an honest to goodness, straight up rock and roll album.
As front man Dave Wyndorf says of the new album “The first thing you’re gonna want to know is why such a dumb title? Number one, I can’t go my whole life without calling one record Mindfucker. I’d be shirking my responsibility as a rocker! Plus, the way things are going these days stupid is the new smart. Yeah, things are that fucked up. The people who understand my not so subtle reasoning here will get it. How many people will that be? I don’t know.” And this one smart slab of big dumb fun.
Kicking off the ten-track offering is the fuzzed-up Rocket Freak that is driven by rocking guitars and pounding drums reminiscent of DC5 and early KISS. Wyndorf screeches and yells throughout the track which sets the tone for the rest of album, big, loud, dumb and full of fun.
Without respite, the next track Soul continues the aural assault at a breakneck pace, while Wyndorf wails about having nothing left but Soul, the extended outro is a glorious collision of driving beats and hot riffs, features some great guitar work from Phil Caivano and Garrett Sweeny.
Next up is the title track, which kicks off with a thunderous riff that builds to a giant chorus which, although is still straight ahead hard rock, still has moments of stoner rock peppered throughout. It’s definitely much more subtle than usual but just enough to give the song that extra bite.
A standout track is the deceptive I’m God, beginning with a lone guitar and Wyndorf crooning quietly before launching into a fast-paced rocker featuring great rhythms from drummer Bob Pantella that are peppered with off beats and unusual stylings without sounding forced and maintaining the straightforward rock and roll style.
The next track Drowning is the closest the band comes to revisiting their Psychedelic Stoner roots, clocking in at over 7 minutes, the song waltzes slowly forward and alternates from quiet contemplative musings to epic Black Sabbath styled riffing that will most likely leave you simultaneously ready to head bang and sit back and zone out in the best way possible.
The second half of the album continues the trajectory set by the first group of tracks, from the fun, almost Rolling Stones like Ejection, the urgent sounding, cowbell driven Want Some to light punk rockabilly styled Brainwashed, the sultry mid-tempo All Day Midnight and the hard rocking album closer When The Hammer Comes Down. The group of tunes never loose sight of having fun and rocking out.
Once again, Monster Magnet have proved that sometimes keeping things simple can be more surprising and exciting, and they have also once again shown us why they are still kicking ass and taking names. A great album that takes the right steps forward AND the right steps back.