Back in my teenage years, I was one of the few in the high school that embraced space rockers Monster Magnet’s stoned-sludge vibe. In fact, I still consider Dopes To Infinity as one of the best and most underrated hard rock records from the mid-90s. In 1998, the band gained legitimate commercial success for the first time with the release of Powertrip—partly because of a couple catchy jingles, but more so because they presented themselves to MTV like the Puff Daddy of metal. It was an intelligent business move on frontman Dave Wyndorf’s part; nothing sells albums like half-naked women dancing in Vegas.
For the most part I have not kept up with the band since Powertrip. The band has however released a new record every few years with accompanying world tours since. The last time I saw them live was in 1998 for 92 cents at a 92.3 KRock Radio show. I was in the front for the performance at Irving Plaza and during one of the slower songs, I reached out for a high five from Wyndorf. I think he thought I was a chick or something because he really grasped it, and for a second caressed my palm. It felt really awkward as an insecure 18 year old at the time, and I must have been a little weirded out. But I don’t think that was the reason I stopped paying attention to the band.
After reviewing their material since the release of Powertrip, the band has remained strong for the most part. On October 25, Monster Magnet will release their eighth studio album titled Mastermind. The first single is “Gods and Punks.”
“Gods and Punks” does not reel the listener in from the intro, but contains some cool power grooves at around the 1:30 mark. Overall the tune is not nearly as sick as classics like “Look To Your Orb For The Warning” or “Twin Earth.” The refrain is infectious and the lead guitars have that layered Black Sabbath sound—but at times sound a little sloppy. The main riff is straightforward; a few sludgy chords, signature Monster Magnet.
The rest of the album should be interesting and I am very much looking forward to its release. My first impression is that Mastermind won’t be much of a commercial success, but will probably please the die-hards. And at this point in their careers and lives (early 50s) that really should be their number one objective. It feels good that they are still around, now if only Corrosion of Conformity can get their act together for a new record with Pepper, I can still party like its 1995.