Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Music Review: Monster Magnet, Last 3 Albums

As soon as I heard "Space Lord" on the radio one night while driving a technically-stolen car, I became utterly hooked by new metal. The song, while kind of goofy, was great loud metal, with skillful guitar and the inimicable voice of Dave Wyndorf. I went out and bought Powertrip, and didn't like it. I found Dopes to Infinity at a pawn shop, though, and LOVED it. Thus began my progression of Monster Magnet fandom. See below.

Dopes To Infinity - 1995

Without a doubt one of my favorite heavy metal albums, Dopes to Infinity was packed to the absolute brim with thundering, rocking, well-layed guitars, marching-beat drum-lines, and the scream-tacular voice of Dave Wyndorf. That trademark cat-screech can still come accross as the definiton of hardcore nearly a decade later.

Huge songs, most of them nothing more than guitar solos linked together with peculiar lyrics, make up half the album, paying far more attention to the rhythm section than most other metal bands. The rising, falling, cresting lead and rhythm guitars intermingle with tremendous skill, making this a perfect album to crank up and try to fall asleep to.

9.25 out of 10

Powertrip - 1998

It was only recently after hearing "Powertrip", the song, used in the commercial for the movie Soldier, did I dig up my copy of Powertrip. Vowing to give it a second try, I played the whole thing in my Discman. About fifty times.

I couldn't believe I didn't like before! The first ten songs are very similar to the far on "Dopes to Infinity", just compressed. Huge, meandering guitar solos have given way to short, sharp, brilliant musical interludes. Far more storytelling than "Dopes", it is said that Dave got a penthouse suite in vegas, and wrote one song per day on a steady diet of booze and casinos. He then brought the whole band in, recorded, and went on tour again.

The many drug and alcohol references are so very, very obvious that I doubt anyone would feel influenced to try either one. "I'm driving the tractor on the drug farm" might be the least subtle musical hook ever used. Despite that, the song "Tractor" has an infectuous beat, as do most of the songs on this album. It is impossible to drive slowly, walk slowly, or do anything slowly with this playing (except for the song "Baby Gotterdamerung", which might confuse the hell out of you if you just listened to every song before it.)

8.5 out of 10

God Says No - 2001

I had bought it when I saw it in a pawn shop, listened to it once, and didn't like it much. Realizing that I had just re-tried, and liked, "Powertrip", I dug out my copy of "God Says No" last week, and put it in my Discman. A few of the songs skip, but I'd have to say that half of it is awesome, fully what I would expect from them. The tracks have gotten smoother, glossier, losing the garage feel of "Dopes", but the same undeniable beat and rhythm are there. Dave's lyrics are getting wierder by the day, but if they make sense to him, more power to him, I say!

I am still getting into it, but I'd have to say that Monster Magnet peaked shortly after "Dopes", maybe in the middle of "Powertrip". "God Says No" is pretty damn good, but it is an attempt to recapture the magic of "Dopes", which was waning for "Powertrip", and is now mostly gone. Intellecuatlly recreated but spiritually lacking, "God" is a must for any real fan.

7.0 out of 10

I still have to go out and buy every other album of theirs, since I haven't heard their EARLY stuff, so I'll get back to you when I find it!

VERDICT: Go out and buy "Dopes To Infinity" right now, you freaking idiot! Do it! DO IT, I SAY!!!


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