Decades into what can only be described as a consistently entertaining career, Dave Wyndorf and his lecherous crew in Monster Magnet are back with their eleventh proper album, Mindfucker. Why a name like that? Why not, according to Wyndorf, and he’s out to prove once again that Monster Magnet are the reigning kings of stoner rock and more.
This time around, Mindfucker takes the band’s trademark hazy jams and bigger-than-life guitar solos and combines them with nasty doses of proto-punk and garage metal, ultimately resulting in a mixed bag of styles, song quality and overall effectiveness.
The driving opener “Rocket Freak” is a great example of Monster Magnet’s stripped-down attack. It’s a short hammer of a song that comes charging out of the gates with abandon, reminiscent of old Steppenwolf cuts if their metal quotient was turned up to eleven. Several of the songs on Mindfucker are of a similar bent, including “Ejection” and the excellent “When the Hammer Comes Down,” the latter of which features one of the few riffs here that were once the band’s trademark.
Elsewhere, Monster Magnet don’t stray too far from their psychedelic, stoner metal heritage. “I’m God” taps into their comfort zone in this regard, while “Drowning,” one of the album’s best songs, could come straight off of Dopes to Infinity and “Brainwashed” would also fit nicely on Powertrip. You can’t go wrong with either of those songs, with their mind-altered lyrics and tripped-out music. This is the Monster Magnet we know and love.
Mindfucker features Wyndorf’s typical crazy, disjointed lyrics. They range from silly – on “Want Some” he sneers “Well they call me the son of the cobra” – to acerbic, as on “I’m God,” where he sings “Wake up kids, you were smokin’ in bed, you set the house on fire again, like you wanna be dead.” As always, Wyndorf makes us smile and shake our heads at his combination of the nonsensical and the wise.
Overall, perhaps because of the variety in the songs, Mindfucker tends to lack the cohesion past masterpieces have. The throwback songs Wyndorf and crew wanted to push here, the faster-paced rockers, don’t mix effortlessly with the stoner groove of the rest of the material, leaving us a little unsure of where we stand. While there are no duds to be found, we are also missing the band’s massive riffs such as we were privilege to with songs like “Bummer” and “Dopes to Infinity.” Mindfucker is a good but not great entry into Monster Magnet’s canon.
(released March 23, 2018 on Napalm Records)
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Watch Monster Magnet – “Ejection” Video