Apr 27, 2021

Monster Magnet - "A Better Dystopia"

Category: CD/Video Reviews

MONSTER MAGNET

“A Better Dystopia”

 2020 was a weird year; the world basically turned to sh*t and everything felt bleak.  Monster Magnet used their time off to focus on a cover record which features an interesting mix of ultra obscure stoner rock classics.  

 Monster Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf stated:

“We all agreed that we would be bored out of our minds within a month of lockdown. MONSTER MAGNET loves the road. It’s a lifestyle. So, I considered our options. Rather than panhandle on the internet, hawking masks and Zoom-rocking practice sessions for dollars, I suggested we record a “bunker record”. A total DIY affair (band only) recorded and mixed in Bob Pantella’s small but potent Freak Shop Studios/rehearsal space right here in New Jersey. But what to record?"

 "I didn’t feel much like writing, but working on anything was better than watching the news as hospitals filled up, people died, and American politics went bat-shit crazy. The world roared “Dystopia! Apocalypse! Revolution!”. I’d heard those words before, and they brought to mind my childhood in the late 60’s/early 70’s… and the music… and short playlist of songs (just one of many) that I’d been carrying around with me on my whatever device to listen to before shows. Of course, these tunes have also been in my head for more or less my whole life. These were not the popular hits of the time. This was like a playlist from the 4th dimension… strange bits of musical obscurity, mostly dredged up from that inglorious and freaky “twilight zone” time that preceded Arena Rock, Heavy Metal, Reggae and Disco. A no-man’s land of hard rock that still had remnants of psychedelia and garage punk but had abandoned any notion of “flower power” or frat house fun. And of course, they rocked."

 "Yeah, these songs were it.”

 
Here’s a track by track breakdown of each song on the record:
(Original Artist in Parentheses)

01. The Diamond Mine (Dave Diamond)

This opener is just under 2 minutes in length and is more or less an artsy spoken word piece which allows Wyndorf to shine at what he does best, leading the sonic overdrive supercharge that is  Monster Magnet!

 
02. Born to Go (Hawkwind)

What you realize very fast with this record is that most of these songs are so obscure that most listeners would have no idea if these were original Monster Magnet songs.  “Born To Go” has an Iggy and the Stooges feel to it and this one rocks hard!

03. Epitaph for a Head (JD Blackfoot)

This funky jam has swagger and 70’s groove, the guitar lick sounds like Hendrix married with Eno


04. Solid Gold Hell (The Scientists)

This sludgy rocker is simple and to the point.  Moments of psychedelia make it trippy.

05. Be Forewarned (The Macabre)

This bluesy rocker has a cool surf guitar riff which makes it instantly memorable.  This is one of the best songs off the record.

06. Mr. Destroyer (Poo-Bah)

This song sounds like it was a left over from an early Monster Magnet record, it’s trippy, chunky, and has an anthemic chorus you can sing along to.  Fight, Fight, Fight!

07. When the Wolf Sits (Jerusalem)

Straight up 70’s riff rock, this one has a groove and loads of grit.

08. Death (Pretty Things)

Slow, simple, and trippy.  Not my favorite song off the record but still decent.

09. Situation (Josephus)

Psychedelic, dark, and ultra jammy, this one is for the pot smokers.

10. It’s Trash (The Cave Men)

Punk infused, 60’s rock with echoey vocals.  The essence of this record is transmitted throughout this song.

11. Motorcycle (Table Scraps)

Opening with a driving drum beat, this one has teeth and with rip your head off.

12. Learning to Die (Dust)

Clocking in at over 6 minutes, this one is from the legendary Dust and has a British style to it.  Monster Magnet own this cover and perform it with absolute passion. 

Wyndorf said, “‘Learning To Die’ blew me away when I was 15 and it still blows me away.

Man, do I LOVE to sing this song. Dust was one of the greats.”

 13. Welcome to the Void (Morgen)

This one closes the record on a trippy note.


As a complete body of work, the new Monster Magnet record features such obscure cover songs that it’s almost like listening to a new record of all originals from Monster Magnet.  Wyndorf and the boys always give it their all and this record is no exception.  The guitars sound different on each track, there are moments of hard rock, punk, surf rock, psychedelia, and stoner rock which flavor the album and create diversity throughout the record.  The album is available in several different formats including limited edition colored vinyl.

 

Author: Bob Suehs