When the new album by Monster Magnet arrived at my digital doorstep, I was surprised by what I got to hear. Somehow, I imagined Monster Magnet to be way heavier, with grunts and aggressive guitars. But when the album started to play, there was a big surprise waiting for me. ‘Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)’ is nowhere near this aggressive sound. Therefore I gave it a little more time to sink in, but then I read something else that surprised me.
As it seems, ‘Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)’ is an album that exists completely of re-imagined tracks from the 2010 Monster Magnet release ‘Mastermind’. As you might guess, I wasn’t acquainted with the band before and, unfortunately, I don’t know the original. But as it turned out, the original ‘Mastermind’ tracks are completely different from the ‘Cobras And Fire’ versions.
Monster Magnet Frontman Dave Wyndorf explains that he wanted the album to be dirtier, to be more spaced out and weirder than ever. Well, he managed to pull that off all-right. The dirty ideas and sounds are immediately displayed on opening track ‘She Digs That Hole’. Which can be interpreted in a couple of different ways, if you know what I mean. It’s a somewhat spaced out track that really has a dust covered, muffled sound to it. Going from mellow, to heavy, to mellow again, the track is a brilliant example of the diversity Monster Magnet has to offer.
The album got some piano, organ and sitar added to the original rock sound. This immediately grants some of the tracks an oriental vibe. Some of it is found in the opening tunes of ‘Mastermind’. While the track is graced with sitars, they go absent on the rest of the track. Which doesn’t really matter, because the rest of the track is pretty cool the way it is. A stoner rock riff really gives the song a groovy feel to it.
A track that does harbor this oriental vibe is ‘Hallucination Bomb’. One of the most psychedelic efforts on the record and really shows the diversity in Wyndorf’s vocals. He sings clean notes, but also does an amazing nasal, Ozzy Osbourne kind of vocals. He really stretches the boundaries on his vocal delivery. The spaced out, nine minutes long, ‘I Live Behind The Paradise Machine’ is truly a crown on this Monster Magnet record. It’s psychedelic to the max, strange effects are applied on vocals, guitars, drums, on almost everything.
A cover of the Temptations’ ‘Ball Of Confusion’ is like a summary of this entire album. It’s weird, it sounds great, but it’s so very strange and sometimes confusing. I feel ashamed for not knowing the original Monster Magnet work, but a man cannot know and listen to everything. As far as I can see, this strange, but nice re-interpretations have turned out pretty well. ‘Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)’ really requires lots of your time, because it’s not one you simply jump into. Monster Magnet is weird, but in a good way.
- She Digs That Hole
- Watch Me Fade
- Hallucination Bomb
- Gods And Punks
- The Titan
- When The Planes Fall From The Sky
- Ball Of Confusion (The Temptations Cover)
- Time Machine
- I Live Behind The Paradise Machine Evil Joe Barresi’s Magnet Mash Vol. 1