Bart M. : It is insane the moment you start listening to an album that from the first second it already sounds like a killer. And still, I had not expected anything less from Monster Magnet, who present to us their eleventh opus. The guys from New Jersey who have been in their current line-up for a couple of years now, once started with their first and classical record 'Spine Of God' and have not been idle since. Every couple of years they released a new album, some of which even garnered them some commercial success. ('Dopes To Infinity', with the hit 'Negasonic Teenage Warhead', and of course the mighty 'Powertrip' with, among others, 'Spacelord'.) After a few commercially less successful, but nonetheless awesome albums, a couple of compilation albums and the unfortunate drug overdose of iconic frontman Dave Wyndorf (from which he fortunately fully recovered), the band got offered a deal with Napalm Records. Apparently this still feels good because this is the label that releases, almost five years after 'Last Patrol', their latest offering 'Mindfucker'.
About the (stupid) title, Dave says that he would be neglecting his responsibilities as a rockstar if he would not at least release one album with the title 'Mindfucker'. And he has a valid point here. Also, he continues, stupid is the new smart, and a title like this fits the current age quite well. I do not want to call him a visionary but I have to agree with his words on this topic. He explains the title even further saying that in this age everybody is so attached to the identity we give ourselves through social media, how good we have become at selling ourselves, that in fact we are all living like smalltime celebrities but without the proper paycheck. And that is kind of a mindfuck.
But in the end this is just a rock 'n roll record. Okay, not "just", it is fucking Monster Magnet we are talking about, and like I said in the first sentence: it immediately sounds good and familiar. Not chewed out and definitely not boring. We are given ten new, original songs, all covered in that juicy Monster Magnet dip, that raw sound that at the same time is so well polished. We hear Dave on a roll and it is very clear that his vocals have not lost any of their power and conviction. With his usual background screaming, yelling, growling and moaning he manages to give each of the songs a very lively vibe. A thing that the three constantly raging and riffing guitars also manage very well, and especially the starting riff of the song 'Mindfucker' sounds genius and will stick in your head for a long time. Well, it would have stuck there if afterwards, song after song, you would not have been treated to solo after riff after vocal surprise. Some other examples: following is 'I'm God', with Wyndorf at his best with the almost spoken words. It is even touching at points, with lyrics that seem farfetched but are actually super logical. 'Brainwashed' nearly lets your mind explode by starting out with lovely, psychedelic guitars to then move on into an up-tempo song in which Dave sings his lamenting lyrics with a lot of conviction, continually accompanied by that dreamy guitarsound. This album, as do many of their albums, sports another cover: 'Ejection'. Some people would say this is a Hawkwind cover, and although technically it is a Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters song, I think I will agree with those people. As usual the band manages to make the coversong sound good and original.
Dave says this album is an attempt to create an old fashioned, straight in your face, feel good rock record and I say the attempt is a very successful one. About the lyrics he mentions that he did his best to keep things positive but because the writing started in the same period president Trump was inaugurated and, according to Wyndorf, a lot of things went downhill from that moment on, there is still a lot of cynical humor, rage and even a touch of despair present. I think this makes 'Mindfucker' sound even better than was originally intended.
This album is top notch. We hear a very familiar sounding Monster Magnet with a sound that is reminiscent of the past but is at the same time very progressive. It is like the band has found yet another new dimension to tap into with 'Mindfucker' and I think it is fantastic that after so many years a band still sounds so great, on fire, and fresh. Like Dave says: "'MINDFUCKER' is still that rock-for-rock's-sake record I've been talking about. Rock on!"