Friday, 23 October 2015

Monster Magnet - ‘Cobras and Fire’: The Mastermind Redux (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/10/2015
Label: Napalm Records



Overall, it is a strong record and incomparable, in many ways, to the record which birthed it. If you are expecting ‘Space Lord’ done over and over, you won't get that here, but you will get a fine psych rock record. That is what you want, isn't it?!


‘Cobras and Fire’: The Mastermind Redux CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. “She Digs That Hole”
2. “Watch Me Fade”
3. “Mastermind ’69”
4. “Hallucination Bomb”
5. “Gods and Punks”
6. “The Titan”
7. “When the Planes Fall From the Sky”
8. “Ball of Confusion”
9. “Time Machine”
10. “I live Behind the Paradise Machine: Evil Joe Barresi’s Magnet Mash Vol.1″

The Review:

Monster Magnet return with another “re-imagining” of one of their records. It should be made clear here, first off, that this is like hearing a completely new record. Don't think for a second that this is just a case of dropping or adding a guitar track or tinkering with the snare drum sound. It isn't. It is basically as the title implies- a redux of the ‘Mastermind’ album.  More accurately, this is a redux of the ‘Mastermind’ album as played by Dave Wyndorf according to his muse and whims of the present. Wyndorf, in the not too distant past, was the leather trousered galactic rock star; lean and mean and living the dream. Dave these days is now in his late 50s. He is no longer lean and now lets the music, instead of his muscles, do the talking. If you enjoyed ‘Last Patrol’, this album is for you.

As any follower of the band will know, Wyndorf took them from odd psychedelic entity into more streamlined and sleek song writing territory by way of stoner rock- bringing in metal posturing and a good dose of sleaze. In his latter day guise, Wyndorf has gone back to the past- The Doors, The Stooges and MC5 loom large on this record, just as they did on ‘Last Patrol’. Things are perhaps darker here, but not without humour. As he intones “You've got your phone and your mirror, what more do you need?” in ‘Watch Me Fade’, it is clear that he still has a wry smile for your aural pleasure.

A track by track comparison with the original ‘Mastermind’ is pointless, such is the disparity between the albums. In simple terms, this is more punk and garage rock while being much less metal. No problem, as far as I am concerned, this showcases a dark and paranoid side of the band very well. The title track is a swirling six and half minutes which takes you on a bad trip for sure.

‘Hallucination Bomb’, dropped in at the number four slot here, is... different, too. You will recognise elements, of course, but this really is different. Wyndorf's vocal is excellent on this one, too. ‘Gods and Punks’ is a real highlight- catchy and well executed, again in psych setting- no huge riff work outs here. As the record progresses through ‘The Titan’, ‘When The Planes Fall From The Sky’ andBall of Confusion’ and onwards, you realise that this may as well be a new album. DO NOT be put off by the idea of a “redux” it is more different than you might imagine. If you enjoyed the “Milking the Stars” re-imagining of “Last Patrol”, then use that as a yard stick. By the time the record finishes, any doubt about the validity of re-working old songs will be gone.

Overall, it is a strong record and incomparable, in many ways, to the record which birthed it. If you are expecting ‘Space Lord’ done over and over, you won't get that here, but you will get a fine psych rock record. That is what you want, isn't it?!


Cobras and Fire’: The Mastermind Redux is available here

Band info: facebook



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