Tuesday 28 October 2014

Monster Magnet - Milking The Stars: A Re-Imagining Of Last Patrol (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: November 14th 2014
Label: Napalm Records

Milking The Stars: A Re-Imagining Of Last Patrol – track listing

1. Let The Circus Burn
2. Mindless Ones '68
3. No Paradise For Me
4. End of Time(B-3)
5. Milking The Stars
6. Hellelujah(Fuzz and Swamp)
7. I Live Behind The Clouds(Roughed Up and Slightly Spaced)
8. Goliath Returns
9. Stay Tuned(Even Sadder)
10. The Duke(Full On Drums'N Wah)


Dave Wyndorf - lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Garrett Sweeny - lead guitar, sitar
Phil Caivano - rhythm guitar
Chris Kosnik - bass guitar
Bob Pantella - drums, perc


I've always been a tad suspicious towards re-worked/ re-mixed albums, especially when said album has only been out for a year and is damned good as it is. So when Monster Magnet announced the release of 'Milking The Stars: A Re-Imagning Of Last Patrol', a remake of the excellent 'Last Patrol' I didn't know what to think. The only recurring thought I had was simply 'why?'. 'Last Patrol' was in no need of a facelift whatsoever. Therefore, when the boss asked if I was interested in reviewing it I agreed but braced myself for stink affair. Come on, the new wax is called 'Milking The Stars...' and that is a pointer at cashing in. But like so many times before though I have to admit defeat, and I gladly do so, since this is a fantastic platter!

To be honest, I haven't read any press releases regarding Wyndorf and Co's latest offering, so I have no idea about Dave's reason to put this one out. And that might be a good reason, you know, gives a fresher take to it. What's on offer is ten tracks where four are brand new and six are redone. Some versions come with two live tracks. And what can I say....it's bloody marvellous!

Before playing I recommend you sit very comfortably, relax, close your eyes anf then hit play. The moment opener 'Let The Circus Burn' there is no turning back. Spaced out to the max the song will pull you in to this headfuck of an album. Slowly building up this instrumental will throw you out into deep space and if you make it all the way to the end, you are a new person all together. 'Mindless Ones 68' starts off like Rolling Stones' 'Paint It Black' before turning into a mix of The Doors playing 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' on a shitload of acid. I love this song in it's original version but holy hell, it's a whole different kind of beast now! Eerie and lurking 'No Paradise For Me' gives me the feeling of seeing a new day dawn after three days of no sleep and the sunlight fucks with you as is the visions you've witnessed during the insomnia. This song will mess with you...in a good way no less. Fast and furious 'End Of Time(B-3) has been soaked with the sweet tones of the good and trusted Hammon B-3 organ and it fits in extremely well. An already psychedelic song in all it's heaviness this addition brings more of the late sixties, early seventies vibe that Wyndorf is going for. Very, very good. Another eerie track is the title track. Kind of the same vibe as 'No Paradise For Me' there's more of a reflective mood amidst all the trippiness, although there is a sinister touch floating in the background.

Renaming 'Hallelujah' 'Hellelujah(Fuzz And Swamp) is brilliant. Having added a lot of fuzz - read even more fuzz - to the original version while bringing in the delta swamplands of Mississippi and Louisiana, has turned it into a stomper of a sinister and evil psych blues song. Absolutely love it! One of my favourite songs on 'Last Patrol' is 'I Live Behind The Clouds'. Here it is called 'I Live Behind The Clouds(Roughed Up And Slightly Spaced) and man, it has lost none of it's appeal. Hell, true to the new title, it is as trippy as anything can get and the added roughness plays along excellently with darker themes of the album. The last of the four new songs is 'Goliath Returns'. Instrumental and foreboding a sense of Armageddon oozes from it. Another favourite from 'Last Patrol' is 'Stay Tuned' which is now called 'Stay Tuned(Even Sadder). Again, Dave has succeeded in altering a song just enough to make it new while still retaining the original greatness. The guitar towards the end is so beautiful in all it's despair. Last one out is another survivor from the 2013 release, 'The Duke(Full On Drums'N Wah). Well, the name has been somewhat altered but most of it remains the same. What is different is a fuller, richer sound where both the guitar and of course drums have been enhanced.

All the worries and concerns I had regarding about this LP were not only unfounded but I was also thrown out of the park. Dave and his band took all they had and turned a beast into a rare double headed beast. What I mean is, rarely can any band or artist take their own material and recreate it into something so fantastically good as Monster Magnet has done. To pull this off, not only do you need a hell of a lot of talent, you also need the confidence and oomph to go through with a project like this, all the way to the end. A truly amazing album!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Andy, Jon and Mona at Napalm Records for sending us a promo. Milking The Stars: A Re-Imagining Of Last Patrol will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Napalm Records on November 14th 2014.

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