Saturday 26 September 2015

Monster Magnet - Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

Release date: Oct 2nd 2015 RoW - Oct 9th 2015. US/CAN Label: Napalm Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux) - Tracklisting

She Digs That Hole
Watch Me Fade
Hallucination Bomb
Gods and Punks
The Titan
When the Planes Fall From the Sky
Ball Of Confusion
Time Machine
I live Behind the Paradise Machine: Evil Joe ...

Band Members:

Dave - bass/vocals
Erik - guitar/vocals/theremin
Mike - drums/percussion


Dave Wyndorf and Monster Magnet have decided to reimagine another LP. Wyndorf and Co. did this before, quite successfully, when they reimagined 2014's "Last Patrol" as "Milking The Stars". They have now done it again. Wyndorf has chosen to breathe a different type of psychedelic dust into 2010's "Mastemind" under the title of "Cobras and Fire"(The Mastermind Redux).

I have always considered this band space rock/stoner rock. Some people primarily think that stoner rock rolled like a tumbleweed across the sun baked desert, the mesa of the West Coast, the whole California vibe…but this type of music was also being cultivated on another sand terrain, near the salty ocean shores of the East of all places...New Jersey. 

 I believe that Monster Magnet deserve a patch on your faded denim jacket...they actually deserve the most coveted area...they should be adorning the full back patch area, so they can be showcased through your human billboard appreciation for their “phantasmic” creations.

Dave Wyndorf loves music. He loves creating music. He is among the best at making music. For those who have lost what they held so dear in music, he has a therapeutic, dream like ability to assist you in rekindling your love affair with music. I envy you and your future experience if you choose to listen to this band’s newest album.

Dave Wyndorf is a fantastic album writer. He can hear a psychedelic symphony in is head and capture it all on vinyl. He then adds some of the best lyrics you ever heard. I mean this guy is at least 10 minutes ahead of everyone else on earth. He tells his tales with verbiage of things he holds dear. We are extremely fortunate enough to exist as this frontman of psychedelics churns out sonic masterpiece after sonic masterpiece. Wyndorf is the trippy conductor of a hallucinogenic smoke filled train, riding the rails at surreal speed through bizarro-land’s hidden time warp, straight into oblivion. Get a one-way ticket to what should be a sold out ride to expanding your consciousness.

In short, this album is a must listen. This album has ebb and flow, groove and “whoa”. This is monster magic. Not many folks could take one of their old albums and transform it into something so beautifully different. This is another life preserver thrown through the great beyond from the hippie father you never knew you had...

This album is essentially a reincarnation, a union between the original past and the new distant past through the eyes of a mind-bending illusionist. I think I had a magic kit with Wyndorf’s face on it back in the 70's. Wyndorf is a black magic magician, throwing out creepy crawlers, shrunken heads and deflated balloon animals at your psychedelic birthday party. You must not misunderstand, there is no trickery here. This not a quick cash in or an overnight rip-off. This is a heroic and uncanny undertaking which shows you the strength in the structure of these songs and what different orchestration can do in breathing new life into past albums. Monster Magnet is onto something here. But please remember that this album easily stands on its own as another release in the Magnet's catalog. This album is a supernatural royal flush.

First, the album cover: The album cover depicts a bedroom where a teenage misfit probably misspent his youth pondering the meaning of life and decided to write the soundtrack of all of our blown out stoner lives. This cover is the environmental setting for unleashing your potential, where one realizes the power of their own imagination, the potting soil for your own moss covered day-glo colored pet rock. The primary hue is reddish or rosy which may also be in line with this album being a reincarnation of a past album. The album should come with a warning about wearing magnet shaped shoes fit for a monster because gravity disappears on this experience. Don’t be surprised when you open your album and shimmering stars fall out. The good old days are back, my friends.

The original Mastermind album was a somewhat clean sounding rock album. This album takes the original, changes the recipe by removing some ingredients, adding new substances, and then dipping it all in dinosaur egg batter, rolling it dusty breadcrumbs and baking it within your little sister's play oven which miraculously escaped many garage sales by being hidden on the bottom of the long forgotten toy box growing mold in your parent's old decor, now vintage, basement. You will hear added sitar, organ & piano, as well as, echo on nicotine stained vocals, trademark fuzz guitar, pulsing bass and driving drums. The original songs are recognizable if you listen hard enough, but the new versions are a freaked-up fuzz out. This maybe less electrified as far as magnets go, but a magnet is still a magnet and this ones controlled by the mastermind of the monsters.

The track listing of this album is out of order from the original. Some songs are hybrids with original album songs and "Last Patrol" songs. Some titles have been changed. Some songs are gone. Also, there is a great cover of The Temptations '69 recording: "Ball Of Confusion".

You almost expect to hear crackles and pops between tracks, sounds analogous to groove separations between each track on a vinyl recording, because this is like pulling an album out from dad's old record collection and giving it a spin on the wooden turntable down in the black light basement. This seems like a predecessor to Mastermind. This is less than a rock album constructed in present time and more of a thrift store find left over from the past.

Let’s talk about the individual tracks…

"She Digs That Hole" is a first class rocker with a guitar solo that will slice your ear off. It is the perfect album opener.

"Watch Me Fade" is a catchy tune that is heavy on the organ with a great vocal performance by Wyndorf.

"Mastermind ‘69" incorporates the use of a sitar and some prominent organ. The tail end of some vocal passages have a nice echo effect and the guitar parts make the track sound complete. This is a fantastic song no matter the arrangement. Your golden age comic book pages come alive on this track. Have your coat nearby, because you will get the chills.

"Hallucination Bomb" is a long fugue journey into sound. This hallucination trip, if sold on a space station cantina pit stop, would be stamped “cobras and fire” and come with a star littered map to guide the astral traveller through a black hole. The guitar is a cobra on fire in zero gravity. This song is quite an orchestrated piece of music, epic in scale and super massive in delivery. You must be prepared to enter a new dimension through hypnotic sound with this track.

"Gods and Punks" is less bombastic than the original version. It is trance like with instrument pulsations and echoed vocals. The guitar solo is dirty, almost rusty, like it was recorded in a junkyard, late at night and it is perfectly awesome.

"The Titan", with it’s chilling piano, is music accompaniment to watching old footage of abandoned missile silos, Midwest shopping malls and defunct school buildings. You need to listen to this while watching your flea market VHS tapes containing those unreleased, grainy, faded out, multiple generation copies of 60's sci-fi films and 70's horror flicks.

"When Planes Fall From the Sky" is cosmic power. It is a locomotive. The echoed vocals are stretched out over distorted bass lines, straightforward drums and sincere guitar work. I think I like this version better than the original. It is a clear favorite.

"Ball Of Confusion" is a rocket on full thrust that doesn't stop until it crashes into the moon. It fits perfect on this album. This could be a Monster Magnet song if one didn't know better...

"Time Machine" is now an instrumental, a glowing green orb. This is an organ baked beast that is majestically beautiful. The “Philthy” Phil guitar work would make a war chief bow.

"I Live Behind the Paradise Machine: Evil Joe Barresi’s Magnet Mash Vol.1" is a cross breed hybrid of "I Live Behind the Clouds", "Paradise" and "No Paradise For Me", all originally from "Last Patrol" & "Milking the Stars". It is a sonic mutation that could hold the key to the salvation of music. This is a brilliant closer and is perfect for a walk around the rings of Saturn. You may cry if you listen to this with headphones on. Don't be surprised when your tears freeze and get harvested by the planet's gravitational pull into the future spa, where you crossing the finish line is automatically captured by a ramshackle robot on a blurry “instamatic” photograph, which will immediately immortalize you in the psychedelic photo album...forever...

This album should sell like flapjacks at a lumberjack convention. It should be played at the International UFO conference. In the last publicized blurry picture of Bigfoot, he was seen with this album under his arm. Do you get it yet? Buy this album. This album will leave you feeling dizzy. Analogous to when the drugged out carny worker left you on the tilt and whirl ride for too long as a kid.

Actually, do yourself a favor and don’t just stop at this album. Go see them live…it's as close as you will come to being an astronaut.

In conclusion, this album will essentially make you feel like you are in a drunken stupor, enjoying a cool buzz, while walking on the beach of Mars with your android girlfriend, staring at the golden aura on the mysterious horizon…but wait…what’s that you see??? Something is winking at you…It’s the bull god… and the old bull god can still breathe glowing coals through his nostrils as he passes through the galaxy leaving a trail of musical medicine behind…

Words by Nick Palmisano

Thanks to Mona, Jon and Andy at Napalm Records for the promo. Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux) will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Napalm Records on Oct 2nd 2015 (RoW) and Oct 9th 2015 (USA)