Released: 2010, Napalm Records
Dave Wyndorf is a man who can truly tick just about every box when it comes to the cliché rock 'n roll parable. Labeled "the next big thing" by just about every rock music periodical running? Check. Scaling the heights of the major label racket, only to plummet back to earth spectacularly? Atlantic Records wouldn't have known how to market them properly if they tried. Overdoses, substance abuse issues? Wyndorf's spent more money on hallucinogenics and spilled liquor than most will earn in a lifetime.
And still he presses on, the news of Monster Magnet signing to Napalm Records signaling something of a rebirth for a band many had come to treat rather coolly after they peaked with 1998's POWERTRIP. Indeed it's almost not surprising that early reports pegging their eighth studio outing as a return to form and the best effort they'd attempted since that album were treated with a fair degree of cynicism. The reality is ironic in that MASTERMIND certainly lives up to the promise almost as much as it presents a marked departure from the throwaway hedonism of POWERTRIP.
Initially this doesn't seem to be the case though, "Hallucination Bomb" and "Dig That Hole" ringing loudly with leather jacket rebellion. But the album reveals something of its decidedly darker nature early on, with the double whammy of forthcoming single "Gods & Punks" and "The Titan Who Cried Like A Baby". Here Wyndorf is brooding, resentful and though on the surface his psychedelic lyrics betray little of the man singing them, you can sense that for Dave this is a personal endeavor more so than most. Comparative respite follows in the form of the particularly playful "Perish in Fire", but as of track nine ("Time Machine" - an album, if not career highlight) Monster Magnet delves back into decidedly foreboding territory.
All this emotive sincerity may come as slight shock to those expecting a full-blown rock 'n roll tour de force. It shouldn't. MASTERMIND is a mature, thunderous and continuously rewarding listen; not simply the best album in the Monster Magnet canon but perhaps one of the best to see the light of day this year - and that's saying something for a band who have been at it as long as this lot has.