Released: 2007, SPV
Long-suffering rockers Monster Magnet have had a meteoric rise, after a nigh-insufferable early career. When 1998’s POWERTRIP broke the band big across the world, it was a breath of fresh air – spaced out classic rock played with conviction and power. The ensuing years saw personal problems for main man Dave Wyndorf and a somewhat lower profile for the band, at least here in North America. Both GOD SAYS NO and MONOLITHIC BABY! Were undeniably successful, but certainly a step down from the huge success of POWERTRIP. With the benefit of ten years of hindsight, it’s probably a good thing that Monster Magnet isn’t a huge mega-band because frankly, their music isn’t mega-friendly. Let’s face it, you either buy into Wyndorf’s spacey rock grooves, or you don’t. There’s little middle ground.
So where does that leave us ten years after the band’s greatest success? Well, in much the same place. 4-WAY DIABLO sees the band still cranking out their personal brand of spacey stoner rock with obvious nods to the ‘70s and winking nods to the commercial rock of the ‘80s. It’s all still there, and it’s all still infectious. Wyndorf still knows how to write a catchy rock song and he wastes no time in proving it with the opening triptych of the title track, “Wall of Fire”, and “You’re Alive”. Of course, he also knows how to right a radio-friendly hook with the candy-sweet chorus of “Blow Your Mind”.
The rest of the album blows through the usual array of Monster Magnet moves, from ballads to minimalist space dirges and all points in between. Through it all the band fires on all cylinders and Wyndorf commands the mic like only he can, projecting about four different personas with a skill that other vocalists would kill for. Still, one can’t help but feel that the band is treading water a little bit. If you’ve heard previous Monster Magnet albums, there’s nothing challenging here. When it’s all said and done though, you’ll have had a good time. Can you ask for more?