Home Read Classic Album Review: Monster Magnet | God Says No

Classic Album Review: Monster Magnet | God Says No

The stoner-rockers' sixth disc is a comparatively mature & mellow affair. Seriously.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Next time somebody wants to make a movie about a cartoon rock band, they might want to skip Josie and the Pussycats and go for something far more entertaining — Dave Wyndorf and Monster Magnet.

New Jersey singer-guitarist Wyndorf certainly looks the part. With his mane of inky hair, nail poish, sleeveless T-shirts and nail polish, he’s every inch the model of the modern rock god. Certainly his music — a super-powered, colorfully animated cocktail of churning sci-fi metal and fuzzy stoner-rock — fits the bill. And hell, anybody who saw the Las Vegas-themed video for Space Lord, the single from their last album Powertrip, knows these guys have been a walking cartoon for years. Hell, all they need are some tight-fitting uniforms and codpieces and they’d be ready to save the universe.

Then again, maybe not. On the back cover of their sixth album God Says No, Wyndorf and his band definitely have the look of Hard Rock Heroes — leather duds, bullwhips, midnight shades and, yes, a gleaming chrome codpiece on Wyndorf that Gene Simmons would envy. But while they can walk the walk, Wyndorf and co. don’t quite rock the rock the same way this time around. In comparison to the spaced-out high-voltage mayhem Monster Magnet unleashed on Powertrip, God Says No is a comparatively mature and mellow affair (that’s right, I used the words Monster Magnet, mellow and mature in the same sentence).

It’s certainly their most diverse album so far. Along with the surging power chords, distorted grind and acid-drenched metal that form the band’s signature sound, God Says No finds the Magnets dipping their toes into some unfamiliar waters. Gravity Well is an authentic slice of slide-guitar Delta blues — well, as close to authentic as Wyndorf can get. The epic seven-minute power-ballad Cry flirts with the sitars, drones and percussion of Indian raga. Queen of You and the title cut even feature (gasp!) robotic beatboxes and jittery electronica paranoia. On Take It, Dave even whistles while he works.

Sure, the band still cut loose much of the time — opener Melt has a swirly Black Sabbath vibe, Heads Explode shucks and jives along to a guitar line that snarls and throbs, Medicine grabs Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold by the scruff of the neck, and Kiss of the Scopion rekindles The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s Fire. And Wyndorf’s unbridled sex-fantasy lyrics are still the stuff of countless 12-year-old boys’ dreams. But none of these tracks unleashes the same wanton insanity and screaming hellfire as any of Powertrip’s cuts. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Wyndorf supposedly wrote this album on the fly after his original lyrics and demo tapes were stolen. Or maybe he’s finally starting to age along with his audience.

Or maybe he and the boys slipped through a hole in the universe and have been replaced with Bizarro Monster Magnet.