Monster Magnet - Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux) - (8/10)
Published on October 2, 2015
The wheel of rebirth.
With their artistically successful comeback Last Patrol, rock and roll heroes Monster Magnet rediscovered their love of 60’s psych. This regained passion resulted in Milking The Stars, where the band reconstructed the blood-pumping rock of Last Patrol into a trippy jam-session. Apparently Dave Wyndorf and the boys enjoyed this process a lot, and promptly began tinkering with their flawed 2010 album Mastermind. Pompously re-titled Cobras And Fire, adorned with cool new artwork, and almost completely rerecorded, Mastermind has been dissected and reassembled as an altered beast.
The anthemic hard rock of Mastermind was a slight return to form from a band that had been struggling to escape their post-90’s rut, but was blown out of the water by its superior successor Last Patrol. With Cobras And Fire, some pieces have been moved around, a few songs have been completely scrapped, and many weird delights have been added. The overall tempo has been reduced, allowing for a groovy menagerie of organs, sitars, and fuzzy effects to fill the gaps. Wyndorf’s alternately bizarre and soul-piercing lyricism remains the centerpiece of the album, but his narcotic verses miraculously gain power when engulfed in the purple haze of Cobras And Fire. The lengthy jams and psych-outs are, however, also given considerable attention, with the rewritten versions of “The Titan” (“Who Cried Like A Baby”) and “Time Machine” even being turned into instrumentals. Additional treats include the Hawkind-inspired cover of The Temptation’s “Ball Of Confusion”, and Joe Barresi’s oddly compelling mash-up of tracks taken from Last Patrol.
As fans of the band will be aware of, this is of course not Monster Magnet’s first attempt at psychoactive garage jams. Still, Cobras And Fire is more than a return to the band’s early days. By taking his more than 25 years of songwriting experience through a wormhole, Wyndorf has succeeded in transforming the straight on rock of 2000’s Monster Magnet into a slithering creature that encapsulates both 60’s psych, garage fuzz, and a colossal soundscape, while somehow still retaining his signature sound. In some ways, Cobras is an Ouroboros, as the band completes a cycle that has been brewing for a long time. If these hallucinogenic ideas keep drifting through the band’s collective mindscapes, whatever comes next in the world of Monster Magnet, we are in for a treat.