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Album Review

Whether it was the fact that the stars were in the right place, the co-production help of Matt Hyde, the well-seasoned, ready-for-anything skill of the band as a whole, or just the logical consequence of Dave Wyndorf's increasing ability to match radio hooks with squalling power, Powertrip brought it all together for Monster Magnet in a big way. Happily, nothing that made the band what they were — Hawkwind-styled space rock scope and heavy metal intensity, not to mention the serious fun evident in everything from artwork to song titles ("Baby Gotterdammerung," "Goliath and the Vampires," "3rd Eye Landslide") — went missing. But the sheer pump-your-fist-and-scream strength of the group had never been stronger, evident in everything from the cataclysmic guitar solo and instrumental break on the opening "Crop Circle" to the Zen-stomp-from-Olympus build of "Atomic Clock." There's the least amount of lost-in-the-stratosphere echo yet in the band's career — the emphasis is on direct sludge-monster crushing, which helps make songs like "Bummer" the psychotically stoned numbers they are. Wyndorf's singing is higher up in the mix as well, providing a good contrast to what hazier moments there are, while moments of relative musical restraint like "Baby Gotterdammerung" still feel like sonic bombs are about to go off everywhere. The knack the whole band has shown in the past for playing beyond expected norms serves them very well. The single "Space Lord" starts on the acid folk tip, slowly but surely ratcheting up the intensity, while "19 Witches" flirts with spaghetti western twang and "See You in Hell" has keyboards Ray Manzarek would be proud of. Wyndorf's imagery of world-conquering bad (and good!) trips are perfectly illustrated in the conflations of sex, money, power, and religion that make up the cover photos. A killer and perfectly illustrative leadoff lyric from "Temple of Your Dreams" is: "Wake up baby, 'cause I'm coming to you from the future."


Formed: 1989 in Red Bank, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Retro-rock visionaries Monster Magnet spent much of the 1990s struggling against the prejudices imposed upon image and sound by alternative rock fashion nazis. In fact, it wasn't until that movement's late-'90s decline that the band's dogged persistence finally paid off and their fourth album, Powertrip, catapulted to gold sales status on the strength of its massive hard rock hit "Space Lord." In the meantime, Monster Magnet had managed to become one of the most successful and influential bands associated...
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Powertrip, Monster Magnet
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