Monster Magnet - ‘Spine Of God’ Re-Issue (Napalm Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 04:30

Monster Magnet - Spine Of GodThis was my entry point to Monster Magnet’s world all those years ago when it was released. It added some new dimensions to my record collection at the time, and it still has some of my favorite Monster Magnet songs, even if I have grown partial to another album in their catalog as my favorite album by them. This album takes listeners on a sonic adventure that is as vibrant today as the day it was released.

 

The drum fill that begins the album immediately sets the stage that this album is going to shake things up in some manner. As ‘Pill Shovel’ begins, I was immediately impressed that the sound seems to have added some wrinkles with this remaster as I do not remember the original being quite so dynamic with the fuzz and subtle changes. With a sound that incorporated a Hawkwind and other psychedelic influences, Monster Magnet stood apart from the other bands at the time that had risen from the underground like Jane’s Addiction, Nirvana, and Soundgarden.

 

‘Medicine’ opens with Wyndorf singing over just the guitar riff before a primal scream brings the whole band in for a next verse before we reach the chorus where one of the vocals tears through the melody. Lyrically, the band describes some sort of ritual, a theme that would also continue on their next album. ‘Medine’ comes to an abrupt halt, and the sound effects of ‘Nod Scene’ begin. This is one of my favorites from the album and has only grown in stature with me over the years. The song has a slow pace and haunting melody with Wyndorf seemingly taking us inside a LSD trip. This became an album that I would listen to late at night with my eyes closed so my mind could just wander into other dimensions. ‘Nod Scene’ reaches different pinnacles of intensity throughout and ends in an awesome wall of sound.

 

‘Black Mastermind’ reignites the pace with a heavy blues riff that sears its way into the brain. This song really laid the groundwork for some of the more commercial songs that followed on later records as the first two minutes offers a traditional song. In these early days though, the band was still incorporating jams within the song so ‘Black Mastermind’ stretches out over 8 minutes, but every second of it is important. Editing out the solos and musical trip would severely damage the song. The bass work by Joe Calandra on here stands out and can be clearly heard through the frenzy. With the band never returning to the initial beginning of the song, I could see this frustrating some listeners who want a verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus repeat approach. ‘Zodiac Lung’ again slows the pace as Wyndorf does a spoken word vocal over the distorted acoustic guitar. The underlying feedback creates an uneasiness that really completes the song. Wyndorf and John McBain’s production embraces the rough edges throughout but also makes sure that each twist and ounce of feedback is heard.  

 

The title track begins with some feedback and twisted vocal sounds. This has always been one of my all-time favourite Monster Magnet songs with its spoken word verse leading into a song packed with rage, anger, and power. This really should be one of those songs from the 90’s that everybody knows. ‘Snake Dance’ provides an up-tempo rocker, which has always been hit and miss with me. ‘Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother’ (Grand Funk Railroad cover) is extremely well done with Monster Magnet going on to place other cool covers on future albums by making them sound like Monster Magnet songs. The proper album concludes with ‘Ozium’ being another long epic. The slow peaceful drone becomes more and more twisted as it goes. Concluding this remaster is a demo version of ‘Ozium’ that is rougher than the final product, as you would expect it to be.

 

 

After all the bonus material for the A&M records, it is disappointing that the band did not have anything else from this era to include, but the bottom line is that this is a classic record by a band that would deliver some more classic albums along the way. This one tends to get overlooked by the masses, and that can hopefully change as time goes by and more people discover the classic songs on here. “It’s a satanic drug thing, you wouldn’t understand” might have been the ad campaign when it was released, but I recommend this album to anyone who wants to take a trip into their head and soul.   

 

‘Spine of God’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.

 

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