Monster Magnet Monday – Part 1
Powertrip – Vinyl // CD // DD
A&M Records – Released June 16th, 1998
**Currently Available on Napalm Records**
Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez
Line Up for Powertrip:
Dave Wyndorf – vocals, guitar
Ed Mundell – guitar
Philip Caivano – guitar
Joe Calandra – bass
Jon Kleiman – drums
“Crop Circle” – 5:32
“Powertrip” – 3:31
“Space Lord” – 5:55
“Temple of Your Dreams” – 4:35
“Bummer” – 7:35
“Baby Götterdämmerung” – 3:09
“19 Witches” – 4:02
“3rd Eye Landslide” – 5:10
“See You in Hell” – 4:05
“Tractor” – 3:26
“Atomic Clock” – 5:06
“Goliath and the Vampires” – 4:13
“Your Lies Become You” – 4:18
By the time 1998 came along, Monster Magnet had steadily been producing and improving upon their brand of stoner/space/psych/hard rock for eight years. After two EP’s and three full length releases, Monster Magnet had solidified themselves as a top act in the hard rock scene. Following the momentum gathered from their amazing Dopes to Infinity album, Powertrip, their fourth full length, saw Monster Magnet firing on all cylinders and at the top of their game. Songs suddenly started appearing throughout pop culture. Talladega Nights using “Spacelord” on their soundtrack, for example.
Written mostly in Las Vegas, in a relatively short amount of time, Powertrip benefited with a more consistent feel despite bridging the diversity of the stoner heaviness found on Spine of God, the psychedelic flow of Superjudge, and the more metal sounding Dopes to Infinity. The track list flows smoothly from one style to another. The first four tracks: ‘Crop Circles,’ ‘Powertrip,’ ‘Spacelord’ and ‘Temple of Your Dreams’ blast out of the gate with their trademark heavy riffs. Dave Wyndorf’s rhythms fitting in perfectly with Ed Mundell’s leads, which here, solidified his role as a premier guitarist in the genre. ‘Bummer’ transitions the album into the more hypnotic, psychedelic tunes of ‘Baby Gotterdammerung,’ ’19 Witches’ and ‘3rd Eye Landslide.’ The importance of Joe Calandra (bass) and Jon Kleiman (drums) cannot be understated, as they provide a solid rhythmic backbone throughout the whole ride.
‘See You in Hell’ was inspired by a bus ride Wyndorf took from New York City to New Jersey when some fellow passengers told him that they killed their baby and buried it somewhere in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Shocked, Wyndorf got out of the bus. One can’t help but wonder what kind of other horror stories are out there among us. ‘Tractor’ and ‘Atomic Clock’ continue the return of the heavier tunes before the album closes out with the subdued tones of ‘Goliath and the Vampires’ and ‘Your Lies Become You.’ All throughout, Wyndorf’s quirky lyrics are open to interpretation. His writing style being a staple throughout their entire lyrical output. On the surface seemingly having no cohesion or focus, but once you delve deeper into his prose, you start to realize that some grey matter is required to take in the full effect of what he is attempting to convey. Powertrip mostly deals with what Wyndorf observed while in Las Vegas, yet it is written in ways that could apply to everyday life in general.
At the time Powertrip was released in 1998, most bands were producing albums that had more than 12 tracks on them. Quantity seemed to rule over quality. Monster Magnet was no exception to the quantity, yet their quality here never suffered. They managed to incorporate the many facets explored on previous albums to produce a truly engaging listening experience, a particularly unique journey that is curious, raving, yet most of all amusing to listen to. As mentioned on the opening track, “I got an itch in my cosmic pocket and it won’t go away.” And personally, I’m not sure I would ever want it to.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/monstermagnet
Napalm Records – https://shop.napalmrecords.com/monster-magnet-powertrip-cd.html (Album Available here and other outlets)