CD Review: Monster Magnet – Last Patrol

Monster Magnet – Last Patrol
Napalm Records
All Access Rating: A-

Monster Magnet - Last Patrol 2013
Without Monster Magnet around to spark up their own full-throttle brand of “stoner metal” and go joy-riding through space to seek adventure and cruise for easy girls in the cosmos, the universe would be far less interesting.

Hedonistic space lords as magnificent as Dave Wyndorf apologize for nothing, and with the unforgiving Last Patrol, Monster Magnet’s latest magic carpet ride on Napalm Records, pimped out in retro amps, guitars and trippy effects in an attempt to summon the hallucinogenic demons of their early psychedelic-garage days, the word “sorry” cannot be found his rich vocabulary. Exuding warm and distinctive clarity, Last Patrol is produced with care, so that every part of this sonic space-rock jalopy sounds brand new and forceful, even with all the miles on her.

Housed in such a clean-running machine, this work of mind-blowing pulp fiction is full of noir-style, sci-fi tales of obsessive torment, revenge fantasies and sexual conquest pulled from the outer reaches of Wyndorf’s fevered imagination, and yet Last Patrol never gets lost in the stormy turbulence of its own making. Even amid the howling chaos of wah-wah guitars, crazed distortion and crashing drums that close the title track, Monster Magnet’s momentum-gathering riffs drive straight through it without ever being blown off course, just as they do in “End of Time,” another blazing garage-rock comet propelled forward with apocalyptic urgency and NASA-like precision into swirling madness.  

Painting vivid scenes with absurdist imagery and colorful language, Wyndorf talks of stairs that lead nowhere, a man-hungry 10-foot blonde and “dead moons and chicken bones” in a commanding, if weathered, voice, as if he’s author Philip K. Dick with a guitar. With his craggy, deep vocals, Wyndorf builds aural cinematic drama like a musical John Ford, the ominous acoustic guitar plucking and strums in the intros to “Paradise” and “I Live behind the Clouds” foreshadowing something evil coming this way or a showdown of half android, half human gunfighters in a parallel futuristic universe to Deadwood.

There is religious fervor in the stomping, hell-spawned blues of “Hallelujah,” where Wyndorf gives a wild-eyed sermon on sin and salvation that could make the dead rise and the righteous weep. And while the careening “Mindless Ones” works up a furious tempest of distorted, violent energy reminiscent of those whipped up by Hawkwind, in Monster Magnet’s disembodied hands, Donovan’s exotic “Three Kingfishers” undergoes a withering transformation into a heavy metal odyssey of the mind, “Stay Tuned” dives headlong into tunneling blackness and “The Duke (Of Supernature)” hitches a ride upriver through the conga drum currents of Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan.” Monster Magnet continues to go where others fear to tread.
    Peter Lindblad

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