By Jason Wellwood
For the most part I can never really understand just what it is that Dave Wyndorf is talking about in his lyrics. Just when I think I’ve got it nailed down, he throws in something about eating black planets which could be a drug reference but might just be him being weird. One of the things that I’ve always loved about Monster Magnet lyrics though is that they swirl just as much as the music does and Wyndorf’s words almost become an instrument separate from his vocals. Some of the tracks on Mastermind have more obvious lyrics to start, but every single song has that ‘Wyndorf twist’. ‘Dig That Hole’ for example, starts out with lines that would have you believe he’s speaking about his addiction to sleeping pills. In fact, he even says ‘it’s all about me’ but listening a little deeper, you realize the ‘it’s all about me’ is a not-so-well-disguised dig at the world of consumption and selfishness that we’ve ended up in over the last decade or so. The songs on Mastermind are less spacey and tripped out than earlier Monster Magnet works but the songs are fuller and better structured than ever. Sure, Monster Magnet sound a lot less ‘stoned’ than they originally did, but that 70’s hard rock feel is never going to go away.
That being said, fans of early Monster Magnet will certainly dig both ‘Hallucination Bomb’ and ‘Bored with Sorcery’ while latter day fans will definitely dig both ‘Gods and Punks’ and ‘Dig That Hole’. ‘Perish in Fire’ is a straight up hard rock song and could easily be a hit single on radio if radio played real hard rock anymore. With a glorious title like Mastermind, you’d almost expect the lavish over-the-topness of 1998’s Powertrip but that’s not happening here. Continuing in the vein of the previous 3 albums, Mastermind is a big, loud monster (magnet) of a record but the effects are sparse, the self deprecating humour ever present and the songs more the focus than the production. And the groove, good god the groove on this album is killer!
Monster Magnet isn’t breaking new ground with Mastermind, but that isn’t a bad thing. They do what they do very, very well. Mastermind rocks and has a killer groove and crazy Wyndorfian lyrics. What more could you need?
8.5 / 10