Release Date: Oct 15, 2013
Record label: Napalm Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Stoner Metal
Taking their customary three years between albums, Monster Magnet rolls a nine-song set that’s well worth the wait. The quartet sounds fresh and full of purpose on these nine songs, which nod back to the roots of the group’s psychedelic brand of stoner garage rock. But that’s a wide sonic umbrella, so Monster Magnet tears through everything from riffy epics (“End of Time” and the title track) and the Southern blues-flavored “Hallelujah” to the face-melting fury of “Mindless Ones” and the restrained ambiance of “I Live Behind the Clouds.” Consistently hot, this should tide fans over until the next patrol arrives in, oh, 2016.
New Jersey's Monster Magnet have been cranking out their signature blend of FM doom rock and cosmic stoner metal since the late '80s, and releasing fat slabs of it every three years since 1991, which makes 2013's Last Patrol the venerable band's tenth long-player. Less sonically brutal than 2011's Mastermind, yet still seismic enough to bear the weight of the Monster Magnet moniker, Dave Wyndorf and company have crafted another late-period gem that sounds like an amalgam of the 13th Floor Elevators, Mark Lanegan, Ten Years After, and Mastodon. "I Live Behind the Clouds" ("Nothing's important, yet everything is/If there ain't no photo, I just don't exist") starts things out on a heady note, easing into the action like a snake poking its head of its den, before lunging into the desert proper on the dusty title cut, a nine-minute epic that slithers its way into your skull and sets up camp.
Well into his 50s, Monster Magnet mastermind Dave Wyndorf continues to lead his fearless bandmates hurtling through the cosmos, sidestepping black holes and kicking around Supergiants as if they were beach balls. The band's ninth full-length, Last Patrol, is not so much a space-rock tour de force as it is simply one of the Magnet's finest hours. With nods to back-catalogue icons Superjudge and Dopes to Infinity, opener "I Live Behind the Clouds" sets up a slow-burning fuse that ignites the nine-minute title track in a series of surgically synchronized implosions.
A funny thing happened on the way to the punk bar - the stoner rock movement was born. In the early 90s, in the lawless frontier known as the suburbs of New Jersey, journeyman songwriter Dave Wyndorf conceived Monster Magnet as a giant “FO” to the local punks, whose collective raison d’etre seemed the violent and sustained rejection of all things arena rock. Purely to take the piss-at least at the outset - Wyndorf and a loosely-knit band of instrument-playing record store employees descended upon the beer-sludged stages of Jersey punk clubs, unleashing ponderous sets of Iommi-flavoured grooves pinned against a lyrical backdrop of aliens, monsters and of filthy, nasty sex.
Monster Magnet certainly takes its time making new music, but it’s usually worth the wait. That’s especially the case with Last Patrol, the New Jersey heavy rock icon’s tenth album. Leader Dave Wyndorf’s Marvel Comics-and-sci-fi visions swirl to full effect here, but that’s not what makes Last Patrol stand out in the catalog. Maybe it’s the presence of new lead guitarist Garrett Sweeney, maybe it’s the kind of new lease on life that comes with a middle age its claimant didn’t expect to hit, but the band’s music sounds refreshed, as if the quintet has discovered its sound for the first time.