You gotta love the post Christmas sales, with heaps of cheap music available. Here's a quick review of an album I scored on the cheap.
It wouldn't be a long bow to draw to suggest that Monster Magnet bridged the gap between the Grunge explosion of the early 1990s and the Post-Grunge period of the start of the new Millennium, that gave us horrible bands like Nickelback, Creed, Default, and Staind.
I'd heard a few of their songs during the 90s, but paid them scant attention. They peddled a type of stoner rock that borrowed heavily from Black Sabbath, not too dissimilar to Kyuss and label-mates Soundgarden who were their peers. Unlike the aforementioned bands, Monster Magnet churn out a watered down, paint-by-numbers sound that tries too hard to justify its own existence. Lyrically they try too hard to have you believe they're really stoner rockers, as if constantly mentioning weed and pills is going to prove they're legit. They play guitar riffs that lack personality but are overdubbed to be pummeling. They have a vocalist in the form of Dave Wyndorf who is neither melodic nor memorable.
In other words, the perfect template, albeit watered down somewhat, for Nickelback and their similarly uninspired peers.
So are there any virtues to this release? Firstly, the term "Greatest Hits" is loosely applied, in this writer's view. The band never had anything like a chart hit, except a couple of tracks on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. This album collects album tracks, singles that were issued that scored radio play around the tracks, such as the deplorable "Space Lord" that commercial rock radio in Sydney used to play incessantly. It also collects four b-sides and compilation tracks on disc 2, as well as a CD-extra part that is played in a PC with a stack of the bands videos.
Most of the tracks on this album sound like a band trying to be in the same league as Kyuss and falling way short of the mark. Writing lyrics about taking pills or "driving a tractor on the drug farm" sound like a band trying to prove they're in the same league as the cool kids.
The b-sides, although few, are somewhat interesting, but the Black Sabbath cover among them is horrendous. Pretty much anything off the first 6 Sabbath albums featuring Ozzy Osbourne is bomb-proof: in the hands of any halfway competent garage band they still sound great. Taking a straight forward track like "Into The Void", opening it with a bizarre psychosis-induced rant about dinosaurs in Vietnam which drags on for almost two whole minutes before the song kicks in. Ending with another bizarre and heavily expletive laden rant, the mix contains way too many overdubs and additions that turn it into a long and very ugly 8 minutes - it's a monumental catastrophe of a track.
Highlights include radio favourites "Dopes to Infinity", "Powertrip" and "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" as well as "Silver Future" and "Black Balloons".
Take a listen below and you decide for yourself. I reckon you'd be better off spending your money on a Soundgarden album instead.