Monster Magnet – A Better Dystopia (Album Review)

As a band grows into their own style, they usually begin with a prized influence that sparks their interest in the first place. In the case of New Jersey’s own Stoner/Psychedelic Rock band, Monster Magnet, who has existed since 1989, they still choose to wear influences on their sleeve. Inspired by the greats that include Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, among others, Monster Magnet now bring fans an interesting new album called A Better Dystopia

Set for release on Friday, May 21, 2021 through Napalm Records, the album consists of 13 stylized cover tracks originally recorded by various historical bands. As it is, the selection of covers work superbly well for Monster Magnet, but what makes it even more exciting is that the guys adapt each song into their own personal style.

Additionally, the album includes a beginning monologue excerpt called “The Diamond Mine,” which original Monster Magnet Vocalist/Rhythm Guitarist Dave Wyndorf recites from a classic by Dave Diamond; an American vintage radio DJ whose programs from the late 1960s and early 1970s helped Psychedelic and Acid Rock bands gain a following.

From here, the rest of the Monster Magnet crew chimes in for Hawkwind’s “Born To Go.” In case you were unsure, Phil Caivano is on rhythm and lead guitar, Bob Pantella takes on the drums, Garrett Sweeny is responsible for lead guitar, and newest addition to the band, Alec Morton gears up the bass guitar. Moving right along with the music, there is also J.D. Blackfoot’s “Epitaph For A Head,” where the psychedelic vibes soar off into new dimensions, before breaking off into a heavy rendition of The Scientists’ “Solid Gold Hell.”

Jumping into Poo-Bah’s “Mr. Destroyer,” there is a great blend of Black Sabbath vibes and old school Psychedelic Rock. A very solid tune, the album then soars off into a more Punk-based, Hard Rock take on Jerusalem’s “When The Wolf Sits.” Then there is the Pretty Things’ “Death” where a more somber tone prevails, instantly pulling you into the musicality of it all. This is while The Cave Men’s “It’s Trash” offers a bunch of Punk-infused moments which transitions perfectly into Table Scraps’ “Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)” where Monster Magnet bring a fantastic Motörhead vibe. A definite highlight of the album that not much can top, however, Dust’s “Learning To Die” fills the desires nicely as you fluctuate through all it’s musical wavelengths. Finally, closing up shop at just over three minutes, Monster Magnet send you off on a high note with their  multi-tempo shifting take on Morgen’s “Welcome To The Void.”

Overall, with how seamlessly each tunes transition into one another, despite the versatile cover origins, you often forget that you are knee deep in a cover album. Additionally, the production in general for this album is definitely a success. As always, Monster Magnet find ways to bring past vibe into the present. Forever known as a band that never disappoints, Cryptic Rock gives A Better Dystopia 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

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