Monster Magnet – Last Patrol | Review

If you count their early demos, Monster Magnet have been drawing in listeners for almost 25 years now. Early albums like Spine of God, Tab, and Superjudge are veritable classics of the stoner rock genre this Dave Wyndorf lead band helped to create. It wasn't until 1995's Dopes to Infinity and more so '97's Powertrip that Monster Magnet really saw commercial success. “Spacelord” from Powertrip even saw regular airplay on modern rock stations.

Powertrip may have been the peak of their commercial success but the four albums they have released since are still worthy of praise, which brings us to the band's ninth full-length, Last Patrol. Last Patrol marks the first album since Spine of God not to include long time guitarist Ed Mundell. In his stead Garrett Sweeny takes over lead guitars and even some sitar with Wyndorf and Phil Caivano tripling the axe attack. They pile on the layers in front of the rhythm section of bassist Chris Kosnick (Caivano handled bass duties in studio.) and drummer Bob Pantella.

Written during a one week period, Wyndorf's lyrics veil his personal feeling behind a sort of space opera. A soundtrack to tales from the greater universe and time. Wyndorf's vocal delivery is unmistakable and not without range. With everything from soft spoken word to yelling across nebulas, he conveys whatever feeling the lyrics call for. The same goes for the music as well. At times all you hear is a single note riff on an acoustic guitar while right around the corner is a raucous and dense wall of blissed out spacerock reaching for the stars in a swirling mass of psychedelia.

The title track is a nine-plus minute opus with hard driving riffs, spacey breaks, shifting moods, extra-solar solos and a totally tripped-out final couple minutes that would make the Bull God proud.

Save possibly the gospel infused “Hallelujah” and the cover of Donovan's “Three King Fishers”, Last Patrol sees Monster Magnet taking interstellar journeys with tracks that ebb and flow between riff-based verses and arena-size choruses. In addition to the psych bliss and stoner vibe permeating the album, Last Patrol feels very bluesy. From the acoustic parts to the guitar licks to Wyndorf's vocals and lyrics, the blues influence can't be shaken.

Every song on Last Patrol has its own character making for a dynamic listen. There are laid back parts with groove and louder, rockin' songs/sections that get you up out of your ejector seat. It's all very distinctly Monster Magnet. Diverse, layered, spaced and groovy, it sounds incredible. Wyndorf's a unique talent and Last Patrol should have people realizing that yet again.

Matt Hinch

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Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @MetalMatt_KofN.