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Monster Magnet 

God Says No (A&M)

These woeful miscreants basically birthed the genre of "stoner rock." Long before bands like Nebula began restokin' the bong, Monster Mag was proclaiming itself "dopes to infinity." The "stoner" term is a misnomer, however. When they didn't call it "stoner rock," they called it "heavy metal," and before that, they just called it rock and roll. Ultimately, that's what Monster Magnet is all about: Whether it comes from the swamp or the suburbs, there's a basic impulse lying at the core of rock and roll to stir things up and set the house on fire. Which is where Monster Magnet comes in. These guys have a loser/dead-end persona that'll probably gratify only the most dissatisfied lost souls. But that's emotion, in a way -- even if it's a negative one. And that's what music's all about -- expressing emotion you can't really express in any other way, because it's too profound.

Not that Monster Magnet is a great visionary -- but it certainly doesn't seem to have any "ulterior motive" at work here. This album sounds just like Monster Magnet five years ago. In light of the neo-stoner insurrection, it almost sounds prescient, because you realize how totally "in" it is. Then you realize it's nothing new at all: "Doomsday" sounds like the Butthole Surfers; "Kiss of the Scorpion" apes '60s fuzz Iron Butterfly/Music Machine resources; "Gravity Well" has Zeppelin-like dynamics, and "Cry" is an organ-heavy swamp-prog opus. What Monster Magnet really excels at are anthemic rockers like the epic closer "Silver Future," in which leagues of bombast ultimately equal liberty and triumph. When the levee breaks, these hairy-headed behemoths will surely rise with the tide.

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More by Joe S. Harrington

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