Monster Magnet: Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

It looks like Dave Wyndorf is making a habit out of revisiting and remodeling his previously released material. About a year ago Monster Magnet released Milking The Stars, which was a re-imagined version of their latest studio album of new material, 2013's Last Patrol. Apparently they're doing this in reverse chronological order, as now 2010's Mastermind has just received the same treatment.

Cobras And Fire is the redux version of an album that somewhat restored the band's reputation after the few misses that had followed their big (for the mainstream audiences) breakthrough, Powertrip. Mastermind was another rocker, less fancy than Powertrip, better thought out and deeper than 4-Way Diablo or Monolithic Baby!, a rocker at heart, a modest hit that put Monster Magnet back on the map and the last of their albums to ever feature long time guitarist, Ed Mundell. In a few words Mastermind is a good record, but it had flaws; something was missing. It was a clean sounding hard rocker that came out very decent, however it reflected a tired band struggling and trying its best to do well again.

Now Cobras And Fire makes one wonder why they didn't do the album that way in the first place. The cleanliness is long gone and it's given it's place to the much dirtier, fuzzier sound, more on the psychedelic/garage rocking side of their music, strongly bringing to mind their early releases. A few track from the original Mastermind got left out as they probably didn't fit very well in this new version, but were replaced by an outstanding new track, I Live Behind The Paradise Machine, a trippy mash-up of old MM tracks, as well as a cover of The Temptations' Ball Of Confusion, an excellent choice for a cover, expertly executed.

As Wyndorf gets older he seems like he's getting an urge to get back to the sound that established the band as one of the best in the heavy rock sphere in general: dirty garage-infused psychedelic heavy rock. If they will keep doing this, can't wait to hear how albums like 4-Way Diablo and God Says No would sound like after they mess them up.

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