God Says No

Monster Magnet

A&M Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/29/2003

After dauntlessly touring themselves to death resulted in Monster Magnet's Powertrip reaching Gold status in the States, the band's vocalist Dave Wyndorf found himself building on the hard rock formula of that release as he wrote the songs for the band's follow-up album, God Says No.

The late '90s weren't exactly the friendliest of times for hard rock bands to commercially cash in and collect awards with the industry focusing in on promoting a bevy of boy bands and nu-metal rap acts. With this in mind, Wyndorf could be expected and should be forgiven for allowing Monster Magnet to further distance themselves from their stoner-rock jam-band roots after the band attained such notoriety in such a dubious climate.

Furthermore, if we were to agree that Powertrip was fueled with street sexy 93-octane power, the result of God Says No would be more along the lines of the standard 87-octane version. While both albums were built from the same hard rock mold, differences appear in the bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250
God Says No tracks "Gravity Well," "Queen of You" and "Take It," which find the songs ebbing and flowing through significant doses of keyboards and synthesized drum tracking. These sources of instrumentation attempt to bridge God Says No back into the psychedelic direction of Monster Magnet's 1995 Dopes To Infinity release.

The rock tracks on the album even find the need to crescendo themselves into the frenetic bombast associated with the core songs on Powertrip. If you can visualize Dave Wyndorf hypnotically snake-dancing behind the mic-stand before he unleashes vocally into a fist pumping fury while performing "Heads Explode" and " Silver Future" you'll be able to understand the vibe on this album. It's the head-above-the-clouds vibe that only Wyndorf can pull off in circumstances like this, as he capitalizes on his ability to lyrically construct songs that will elicit genuine smirks from the listening body.

God Says No features Phil Caivano as a full time guitarist backing Ed Mundell. The addition of Caivano cements a heavier tone to some songs and frees up Mundell to experiment with lead breaks that are more experimental in nature from the direction the song would have headed if there were only one guitarist. Perfect examples of this teamwork would be the last guitar jam on "Heads Explode" or several of the solo's performed on "Melt."

While the songs on God Says No have been described as a Dopes To Infinity/ Powertrip-era hybrid, I would normally be prepared to sign off with an unadulterated ringing endorsement based on that knowledge alone. After familiarizing myself with this album since its release, though, I'll have to say that God Says No largely comes across as an album that sounds too eclectic for its own good. The psychedelia and rock combination doesn't benefit in the same way as if Monster Magnet were to just concentrate solely on recording in either one of those genres.

And while somewhere it was said that the lyric book Wyndorf used to compose the tracks on God Says No was stolen out of his car a couple of weeks before the album's production, it doesn't hide the fact that this album isn't the top-to-bottom effort that Dopes To Infinity or Powertrip were. Coupled with the fact that the corporate industry climate hasn't warmed any more to hard rock releases since 2001, God Says No would find itself having an even tougher time than its predecessor in picking up the Gold status hardware (as it has yet to do).

Rating: C+

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© 2003 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&M Records, and is used for informational purposes only.