Dopes To Infinity

Monster Magnet

A & M Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: George Agnos

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/20/1999

Monster Magnet is one of those hot bands getting some pretty good airplay on the hard rock stations. Their latest CD takes a no nonsense approach, but it is their previous release, Dopes To Infinity, with its creative use of organ, mellotron, and even a theremin, which I think is the more interesting CD.

Dopes To Infinity is Monster Magnet's first taste of commercial success with their hard driving single "Negasonic Teenage Warhead". It's not hard to see why they broke through as lead singer/songwriter Dave Wyndorf started writing more developed songs, and the band opened their sound a bit as well, not unlike what the alternative band Soundgarden did for my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Superunknown.

While there are no obvious singles on Dopes To Infinity such as "Black Hole Sun" or "Spoonman", there are plenty of very good songs. They start out of the gate running with the rocking title tune, a great edgy blues type rocker that sets the right tone for the rest of the CD.

The spaceyness becomes apparent on the fourth song, "All Friends And Kingdom Come" with its heavy use of organs and its slow tempo. Another slow but heavy tune is "Look To Your Orb For The Warning" which has an almost industrial sound, not unlike bands like Stabbing Westward.

As for the rest of Dopes To Infinity, there is a lot they do right, and a couple of things they do wrong. The good news is that the CD contains some interesting twists. For example, they actually have an acoustic number called "Blow 'Em Off". I was waiting for this to be one of those tunes that starts off slow and acoustic, then explodes into a metal frenzy. Thankfully, they do not ruin a pretty good tune with that tired cliche.

My favorite song is "King Of Mars", a hooky rocker with a Husker Du thing going on. There is also "I Control, I Fly", a fast, short rocker that really soars. And in another interesting twist, there is actually a sixties sounding psychedelic tune called "Dead Christmas". The sound reminds me of the kind of song Ted Nugent would have done in the sixties, but the cynicism of the lyrics is pure nineties.

What it does wrong is have a couple songs that are too long and drawn out. "Third Alternative" wears out its welcome pretty fast. It would have been an effectively angry song had it not dragged on so long. The instrumental "Ego, The Living Planet" is just a noisy throwaway with nothing interesting going on. Another instrumental called "Theme From 'Masterburner'" (where do they come up with these song titles?) is much better with plenty of great guitar and bass work, and some unpredictable moments.

The best thing about Monster Magnet on Dopes To Infinity is that they make every song sound distinct and somewhat different from the next, while still rocking with abandon when they need to, but not afraid to try something different either.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1999 George Agnos 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.