Spine Of God

Monster Magnet

Caroline, 1991


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Personal admission: when it comes to “stoner rock,” I am probably the least qualified person to handle such matters. This is because, in my 51 years on the planet, I have never indulged in any illicit substance. And yet, I am a fan of such bands as The Grateful Dead, and can enjoy works from other bands in the genre like Orange Goblin and The Atomic Bitchwax. One does not necessarily have to “expand your mind” in order to appreciate the musical talents of such artists.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And then, there’s Monster Magnet. Over the past 30 years, I’ve been exposed to them in several ways, and I’ve just never connected with Dave Wyndorf’s style of music. Is it because I’m so “white-bread” in my lifestyle, I should have the word “WONDER” tattooed across both my arms?

Case in point: I dusted off Spine Of God, the first full-length effort from Monster Magnet. While I can appreciate the musical talents of Wyndorf and the band, I just don’t find myself connecting with the songs or their messages.

Maybe it was a slightly muddied production job, as evidenced on the opening track “Pill Shovel,” that set the tone for the experience. Maybe it was the drawn-out jams on tracks like “Black Mastermind” and the title track. Maybe it’s because I did go into this album sober as a judge.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the album; there were tracks that definitely suggested that Monster Magnet was on the correct path (for them, at least). There is a charm to “Nod Scene” that transcends words, while “Zodiac Lung” is a fun song to listen to and gives the band a chance to show off their talents in a more structured setting. And there is something to their cover of Grand Funk’s “Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother”—somehow, I can’t see any other band pulling that one off.

Yet Spine Of God, in the end, is less satisfying of an album, serving as a “what if” declaration from Monster Magnet. It does show off the band’s skills well, but doesn’t quite capture what they obviously were capable of—which leads to the question of what if they had indeed tapped into that potential. (Would they be able to do so on future albums? Only continued listening will tell.) For a first full-length effort, not bad—but not great.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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