After a successful revamping (or re-imagining) of the last Monster Magnet album “Last Patrol,” which was re-christened as “Milking the Stars,” Dave Wyndorf decided to take another look at 2010’s album “Mastermind.” Unlike “Last Patrol,” it was going to be a case of having alternate versions of the same songs (with some new songs added). Since the album “Mastermind” was not nearly as layered as “Last Patrol,” Wyndorf couldn’t approach what became “Cobras and Fire” in the same manner.
Wyndorf decided to take the songs that could be done in a different manner and add new parts to them, and in some cases change the lyrics (“She Digs That Hole”) or make the song into a strange spacey instrumental (“The Titan”). In the case of “Gods and Punks,” the song was toned way down to fit the overall downbeat lyrics that were already there.
So it really makes no sense to compare “Cobras and Fire” to “Milking the Stars” in methods, but as far as outcome, the albums feel like part of the same project. “Cobras and Fire” is really a different album than “Mastermind.” “Milking the Stars” is an extension of “Last Patrol.” For me, that makes “Cobras and Fire” more gratifying to listen to than “Mastermind.”
Why? For example, the opener on “Mastermind” is “Hallucination Bomb” and it is a basic kick ass rocking song which is fine. The same song on “Cobras and Fire” becomes the fourth track that has more in common with early King Crimson than stoner rock. Nothing quite beats adding a mellotron to a song!
There are 2 songs on “Cobras and Fire” that make the album worth it all by themselves. One is a “cover” of the old Temptations song “Ball of Confusion” which is really just Wyndorf adding the lyrics of that song to a Hawkwind like jam that was recorded during the “Mastermind” sessions. The other track is the most insane track in Monster Magnet history. Just think about what I said! The closing song is called “I Live Behind the Paradise Machine” and it is a mix of FOUR different Monster Magnet songs assembled by producer Evil Joe Barresi. It sounds impossible but it really works!
Fans of Monster Magnet should definitely enjoy this “redux” because it feels like a different animal than “Mastermind.” Fans of space rock, psych rock and even old school prog will enjoy this album because it feels like it was a part of the early 70s prog scene. While we all wait for Dave and the guys to release all new material, “Cobras and Fire” is a reminder of exactly what Monster Magnet is capable of.
For my interview with Dave Wyndorf, check out the video below!
1. She Digs That Hole
2. Watch Me Fade
3. Mastermind ‘69
4. Hallucination Bomb
5. Gods and Punks
6. The Titan
7. When The Planes Fall From the Sky
8. Ball of Confusion
9. Time Machine
10. I live Behind the Paradise Machine Evil Joe Barresi’s Magnet Mash Vol.1
Label: Napalm Records