Monster Magnet - Superjudge
Having already shown that the world of drug-damaged early heavy metal-meets-space rock was well within their capability, Wyndorf and company took things to an even crazier level with Monster Magnet's major-label debut, Superjudge. Anyone taking anything on this album seriously, as some sort of satanic plot or anything like that, needs to just give up and go home -- the song titles alone are crazily ridiculous enough: "Cyclops Revolution," "Elephant Bell," "Dinosaur Vacume," and the baldly but perfectly named "Stadium." A couple of nods to musical roots surface -- the Willie Dixon-written classic "Evil (Is Going On)" kicks reasonable butt, but it's the storm through early Hawkwind standout "Brainstorm" that's the real signpost. There's more than a little of that British band throughout, only arguably even more strung out and insane, a celebration of a stoner culture that had persisted for years and looks set to always be around. Only the Dixon cover and "Black Balloon" stay at three minutes in length; everything else takes a little or a lot more time to satisfyingly sprawl, like the steady stomp of the title track or the monstrous "Cage Around the Sun." Wyndorf's ear for composition, production, and playing is evident throughout -- everything is scaled for the biggest arena in the universe, while his voice positively compares with Ozzy Osbourne's early wailing, yet with a scraggly, rougher edge. Occasional acoustic guitar and sitar parts (with appropriate flanging) help in adding variety and more psychedelia to the proceedings, "Black Balloon" in particular ending Superjudge on a subtle, mysterious note. The spiraling riff explosions and solos of "Twin Earth" and "Dinosaur Vacume" are matched with strong rhythms (due credit to the team of Calandra and Kleiman, who never sound lazy), while any band with lyrics like "I cut off my own head/I don't need it where I'm going to go!" clearly knows how to get in touch with the unapologetic rawk fan out there.