FROM the opener 'I Live Behind The Clouds' to closer 'Stay Tuned' Monster Magnet have delivered a comprehensive and tremendous symphony of stoner, spaced rock on their tenth album, Last Patrol.
Dave Wyndorf has orchestrated a collection of tracks that pull together all the elements that make Monster Magnet such a significant band - genre splitting, genre defining. They are band that on this album pull together the best of early 70s hippie rock and electronic space rock with hard rockin' metal.
But what makes this remarkable is where Wyndorf and his merry band take homage to a fine art: title track Last Patrol is a nine-minute plus epic, where the influence of Hawkwind is clear as the guitars intertwine in a heavy dream-like landscape: this is like the 'Wind if they were on crystal meth.
Followed by the delicate introduction and dreamy lyrics of Donovan's Three Kingfishers therein lies the secret of the contrasts that makes this album so special.
Wyndorf himself sums up the backdrop to recording:
"The songs are a kind of Space-Noir, tales of cosmic revenge, peaking libidos, alienation and epic strangeness," he said. "It's a weird trip through the back alleys of a dark, retro-future, which by no coincidence very much resembles my own life!
"The lyrics aren't fantasy really, rather a recounting of my musings on, observations of and general emotional reaction to my life and environment during a one-week writing period in February 2013.
"But I tend to use the vernacular and imagery of science fiction and surrealism to experss myself and that's where these lyrics get trippy."
While it is not in any way a departure from the Monster Magnet template it is nevertheless an accomplished and highly enjoyable album. From the delicious stomp of Hallelujah to the seven-minute glory of End Of Time there is enough to ensure that those that purchase this album will quickly be allocating songs to a variety of playlists in their iTunes, and each will stand-out on those playlists.
Part of the secret of the album is where Wyndorf utilises lyrical intricacies on The Duke (of Supernature, as if Nietzche's uber-mensch turned into a misogynistic maniac, yet remained endearing. This is where you can imagine where you will be, but you never quite reach because Monster Magnet have claimed that territory as their own.
For a band that has had its trials and tribulations throughout the year, not least Wyndorf's personal issues, this is a celebration of what stoner and space rock should be. This is probably the most coherent collection of Monster Magnet tracks since Powertrip. Bob Pontella and Chris Kosnick weave intricate patterns, while Phil Ciavano nails down the guitar lines to provide Garrett Sweeney the space to let the lead work standout.
This is an album that will be best listened to over an excellent set of headphones or through a sound system blaring. The Last Patrol marches like a guerrilla army through your senses; invest the time and you will find sufficient power and delicacy to match the lyrical conundrums.
All in all this is Monster Magnet as they should be; a soundtrack to the outer edges of imagination while a mescal worm buries its way into your frontal lobe - simply joyous.