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MONSTER MAGNET Test Patterns Vol. 1

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 @ 10:06 AM


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MONSTER MAGNET
Test Patterns Vol. 1

God Unknown Records




“Punishingly psychedelic. Jersey Shore krautrock.” – Tim Cronin

If the latter description conjures up bizarre images of the cast of the faded MTV reality show engaging in their regular ritual of GTL with the uncomfortable sounds of CAN and KRAFTWERK resonating in the background, you just might be familiar with the cosmic doomsaying grooves of MONSTER MAGNET from their early days.

Indeed, the Red Bank, New Jersey-born and bred band were several cosmos and a flashy black ’79 Smokey And The Bandit Trans Am away from the major-label, alternative rock boom that would suck the band into the shiny MTV world of the early to middle 90s. Originally formed by Dave Wyndorf, John McBain and Tim Cronin, MONSTER MAGNET came into the world with a lysergic ooze in 1989 with two demo tapes – Forget About Life, I’m High On Dope and I’m Stoned, What Ya Gonna Do About It? – making it perfectly clear from the start where they were coming from. This was a band reveling in bad trips and the death of the hippy dream with a Manson Family stare, playing squelchy lo-fi psychedelic music with a rabid punk rock sneer, like THE STOOGES terrorizing HAWKWIND at the most unpleasant free festival imaginable. There were tales of entire audiences at their gigs being spiked with LSD. It didn’t matter if this was true or not, it completely added to the mystique. For the ominous space tourist just paying a visit for the first time, this was indeed a satanic drug thing which you weren’t supposed to understand.

Now, with the re-release of the band’s first two demos which formed the base of what would become their pivotal 1991 album Spine Of God and the 25…Tab EP, which featured the mesmerizing 32-minute opus itself in the form of Test Patterns: Vol. 1, those same curious onlookers can either expect to either be even more confused or more fascinated with MONSTER MAGNET’s early sonic psychedelic white noise. In this case, a bit of both, for the 12” vinyl release is comprised of two versions of "Tab": A 2021 remix by John McBain, alongside the original demo, recorded in 1988 and then released on the aforementioned Forget About Life, I’m High On Dope in 1989. Both recordings are slightly trimmed down to just under 25 minutes each, their ethereal and lumbering intergalactic jam sessions harkening back to the sounds of the original lineup’s mixed tape collections. “It was a lot of ‘check this shit out’ kind of stuff…HAWKWIND, early UFO, AMON DUUL, CAN, SKULLFLOWER, MORGEN, LOOP, CRYSTALIZED MOVEMENTS, early ALICE COOPER, WALKING SEEDS, BUTTHOLE SURFERS, SPACEMEN 3,” recalls Tim Cronin vividly, “When we recorded the first demo and got to "Tab", we just beat the shit out of it until it became heavy, noisy, weird, mean and either too long or not long enough, depending on your mood.” And it certainly has a variety of mood swings throughout its timeline, ranging from lethargic to angry to confused to chaotic, with Wyndorf’s deep-voiced wizard-like baritone chanting in one moment and lapsing into manic street preacher mode the next.

Intrinsically mesmerizing and sonically disturbing in all parts, it seems almost a missed opportunity that this perfect soundtrack for running a haunted house theme park to is being released 11 days after Halloween. That said, Test Patterns: Vol. 1 also appears to be the first of several experimental blueprints for MONSTER MAGNET to continue to explore deep within their core sound to rediscover and reinvent itself. It probably wouldn’t make for the ideal party jam if you’re looking to impress Snooki or J-WOWW at the next rager in Seaside Heights, though – unless you have the right amount of uppers.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

http://www.zodiaclung.com/
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