Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia (Napalm Records 2021)

Monster Magnet comes out with a cover album of psychedelic songs you have probably never heard before.

The legendary Monster Magnet was formed in New Jersey on the cusp of the nineties. Creating an innovative fuzzy sound that sparked memories of the psychedelic past, Spine Of God (1991) and Superjudge (1993) are now classics that set the stage for the popular success of Dopes To Infinity (1995) with the radio hit “Negasonic Teenage Warhead.” Best remembered in the mind of society afterwards for Powertrip (1998) and Mastermind (2010), Monster Magnet has always created music on their own terms. The band is founder Dave Wyndorf (vocals) along with Phil Caivano (guitar), Garret Sweeny (guitar), Alec Morton (bass), and Bob Pantella (drums).

You never know for sure what the next Monster Magnet album is going to be like. The Last Patrol came out in 2013 and then the very next year the band released a “re-imagining” of that album, Milking The Stars, with substantially altered arrangements. Then in 2015 Mastermind got a make-over with Cobras And Fire in a similar fashion. Mindfucker (2018) was tailored for the wild turn the world took in 2016 and now we have A Better Dystopia, a collection of covers that many fans will be entirely unfamiliar with. Consider this: Is it a cover tune to the listener if they never heard the original?

An odd choice, this album, but a bold and brilliant one. Drawing mainly from psychedelic-styled work from a by-gone era, the songs chosen by Wyndorf and crew have a contemporary resonance. Some of these were new to me and are genuine deep pulls. Here is the track list to marvel at: “The Diamond Mine” (Dave Diamond), “Born to Go” (Hawkwind), “Epitaph for a Head” (J. D. Blackfoot), “Solid Gold Hell” (The Scientists), “Be Forewarned” (The Macabre), “Mr. Destroyer” (Poo-Bah), “When the Wolf Sits” (Jerusalem), “Death” (Pretty Things), “Situation” (Josephus), “It’s Trash” (The Cave Men), “Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)” (Table Scraps), “Learning to Die” (Dust), and “Welcome to the Void” (Morgen).

The song that interested me most was Dust’s “Learning To Die.” I love Dust and this song in particular has always been one of my favorites. Like all the music on this album – and every album by Monster Magnet – energy and passion blazes through no matter the tempo or perspective. Expect fuzzed-up heavy psychedelic stoner rock. First listen to this album all the way through, then go out and dig up the originals. It is a trip comparing the new versions with the way-back-whens. Highly recommended.

A Better Dystopia is out now in myriad forms to please each and every one of the people of the Earth.


Napalm Records,



Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia (Napalm Records 2021)

The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio review (Tee Pee Records 2020)

The New Jersey groove metal trio celebrates beyond the twenty year mark of TAB with the band’s eighth full-length studio album, Scorpio.

I became acquainted with The Atomic Bitchwax segue Monster Magnet. Indeed the current line-up of Chris Kosnik, Garrett Sweeny, and Bob Pantella all play in Monster Magnet now, too. TAB material is different, though, being more jam-like, bluesy, and improvisational-feeling…and with a lot more lead guitar work than Monster Magnet.

The first TAB album came out in 1999, and the second was released the following year. For some time after that, commitments to other bands and a little line-up shuffling lead to an irregular recording schedule. But in 2015 there was Graviton, and in 2017 there was Force Field, and now there is Scorpio.

The new album is ten meaty cuts, starting with a reworking of one of the band’s earliest songs, “Hope You Die.” The new version has a fuller sound with the treble dialed down a mite. The groove metal is on full display from beginning to end. I have always had a soft spot for instrumentals and we get three this time: “Ninja,” “Crash,” and “Instant Death.” Damn can they rip out a jam! Could-be radio songs are there, too, like “Easy Action” – “Let’s get some satisfaction / Any kind of easy action.” I hear you. And “Super Sonic.” And “Betting Man.” This is rock and roll as far as I am concerned. One of the weirdest things about my life in music is I have never seen TAB live. I am all about fixing that. Wherever they are at next, I will be in the front row.

Scorpio is out on Friday, August 28th from Tee Pee Records at all the usuals. There is no way I can recommend this as much as it deserves and as much as I want. Go get it now. Highest recommendation.


The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio review (Tee Pee Records 2020)