Friday, August 20, 2010

Monster Magnet - Dopes To Infinity

Along with Clutch and Kyuss, Monster Magnet were one of the best early 90's stoner rock bands around. While Spine Of God is one of the best early examples of the genre, Dopes to Infinity is where they had a lot more money to spend, and they spent it in the right places.

For one thing, Jon Kleimans drums sound incredible. Everything is nice and thick sounding, punchy and forceful without being too thuddy. The quality of the drum recordings really help bring out the subtleties of Jon's talent. He has a interesting way of playing mid-tempo patterns but making them feel urgent. The first track, Dopes To Infinity, is loud and powerful, but when you listen to the drums Jon is actually playing fairly slow. He's just sitting behind the beat, locked in and keeping things pushing forward. He never jumps ahead of the guitars or tries to take over the song. So many times he could have ruined everything by being too busy, but instead he lets the great guitar work take the lead.

He picks the speed up a little with Negasonic Teenage Warhead, but his patterns are still fairly minimal compared to other drummers from the genre at that time. Kleiman is like Dale Crover meets ?uestlove. He can trudge through the slop with the rest of 'em, like the sludged out Third Alternative, but he has such a deep rooted technique of playing the pocket that it makes everything feel so comfortable.

He gets to show off a little more in Theme From "Masterburner". Quick riff changes and timed hits keep him busy, but he manages to slip in some pretty epic rolls in throughout the song. Definitely a highlight.

This album was a minor success that helped Monster Magnet maybe dip it's toes into the industry pool before deciding to jump in. They had been making great records for years, it's nice that they were eventually able to sell some of them. If this album had come out five years before or five years after it did, it would have been huge, but alas, it sort of gets overlooked by those top ten lists people like to read so much. Luckily for stoner rock bands, there will always be stoners looking for those perfect albums to listen to. They'll eventually find this one.


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