It may still be a bit cool out but it’s not raining so it’s all systems go for Tuesday’s missed 11.25k fartlek run. Damn. Can’t you just tell how motivated I am? Just because I’ve committed to maintaining this “Iron base” doesn’t mean I necessarily have to like all the workouts, of which, these challenging speed intervals are at the top of the list. But such is the path to becoming a faster, strong and more efficient runner. This morning/afternoon’s listening pleasure for my planned set of [5 x (4 minutes FAST / 1 minute jog), 2 x (3 minutes FAST / 2 minutes jog)] is the ‘Spine of God‘ album by Monster Magnet.
‘Spine of God’ is the debut album (released in 1991) by the New Jersey-based band, which also serving to be one of the earliest examples of the genre known as “Stoner Rock”. I suppose there cold be an argument made that could be considered as “psychedelic rock” as it ranks among a lot of “Best of…” lists for that genre and I do remember a lot my stoner buddies back in university really getting into this album but, for me, I guess I prefer the old school classification of “psychedelic”. But, hey, to each their own.
Others describe the album as “the metal album for people who hate metal albums”. Yup, that’s me for sure. So I suppose then that I’m taking this album out today for an official “test run” to see if I agree with that label or not.
The album mixes elements of punk, heavy metal, psychedelic rock, and space rock. It’s kind of like the Stooges meet Strawberry Alarm Clock. how’s that for a comparison? Bearing the warning “It’s a satanic drug thing…you wouldn’t understand,” the record is a complete mindfuck with a positively viscous production, a hallucinatory sludge of echo-drenched vocals, bone-rattling drums, and reverbed guitars which seem to stretch on into infinity. It’s sheer sonic intensity is brain-warping stuff even without chemical additives, and its themes of sex, drugs, and evil are so hilariously over the top that it’s impossible not to be charmed by the absolute mindlessness of it all.
The opening track ‘Pill Shovel‘ starts off with a wacko drum solo, powered by a Stooges riff and then turning into a lazy riff-fest that exemplifies the Magnet sound while ‘Medicine‘ is about the closest any band would get to officially resurrecting the Stooges from the dead. There’s a lot of contrast on the album as well. For example, ‘Black Mastermind‘ is a nod to the mighty Sabbath with it’s whirlwind jam at the end while ‘Zodiac Lung‘ is a study in versatility providing the quietest moment on the album and the closest they get to Pink Floyd-style ambience. ‘Snake Dance‘ is another rave-up rocker, while the cover of Grand Funk’s ‘Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother‘ is about ten times blusier and sleazier. The album ends with ‘Ozium‘, a sprawling, murky sea of guitars and organs that sounds what Iron Butterfly might have sounded like today, great for an ideal warm down trot back home post-workout.
On the whole, it’s not a bad album. I mean, I still prefer my old school “Like WOW man!” classification of psychedelia but, still, this album wasn’t entirely without it’s charm. In fact, it was the near perfect musical companion for a hard, angry interval run into the wind such as it was today. I’d likely never put it on around the house for pure enjoyment sake (well, maybe if I was doing I didn’t particular enjoy, like housework for example), but for running…yeah, it was pretty fucking cool.