I’d been anxiously awaiting the release of “4 Way Diablo” for a while now, and from some of the press saying that it was a “return to form” for the band it had me very excited. And this is rightfully so, because when Dave Wyndorf is on in his songwriting, he’s one of the best in his craft.
I would also like to preface the coming statements by saying that I love Monster Magnet, and have been a huge fan for some time. Dopes to Infinity has easily earned it’s way into my favorite albums of all time, and I absolutely adore everything from Tab all the way up to God Says No. Now Monolithic was something I didn’t feel almost at ALL (save Radiation Day and There’s No Way Out of Here), and I feel that it was the start of a trend. A trend that this album seems to do it’s best to break.
Now the album is not without it’s bright points (Monster Magnet, no matter how far from their prime they may be, will never completely fail). It starts off nicely with the title track, which is a good energetic number. Wall of Fire continues the pace and is another upbeat track. Any momentum that the album has going at this point is almost completely wasted with the third track, “You’re Alive”. I mean, as nice as it is to hear someone repeat that phrase for four minutes, I’d rather not hear it. It really is a terrible track.
However, Dave reigns it back in with Blow Your Mind. It’s got a little elevator jamminess to it at the beginning, and carries along nicely. What comes next is probably the best song Wyndorf has written in 7 years, Cyclone. This song would fit in with any of their best stuff, and shows that MM is indeed not going away quietly. Truly epic through and through.
It’s no secret that Dave loves to have covers on MM albums, and they’re almost always a good addition with a little spin on them. The cover here is a Rolling Stones one, “2000 Light Years From Home”. This one isn’t any different from the rest as it is a success. Nice and spacey, it doesn’t take anything away.
After the unremarkable “No Vacation” comes “I’m Calling You”. This one is another throwback to the Monster Magnet of old. It’s epic, but doesn’t quite get there with the guitar.
The quality of the rest of the album tapers off a little bit after this. Solid Gold is ok, but nothing to write home about. Freeze and Pixillate is a nice/spacey instrumental. A Thousand Stars is pretty uneventful. Slap in the Face is saved by the excellent guitar work by Ed Mundell near the end. The album ends with Little Bag of Gloom. It’s short, but it’s definitely a pretty good closer.
Overall, this album is probably near the back of the catalogue. It’s most certainly better than Monolithic Baby!, but it’s probably neck and neck with God Says No. If someone was trying to get into MM, I’d definitely say this would be an album to start with along with Powertrip and Dopes because it touches on some of the best parts of MM, but doesn’t quite get there. I’ve done my best to not outrightly discredit it, but the rest of Monster Magnet’s history is just that, monstrous.