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Monster Magnet

As good as Blue Öyster Cult was (and remains), those arty and funny metal maniacs have nothing on the quirky, savage imagination of songwriter Dave Wyndorf and his band Monster Magnet. With a beautifully twisted mind that references everyone and anything from comic-book artist Jack Kirby to the mythic operas of Wagner, Wyndorf is smarter than his leather pants suggest, and his sense of humor often flies above listeners' heads.

His latest effort, 4-Way Diablo, marks a triumphant resuscitation in the wake of a reported prescription-drug overdose and 2004's guitar bonfire Monolithic Baby! "Well, I'm back," he yelps in the spine-rattling "Wall of Fire," "I got a cock made out of platinum / I got money coming out of the sky / I got the world's last piece of chocolate / I got the full moon in my eye."

Conversely, Monster Magnet seemingly returns to its space-rock stoner-metal roots with the thick distortion ride of "Cyclone," which, despite clocking in at just more than five minutes, still conveys epic heft. Then, to show he's indebted to '60s rock, Wyndorf throws in a spectral cover of the Rolling Stones' "2,000 Light Years From Home" that's pulpy enough for Quentin Tarantino's next film. But the song looking for a movie soundtrack to call home is the cosmic sitar-and-tabla instrumental "Freeze and Pixillate," showing off a side of Wyndorf we haven't heard before.

If you enjoy metal music that makes you think as you bang your head in homage to Satan, Wyndorf is the once and future space lord.

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