Well it’s been just under a year since we were presented with ‘Milking the Stars: A Re-Imagining of Last Patrol‘, a re-working of their 2013 album into a more mellow psychedelic version. With that under his belt Dave Wyndorf set about doing a similar re-working of his 2010 album ‘Mastermind‘. It was no secret he was doing this and talked openly with me earlier this year how he wants to go a lot more trippy with the albums and keep the ‘Classic Rock’ hard hitting stuff for the live shows.
Front man Dave Wyndorf pronounced in a press release “With Cobras and Fire I wanted to present these songs in a much stranger and dirtier atmosphere. Less classic rock and more..well, I’d guess I’d call it a deranged fusion of garage-psych, fuzz punk and movie soundtrack music. It’s almost completely re-recorded (with the bulk of the guitar and bass playing by co-producer Phil Caivano) and as in Milking The Stars I’ve added organ, piano, sitars and more to flesh out a completely new sound for these tunes“. As well as working with Monster Magnet guitarist Caivano on the album Dave also enlisted ‘Evil’ Joe Barresi to help out with the 8:54 minute “tripped out sonic adventure” that is ‘I Live Behind the Paradise Machine Evil‘.
The album starts with ‘She digs that hole‘ a re-awaking of Masterminds ‘Dig That hole‘. The lyrics like the music have changed and we are greeted with the words ‘Her name is Cobra and she’s my porno wife‘. More melodious than its predecessor this song gives a hint to how the rest of the album is going to pan out and we’re in for a treat. As promised the next song ‘Watch me Fade‘ has the organs Dave was obsessing about previously giving it an air of ‘The Doors’ and a subtle hint of 60’s vintage. ‘Master mind is next and sitars are introduced into the mix, however with Wyndorf’s preacher like vocals we lose none of the punch from the previous version. ‘Hallucination Bomb‘ was my favourite track from 2010 and I was eager to hear what direction Wyndorf would take this one. The song itself rolls along and you get to savour every word. It shows how Wyndorf is one of the best lyricists in the business. Maybe it’s the constant visits he has to ‘The Secret Stash’ his local comic emporium owned by fellow Red Bank resident Kevin Smith but he seems to create in your mind a vivid landscape of the apocalyptic future, escapism at its best. ‘Gods and Punks‘ for me is more like this song is played live, slightly subdued from the original album which allows you to catch your breath. Again the lyrics rule with this song where we get to relish every syllable as it drips from the front mans lips. ‘The Titan‘ one of the albums shortest songs brings the often subtle effects from the previous version to the foreground reminding me of how Wyndorf suggests that there is a indication of soundtrack music to the album (this would enhance any graphic novel wanting to hit the big screen). ‘When the Planes Fall From the Sky‘ another apocalyptic vision of the future, no doubt that Caivano’s guitar tone adds to the approach to this song. This is what Mad Max would listen to on a day off. ‘Ball of Confusion‘ is possibly the strangest song on the album, not that it doesn’t fit with the rest of the songs, but it is the only ‘The Temptations’ cover and believe me will you will not hear a better cover. Wyndorf himself saying that it is arranged to sound like a cross between Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies. ‘Time Machine‘ although played on electric instruments starts with a more acoustic vibe before it builds to a monumental sound reminiscent of how early Hawkwind used to take you on a sonic trip.
The direction that Wyndorf takes us on with this album is a trip of sonic spacescapes, allowing us, at least for a while, to escape our day to day worries and drift into a world of comic novels, science fiction and the apocalypse. It’s obvious that Wyndorf wants to take a slightly different direction with his music lending itself to a more laid back approach and leaving the more heavy Sabbath type stuff for the live shows. This album is so different to the original it is like having a totally unique album but it’s hard to try and second guess what direction they will go to next. I certainly look forward to it whether it’s a re-working or completely new material one thing is for sure with Wyndorf at the helm we are in for something unusual, inventive, creative and unique. Roll on the next album and hopefully a tour of the UK.
The direction that Wyndorf takes us on with this album is a trip of sonic spacescapes, allowing us, at least for a while, to escape our day to day worries and drift into a world of comic novels, science fiction and the apocalypse. It's obvious that Wyndorf wants to take a slightly different direction with his music lending itself to a more laid back approach and leaving the more heavy Sabbath type stuff for the live shows.