Although I think I own a copy of this album somewhere, when you say 4-Way Diablo, nothing immediately comes to mind. Not only did this record not contain a single, or a video, but as Dave Wyndorf told Guitar World a few years later, the tunes on 4-Way “didn’t seem to be the right songs to manipulate into something that would work louder and live.” So we haven’t heard ‘em in concert, either. Not that Monster Magnet has even played Toronto since this record came out in 2007…
Sure enough the title track, which kicks things off, is clean and bright, a pretty pleasant three-minute tune that sorta has shades of the Gin Blossoms, and a pretty trippy chorus riff. Speaking of mid 90’s alt-rock acts, “Wall of Fire” screams Collective Soul to me, albeit with a bit more of a garage-rock feel. “You’re Alive” brings back that industrial-style chug, complete with danceable drum beats. “Blow Your Mind” has a laid-back verse that makes “Space Lord” sound frantic by comparison, but delivers the first truly heavy chorus of the album. Yes, we’re on Track 4.
“Cyclone” has a similarly mellow vibe, perhaps the first song on this one deserving of the “stoner-rock” label—and at five-and-a-half minutes, it’s almost the longest track, too. Then they hit us with another obscure cover, this one from some unheard-of band from England called The Rolling Stones, heh heh. In all seriousness, they do a pretty decent job of “2000 Light Years from Home” from the Stones’ psychedelic phase. (Hey, that record came out in ’67, maaaaan….) “No Vacation” continues in the mellow-psych state, with some light orchestration backing Wyndorf on a simple, winding riff. It’s hard to tell where said song stops and “I’m Calling You” starts, as the two tunes are virtually identical. If that’s not the same guitar riff, it’s awfully close.
“Solid Gold” brings the rock back with a slow, southern-style tune that certainly sounds like The Black Crowes. But then it’s back to the semi-orchestral psychedelic well with “Freeze and Pixillate” sounding like one of the more mellow moments on a Neurosis record, before it goes all gypsy on us. So, maybe more like latter-day OM, then? “A Thousand Stars” has more of a goth/new-wave feel, as if that was the only thing missing from this bizarre mixture. Finally, “Slap in the Face” brings back the garage-y, grungy Monster Magnet we all know and love. Hey, that only took 12 songs! So naturally, the album ends with church organ and Wyndorf singing a eulogy. Is this a mixed bag or what!?