MONDO GENERATOR sets the world ablaze with “We Stand Against You”.

Written by Album Review, Chronique

Mondo Generator and me, we go way back. I ended up in the stoner scene thanks to a punk heritage and, therefore, my gateway artist to this beautiful world is named Nick Oliveri. And while I have widened my musical horizons over the past 15 years, catching up on all the classics, I kept this soft spot for Mondo Generator in my heart.

Yet, it is not as a fanboy that I write these lines, you see, Mondo Generator did not always manage to hit the spot. While every album has its own charm to me, the band had to keep searching for a good line-up for quite a while. The one that would last and match perfectly, that could be prolific, inspired, technical and devoted. Oftentimes, their albums alternated between amazing tracks and a few fillers.

You had to get the perfect musicians to help Nick make the right choices, push him to his limits, get the best out of him — the core of what makes Nick Nick. So when, in 2019 “Fuck It” came out, an album that finally delivered everything we wanted ever since “Cocaine Rodeo”, we all applauded. The band sounded fully reinvigorated around the two Mikes. While one brings mastery and aggressiveness, the other brings a proggier and more experimental touch, with both of them being at full service of the songs, the unforgettable voice of Nick and his not-so-conventional bass lines. So here we are, the follow-up to “Fuck It” lands in my inbox and I could not wait for my special deluxe vinyl edition. I dove right into these 29 minutes with a few doubts but those were very quickly gone.

First, this album welcomes us with an angry speech which is, of course, a call back to the timeless intros on “Cocaine Rodeo” or “A Drug Problem That Never Existed”, a real 2000’s feel that I definitely enjoy. Then, we’ll get back-to-back punk hardcore tracks that still have this light proggish and noise rock feel all along. The songs are short and straight to the point. The riffs all have this little something to tickle our ears, lead guitars are all perfectly fitting while never being overwhelming, the production is dirty and powerful, embellishing Nick’s vocals more than ever with a subtle distortion that is not once exaggerated in post-production.

Imagine if NoMeansNo had an offspring with Black Flag and it kept that cool attitude of the Californian desert rock scene. That’s what we get here.

What will we remember from these 29 minutes? The epic riff for “Death March” brings us back to the good oldies “Like a Bomb” or “Simple Exploding Man”! But if I had to pick ONE highlight, it would be the stuttering mid-tempo “Conspiracy (fact or theory)”. Mainly because it’s the only track on the album where Nick uses his whole vocal range (from the spoken words à la Rollins to the out-of-his-own-mind screams, from the protesting slur to the more melodic lines). That being said, if I picked this track, it’s because of its theme. The lockdowns from the past few years had a rather negative impact on Oliveri who did not hesitate to mention this in grand length on social media. Sometimes in an exaggerated way, sometimes borderline conspiracist, but we could always feel the sincerity and even a bit of innocence we all know too well from him.

When “Kyuss Dies” was in-depth introspection on “Fuck it”, “Conspiracy” has the function of cathartic self-criticism on this new album. Of course, following this with “I Want Out” is a logical statement and this crazily good harmonized solo on the entire finale of this track is just undeniable.

As we listen, we never once get bored during these 29 minutes and we even spot a rather clever structure. The first 3 or 4 tracks, full-on “pedal to the metal”, are putting you in the needed mood before a higher quality trio of tracks shows up as the “core” of the album with “Death March / Conspiracy / I Want Out”, then, the final third of the record is just a final acceleration before the prefect ending on “For a Day” with the best build-up from Mike Pygmie on fuzzy guitars, gentle yet abrasive, instinctively rock n’ roll but also quite noisy, dissonant and surprising.

Some will say that 9 tracks are just not enough. Others will say it lacks a few stronger hits. Some others will say they’ve heard that 100 times from Nick and his peers. But I strongly believe it’s more subtle than it appears. Nick is doing what he does best and the Mikes are here to add a little something to an already well-defined sonic identity. We can’t expect any revolution from this band.

After all, Nick is the living definition of Stoner Punk and that’s precisely what he delivers. I think it’s better to look at “We Stand Against You” within the entire discography of the band and ask ourselves: is it one of the best Mondo Generator outings? The answer is yes. Between the freshness and renewal of “Fuck It” and the rage and mastership of “We Stand Against You”, it’s impossible for me to choose so I leave it up to you to pick your favorite from these two major albums of the man with the maniac smile.

ARTIST: Mondo Generator
ALBUM: We Stand Against You
LABEL: Heavy Psych Sounds
DATE: 13th October 2023
GENRE: Stoner punk / hardcore
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Last modified: 14 October 2023