Mos Generator Post “Catspaw” Video; Release Live Album; Announce More Recording

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mos-generator

I’ve never used Prisma, but putting together 5,800 of any kind of image to make an animated video out of it that then has to synch up with an actual song being played sounds like a ridiculously complicated editing job. Again, I’ve never done it. Maybe there’s some fabulous modern technology that makes that not at all a pain in the ass, but however they got there, Mos Generator‘s new video for “Catspaw” from their 2016 Listenable Records album, Abyssinia (review here), looks pretty sweet.

The Port Orchard, Washington, trio led by founding guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed continue their multi-pronged, multi-tiered attack on heavy rock consciousness as we move into the waning months of 2016. In addition to Abyssinia, they’ve also just put out The Firmament via Stickman Records, which captures a live performance with an expanded lineup recorded by Chris Joonior — who as fate would have it also helmed the “Catspaw” clip and who also now handles guitar/vocals in Ancient Warlocks — and they’ve got another batch of recordings in the can at Reed‘s HeavyHead studio that dip back to a collection of old hardcore tunes from the late ’80s. Two are streaming on Soundcloud (linked below).

Not sure if they’ll actually see release, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Reed pressed them up himself in some limited numbers, so keep an eye out. Mos GeneratorReed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett — have also toured the country coast to coast to support the new album, including a recent stop in Alaska. If you ever wanted a yardstick by which to measure a band’s touring habit, consider “driving to Alaska for a show” a pretty good one to use. They also play Erosion Fest in Missoula, Montana, on Oct. 15.

Bottom line? Mos Generator are out there breaking their collective ass to bring as much rock and roll as possible to as many people as possible. Expect the pace to continue, and enjoy the “Catspaw” clip below followed by some PR wire info and comment from Reed on their latest doings:

Mos Generator, “Catspaw” official video

Directed and edited by Chris Mathews, Jr.
https://www.facebook.com/JooniorStudios/

‘Catspaw’ is from Mos Generator’s new full length album “Abyssinia” available via Listenable Records.

Created using Prisma, neural network artificial intelligence, and lots of other pieces of software. Special thanks to Brian Mathews for hours of moral and technical support.

We would like to extend a massive thank you to Chris and Brian Mathews for using extra terrestrial intelligence to figure out how to make a video from 5800 Prisma images. We know it took a lot of time and effort. We truly appreciate it.

Out on Stickman Records (Motorpsycho, Elder, Spidergawd). THE FIRMAMENT. The soundtrack LP of our performance in the concert film “Songs for the Firmament”. We brought in some extra players for this and got quite Psych with it. Shows yet another side of our catalog. Check it out!!!

On august 1st we recorded 12 songs in 4 hours. All of them were hardcore songs I wrote circa ’86/’87 with my hardcore band “Lies of Liberty”. Here is a double shot of 2 of the tunes we have been throwing into the live set here and there. All of the songs will all be released on vinyl as soon as the tracks have a final mix and we find a label to put it out. This has been a super fun project, it’s great to hear these tunes properly recorded after 30 years.

Mos Generator on Soundcloud

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

Mos Generator at Listenable Records

Listenable Records on Bandcamp

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Dale Crover Releases Skins Limited Edition 12-Sided Five-Minute LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Okay, collector types. Feast your hungry eyes on this. Bound to be so rare it’s ridiculous and I can only imagine the silliness of the prices it will fetch on the secondary market. It’s Dale Crover from the Melvins, with 12 solo tracks all of which are under a minute long, split up into six separate records pressed to both sides of a single LP, hand-pressed to clear vinyl. Even Joyful Noise Recordings, which helmed the project, seems to admit that the technology involved produced a pretty rough sound, but let’s face it, if you’re buying this thing, you’re not buying it because you’re gonna slap it on your turntable and play it until the needle digs through to the other side. You’re buying it to take pictures and brag on social media that you got one of the 127 copies in existence. And I honestly don’t think I could fault you for that, given how gorgeous it actually looks and the clear passion that has gone into making it.

For sale at $100 a pop, they’re already gone.

From the PR wire:

dale crover skins-700

Dale Crover (the Melvins) Releasing 12-Sided Record ‘Skins’ via Joyful Noise Recordings

Watch Instructional Video (on how to play “the most impractical record of all time”)

Dale Crover, best known as the drummer of the Melvins, teamed up with Joyful Noise Recordings to create a 12-sided record called Skins. The first release of its kind, the unique art object was hand made by lathe virtuoso Mike Dixon and is limited to 127 signed copies. Each record features six spindle holes, which correspond to twelve short songs written by Crover (six on side A and six on side B.) Joyful Noise created an instructional video demonstrating how to access each track.

This unique format required Crover to work within a highly constraining framework, creating individual pieces of music that almost mimic haikus. Each piece is less than 30 seconds in length, and these distinct works ultimately became the seed for Crover’s upcoming full-length album, slated for release in 2017.

Because each record was individually cut using 1940s technology (on a 1942 Presto 6N record lathe), these are lo-fi, mono records that will not possess the same fidelity as a modern record. Each of the 127 copies available required more than an hour of work to produce. See below for additional notes on playing the record.

Turntable Setup: Lathe-cut records have more shallow grooves than pressed records, which can make them difficult to play. Adjustments to your standard turntable setup may be required. If the only turntable you own is a Crosley, do not buy this record. Not only will it not play on your setup, but you’ll likely damage the record in the process. Due to the multi-spindle-hole design, we cannot guarantee that this record will be playable on all turntables.

A note about the price: Yes, it would be totally insane to pay $100 for 5 minutes of audio. But music is not all you are buying here. This is one of the most unique records ever made in the history of music. Each of the 127 copies required over an hour of work to make, not to mention the countless hours that were put into the design, composition and recording. If you cannot afford this art object, feel free to wait for Dale’s full-length. But to those who can, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that in the not-too-distant future, this record will be sold on eBay for a far more obscene amount of money.

TRACK LISTING
01. Slide On Up (0:27)
02. The Short Con (0:26)
03. Our Supreme Leader (0:16)
04. String Bean (0:32)
05. Why Not? (0:11)
06. Prismo (0:15)
07. Trick Dirt (0:29)
08. Chicken Ala King (0:30)
09. Vulnavia (0:30)
10. None No More (0:31)
11. Horse Pills (0:30)
12. Just Walk Around (0:29)

https://www.joyfulnoiserecordings.com/products/skins
https://www.facebook.com/joyfulnoiserecordings

How to Listen to Dale Crover’s Skins

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Mos Generator European Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

By the time they get over there, the bulk of the jam-packed European fall festival season will be over, and I can’t help but think that works to Mos Generator‘s advantage. True, they’ll play at Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 3 with a considerable lineup that also includes Fatso Jetson and others, but I’d imagine rockers in a lot of the cities listed below will be hurting for a band they haven’t already just seen three times in the span of weeks, and so Mos Generator seem poised to make a standout impression.

They go supporting their upcoming EP, The Firmament, on Stickman Records and their new album, Abyssinia (review here), on Listenable Records, on which the songs benefit from the overall energy that the band has been able to harness from emerging over the last couple years as such a hard-touring act. Part of that was guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed rebuilding the trio from the ground up, but that too was a measure of sheer drive on his part that has ultimately worked to spread their classic-style boogie and groove, as their delivery of same is nigh on irresistible for anyone who’s ever dug into some riffs.

Heavy Psych Sounds, which is presenting the tour, had previously announced the run, but posted the dates accordingly with a few still TBA:

mos generator tour-700

This will be insane !!

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records&Booking is proud to announce the European dates for ***Mos Generator*** tour

This will be supported by Black Bone from Netherland

New album Abyssinia is just been released on Listenable records

here the dates:
20.10.2016 IT Ravenna-Bronson*
21.10.2016 IT Torino-Blah Blah*
22.10.2016 IT Milano-Cox 18*
23.10.2016 IT Mantova-Hostaria*
24.10.2016 IT Bologna-Freak Out*
25.10.2016 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando*
26.10.2016 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse*
27.10.2016 IT Trieste tba*
28.10.2016 IT Parma-Mu/Hps fest Vol 3*
29.10.2016 DE Berlin-Cassiopeia*
30.10.2016 DE Radebeul-Barnyard Club*
31.10.2016 DE Hamburg tba*
01.11.2016 DE Munster-Rare Guitar Shop*
02.11.2016 DE Koln-Sonic Ballroom*
03.11.2016 DE Stuttgart-Keller Klub*
04.11.2016 CH Luzern-Bruch Bros*
05.11.2016 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk*
06.11.2016 DE Wiesbaden-Schlachthof*
07.11.2016 DE Mannheim-Tba*
08.11.2016 BE Bruxelles-Magasin 4*
09.11.2016 FR Nantes-La Scene Michelet
10.11.2016 FR Paris-Dr Feelgood Les Halles
11.11.2016 FR Lorient-Le Galion
12.11.2016 SP San Sebastian-Tba
13.11.2016 SP Zaragoza-Tba
14.11.2016 SP Gijon-Casino Acapulco
15.11.2016 PT Lisbon-Sabotage
16.11.2016 PT Porto-Cave 45
17.11.2016 SP Vigo-La Iguana Club
18.11.2016 SP Madrid-Tba
19.11.2016 SP Barcellona-Boveda
*date with Black Bone

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator/
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
www.shop-listenable.net
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Mos Generator, Abyssinia (2016)

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: Snail, “Smoke the Deathless” Video Premiere

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

This past weekend, West Coast riff-rollers Snail got together for rehearsal before they come east to play The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Nothing weird about that, right? Bands rehearse all the time.

Snail are spread out between Los Angeles and Seattle — and for those of you unfamiliar with American geography, that’s not a minor distance, even for being on the same coast. They don’t always get together to record, let alone practice, so to have the three of them in the same room performing material at all is something special, let alone their traveling across the country to play a gig.

The timing couldn’t have been better to have bassist/engineer Matt Lynch record some of their time together and put it in a video clip for “Smoke the Deathless.” Comprised of Lynch, guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson and drummer Marty Dodson, Snail come to The Obelisk All-Dayer on the heels of their finest work to-date, 2015’s Feral (review here), which was released by Small Stone.

It’s the third album they’ve put out since 2009, but their fourth overall. Their debut came in 1993 and was followed by an EP and a 16-year disbanding. Even since coming back, they’ve toured only sparingly, so I cannot emphasize this enough — if you ever want to see these guys, take advantage of this opportunity. It may or may not ever come again, let alone on a bill shared with Mars Red SkyDeath AlleyKings DestroyEyeFuneral HorseKing Buffalo and Heavy Temple.

Thanks to Snail for making the trip to Brooklyn on Aug.20 to play The Obelisk All-Dayer and the trip to get in a rehearsal beforehand. You can check out the video from their session of “Smoke the Deathless” below in tripped-out style, then pick up your All-Dayer tickets at Ticketfly. Do that. Really.

Snail, “Smoke the Deathless” official video

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

Snail on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus Bar website

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He Whose Ox is Gored Announce US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

By the time they got around to putting it out last Fall, it was kind of hard to believe that The Camel, the Lion, the Child (review here) was He Whose Ox is Gored‘s debut full-length. The Seattle-based outfit had spent years busting out singles and EPs and splits with damn near the entire Pacific Northwest — “dude, did you hear the Ox/Whole City of Seattle split?” — and I guess their sound was just so established by then from those releases and the touring they’d done that it made more sense to think of the record as one by an experienced band than a group of newcomers. Sounded that way, anyhow.

They’ll hit the road once again at the end of the month alongside Retox and Silent on a coast-to-coast stint mostly centered around major markets. The PR wire brings the update:

he whose ox is gored (photo by Amy Billharz)

HE WHOSE OX IS GORED: Atmospheric Progressive Sludge Collective Announces Tour With Retox And Silent

Atmospheric progressive sludge collective HE WHOSE OX IS GORED will bring their audio conjurings to the stage later this month for a run of live rituals with Retox, Silent and Netherlands (on select dates). The band’s latest trek well commence August 30th in Tuscan, Arizona and run through September 16th in Portland, Oregon.

Comments the band of their upcoming journey, “We are excited to announce that we’ll not only be expanding dates to the south, east coast and midwest, but that we’ll be supporting the awesome Retox and Silent. Last time we caught Retox in Seattle, they packed the house and brought the shred with precision and snarl. Can’t wait!”

HE WHOSE OX IS GORED w/ Retox, Silent:
8/29/2016 The Soda Bar – San Diego, CA **
8/30/2016 Club Congress – Tucson, AZ
8/31/2016 Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
9/1/2016 Three Links – Dallas, TX
9/2/2016 Dirty Dog – Austin, TX
9/4/2016 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
9/5/2016 Shakas – Virginia Beach, VA
9/6/2016 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Netherlands
9/7/2016 Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Netherlands
9/8/2016 Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA w/ Netherlands
9/9/2016 DC9 – Washington, DC
9/10/2016 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH
9/11/2016 Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
9/12/2016 Fubar – St. Louis, MO
9/13/2016 Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
9/14/2016 Hi Dive – Denver, CO
9/16/2016 High Water Mark – Portland, OR **
**HE WHOSE OX IS GORED only

HE WHOSE OX IS GORED will be touring in support of their critically-lauded The Camel, The Lion, The Child released late last year via Bleeding Light Records. A monolithic, eight-track, near hour-long exercise in sonic alchemy, with The Camel, The Lion, The Child the Seattle collective travel far beyond the confines of traditional musical boundaries with a sound that’s at once cinematic, ethereal and sprawling yet unequivocally heavy. The Camel, The Lion, The Child was captured at Red Room and Ex Ex Audio in Seattle by Robert Cheek (Serial Hawk, Noise-A-Tron etc.) with additional recording at Avast Studios with Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Wolves In The Throne Room etc.), mixed by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon etc.) and mastered by frequent collaborator, Blake Bickel, The Camel, The Lion, The Child is a truly cathartic audio expedition not to be ignored.

http://www.hewhoseoxisgored.com
http://www.facebook.com/hewhoseoxisgoredseattle
http://www.facebook.com/bleedinglightrecords

He Whose Ox is Gored, The Camel, the Lion, the Child (2015)

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Mother Crone Announce August Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mother crone

Back in May, Seattle trio Mother Crone were confirmed to take part in the Erosion Festival in Montana this October (info here), and it seems they’ll test the waters in August on a quick run through the Midwest and West Coast still supporting last year’s Awakening (review here) debut full-length that recently got them picked up by DHU Records for the release of their next album.

About that album: Mother Crone put word out not too long ago that they’re looking for a second guitarist, maybe guitarist/vocalist, so if you’re in the Seattle area, can tour, and get down on stuff that’s ridiculously heavy and well constructed, it might be worth hitting them up. Their post and the tour dates follow here, as seen on the social medias:

mother crone tour poster

Hey dudes and dames, we here in the doom thrash band Mother Crone are seeking a second guitar player for both rhythm and leads. Our current record was written for two guitars and we are in the midst of getting the next record ready to record and would like to expand. We would also like the tunes to live up to their fullest live. If you can sing, that’s a huge plus! Hit us up if you’re interested. Please note, we tour quite a bit, but will have some down time as we get ready for the next record.

Two weeks! Stoked to go out and reacquaint ourselves the likes of Chicago and Minneapolis as well as meet y’all in Omaha and Kansas City!

This whole thing ends at Marymoor Park here in WA for HEMP FEST 2016!!

Stoked!!

Mother Crone on tour:
08/09 Missoula MT VFW
08/10 Billings MT Muleskinner
08/12 Minneapolis MN The Hexagon
08/13 Chicago IL Livewire Lounge
08/15 Kansas City MO MiniBar
08/16 Omaha NE Dr. JacksDrinker
08/18 Boise ID The Shredder
08/19 Seattle WA Nuemo’s
08/20 Portland OR High Water Mark
08/21 Seattle WA HempFest

Mother Crone:
Jeremy Schulz (AKA Walrusdrummer) – Drums,
Joshua Hashman – Bass/Vox,
Joseph Frothingham – Guitar/Vox

https://www.facebook.com/MotherCroneMusic/
https://www.instagram.com/mothercronemusic/
https://mothercrone.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
http://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Mother Crone, Awakening (2015)

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Friday Full-Length: Earth, HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Earth, HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method (2005)

I think it’s safe to call Earth‘s HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method one of the most pivotal albums of its decade. Released 11 years ago now in 2005 by Southern Lord, it not only marked the Seattle outfit’s first studio full-length since 1996’s also-essential Pentastar: In the Style of Demons and their fourth album overall (not counting a slew of live releases), but it set in motion a new phase of the long-running instrumental band’s progression that continues to evolve over a decade later while also casting out a massive influence over underground heavy rock. At this point, there are atmospheric-minded groups the world over drawing from what Earth accomplished in tracks like “Raiford (The Felon Wind)” who don’t even know they’re doing it. Itself working heavily off of Neil Young‘s Dead Man soundtrack, it’s become part of the pastiche of darker post-rock, heavy Americana and, of course, drone, which is the tag with which Earth are most often saddled, rightly or not.

But HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method has more to offer than a blueprint other bands have (understandably) followed. From the opening role of “Mirage” through the minimalist melancholia of “Tethered to the Polestar,” it is Earth proffering a style of immersion that is entirely their own, capturing something evocative and wistful without words or cliche, without losing themselves in indulgence or letting go of the ambience of the work as a whole. It’s not an easy record to keep up with by any means — sometimes it can feel so still it’s like you’re looking at tiny ripples on a lake, or, perhaps more fitting to the mood, a breeze blowing across the top of overgrown grass — but the subtlety with which Earth, which at the time was comprised solely of founding guitarist Dylan Carlson and drummer Adrienne Davies, enact the broad, sweeping scope of tracks like “The Dire and Ever Circling Wolves” and the downward sloping “An Inquest Concerning Teeth” only enhances the effect of those songs and the rest of those around them. It is a landmark both for the band and for a swath of genres.

As noted, Earth have hardly kept still since. In addition to touring heavily, sundry splits and live albums and revisits of older works, they would go on to issue The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (discussed here), which brought rich color into a changing soundscape, and the 2011/2012 pair Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (review here) and Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II (review here), which would introduce some of the British folk elements to Earth‘s sound that they’d continue to explore on 2014’s lush Primitive and Deadly (review here) and which would become crucial as well to Carlson‘s solo work under the moniker Drcarlsonalbion, most recently the full-length Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion, which he released last month following a successful crowdfunding campaign for the physical pressing.

I hope you enjoy.

Next week, look out for streams from Los Disidentes del Sucio MotelNathanael LarochetteSwamp Witch and probably more. Still also want to get High Fighter and Colour Haze reviews going as well, and I’ve got an interview with Laura Dolan from Electric Citizen to get posted as well as an Obelisk Questionnaire from David Rodgers of Godhunter and the Southwest Terror Fest in the can, so one way or another it’ll be a full week. Also news and videos and all the rest of that good stuff.

I said as much yesterday on Thee Facebooks, but thank you for your continued support of this site. It’s been a crazy month or so with starting the new job and everything surrounding that, but I cannot tell you how far this project goes toward keeping me sane and I deeply, deeply appreciate your ongoing interest, encouragement and involvement in it. Thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Mos Generator, Abyssinia: A Return from Everywhere (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mos generator abyssinia

[Stream ‘Catspaw’ from Mos Generator’s Abyssinia by clicking play above. Album is out July 15 in Europe and Aug. 5 in North America on Listenable Records.]

Nothing is 100 percent certain in life, but it’s a far safer bet that, when dealing with Mos Generator, you’re going to get straightforward, immaculately written heavy rock and roll, and that’s just what the Port Orchard, Washington, trio deliver on their third full-length since their 2012 resurgence (sixth overall, second for Listenable Records), Abyssinia. Now a seasoned road act after spending years functioning part-time, the band follows-up 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty with 10 songs that sound as assured in their execution as in their construction, bringing stage-hewn chemistry between guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist/engineer/auteur Tony Reed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jon Garrett to a studio setting in a fashion that, as ever, is driven by a clarity of sound and purpose but maintains a heavy, classic presence beneath.

Duality is nothing new for Mos Generator — of whom I’ll say both that I’m a fan and that I consider Reed a friend — as Electric Mountain Majesty showed in its moments of underlying depressiveness and dissatisfaction. Abyssinia, with a title that’s reportedly playing off the Washington-state accent’s version of “I’ll be seein’ ya” but nonetheless uses the word “abyss” to make that play, has its moments of melancholy as well, whether it’s the slower roll of “As Above so Below,” “Wicked Willow” before it or the closing duo of “Time and Other Thieves” and “Outlander,” but that brooding is offset by a thrust greater even than the band showed on 2012’s Nomads (review here), songs like “Catspaw” and its side B counterpart “Red Canyons” pushing into what would be manic territory were Reed and company still not able to keep such a handle on the material.

Add to that last grouping the blown-out “There’s No Return from Nowhere” and the Captain Beyond-style shuffle over which “Time and Other Thieves” contemplates mortality and the double-edge of Mos Generator becomes even more apparent. In that, it’s a fitting answer to Electric Mountain Majesty, but the tracks as individual pieces are stronger, and it’s almost too easy to attribute that to the fact that the band has spent the better part of the last two years on tour — but they have — and so are able to deliver a song like “Easy Evil” with a defined purpose and an energy that rings true throughout the record, starting with opener “Strangest Times,” which launches immediately — no time for intros — into its first verse and seems to be the road song that Reed has been dying to write all these years, the line, “I’m just a slave to the strangest times that I’ve ever known,” belted out before each of the two solos.

Garrett starts “You’ve Got a Right,” which is a roller with a multi-layered vocal hook that presages some of the harmonies to come later on and flows easily into the tempo kick of “Catspaw.” Some classic metal riffing in the verse is offset by melodic flourish in the guitar — one of Mos Generator‘s greatest strengths has become attention to detail — and a slowdown release in the chorus, but the prevailing impression left behind is still the gallop, which makes it that much more of a jump when the relative lumber of “Easy Evil” begins, its nod maintained for the duration of its five-minute run, an airy break, solo and hard-funk fuzz highlight riffing leading the way out with an irresistible groove only to have “Wicked Willow” pick up with a more mid-paced feel that showcases the range in Reed‘s vocals as he follows the guitar line on one last unpretentious bounce to close out the first half of the tracklisting.

mos generator

I’m not sure if that’s where the vinyl split is or not, but either way, “As Above so Below” works quickly in its first couple minutes to set a different, more progressive vibe, and much of what follows builds on that. Yes, it still rocks — Reed tears into a solo and soulful chorus as Garrett and Booth lock in another righteous nod — but a quiet break in the first half establishes a tone that Abyssinia takes as a central element in its back half. Of course, Mos Generator need to get through “Red Canyons” first. The most vigilant push on the record is well placed to continue the momentum from earlier into the final three tracks, which are richer in their arrangements and of course more patient — catchy “Red Canyons” is, patience it has little time for — but less about physical motion. A simple verse/chorus interchange becomes one of Abyssinia‘s standout hooks, and the effect is clear going into “There’s No Return from Nowhere,” which is the most weighted-feeling of the cuts here, though it introduces its central riff acoustically before its full stomp kicks in.

Crashing and shouting and a wash of noise cut out suddenly to harmonies and softly-strummed guitar, keys and classically progressive boogie — a return of the acoustic alongside the synth — arriving as a surprise but somehow still working. The heavier riffs continue to lurk, however, and they do come back to finish out as Reed delivers the title line, ending cold so that “Time and Other Thieves” can start its already-noted shuffle, its movement marked by double-time hi-hat, frenetic choppy guitars and Booth‘s bass holding it all together in classic power trio form. A turn begins with the subtle arrival of organ at the halfway point, but Reed takes a guitar solo before they shift back into the main riff and then on to a closing section of key-led space-prog, Garrett holding onto some of the track’s initial energy but clearly heading someplace else with it.

That’s a sudden change, even with the keys having appeared earlier on the album, but in addition to being somewhat satisfying to hear Mos Generator bust through the confines of even their own songwriting rules, it makes sense in light of the six-minute closer and longest track “Outlander,” which boasts Mellotron layers and a subdued groove initially before Reed begins his gloriously harmonized and intricately arranged vocals. Before they even get to the chorus, “Outlander” is sure enough foreign in its sound from everything else on Abyssinia — one might liken its intent more toward Reed‘s shortlived HeavyPink project — but its progression serves as the payoff for the album as a whole, moving in the chorus to a transfigured “I Want You/She’s so Heavy”-style riff that seems to answer everything the three-piece have done up to that point, be it heavy, melancholic or progressive.

They ride that to the song’s end, and rightly so, and cap Abyssinia on a striking and adventurous note, showing that while Reed has helmed the band for more than 15 years, there’s still growth underway in its scope and stylistic breadth. Mos Generator, as an outlet for his restless, relentless creative spirit, have never sounded more in command of their approach than they do on Abyssinia, and as they’ve embarked on a tour-as-much-as-possible ethic, that seems only to have brought more life into their already accomplished craft. Abyssinia stands among 2016’s finest heavy rock albums, easily.

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

HeavyHead webstore

Mos Generator at Listenable Records

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

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