There’s a virtue to artists who don’t try to reinvent the wheel with every new release, instead focusing on refining their core sound and musical ideas and themes. Mos Generator have spent the last eighteen years doing just that to great effect on numerous albums, EP’s and splits with like minded bands in the heavy rock/doom/stoner scene. Anchored by the thundering and immediately recognizable vocal and guitar performance of front man Tony Reed, the three piece, which includes the bass talents of Sean Booth and the drum skills of ex Turbid North drummer Jon Garrett, the trio play a brand of doom and stoner infused heavy rock similar to Clutch, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet in some places. Having been at this for nearly two decades, with even longer experience in other bands, the members of Mos Generator definitely know how to craft some heavy rock tunes. With their latest album, Shadowlands, due out May 18th on Listenable Records, the band adhere closely to the sound they’re known and loved for, choosing to refine their core musical elements and craft an appetizing, fun slab of heavy rock songs that should please any fan of the genre.
Shadowlands is Mos Generator playing to their strengths while avoiding most of the usual pitfalls of the genre. The production being the first and most immediately noticeable aspect of this. Instead of opting for the often fuzzy and sometimes flabby guitar and bass tones of their contemporaries in the genre, Mos Generator have opted for a punchy yet organic production job that sounds true to the music and genre while still having enough impact to make the guitars feel heavy and aggressively punchy, but not to the point of drowning out the drums and bass. Every instrument has it’s own space in the mix and it’s nice to hear a band who can straddle the fine line between modern and classic tones, and the songs definitely benefit.
The songs themselves aren’t particularly revolutionary as far as doom/stoner infused heavy rock goes, but they’re also by no means bad. The vast majority of tracks on Shadowlands are great, with a couple being somewhat weaker than the rest. Even so, the album never feels like it’s dragging or wearing out its welcome, the songs being brisk enough, and with enough interesting arrangements, to stave off listener fatigue, without feeling like they’re too short.
If you’re a fan of this band or genre, you have a pretty good idea what you’re in for, in spite of a few surprises here and there, and Mos Generator know too, as Shadowlands feels like an album made for fans. It doesn’t break much new ground, but, as previously stated, it doesn’t necessarily have too, especially when the music is this fun. If you’re not a fan of this genre, which is, of course, understandable, this album may not necessarily be the album to convert you, but there’s enough interesting elements and pure fun packed into this album that it should appeal to anyone with at least a passing interest in the genre. Shadowlands is an excellent representation of the genre to which it belongs, and should easily find its way into any fans playlist upon its release.
Shadowlands drops May 11th through Listenable Records, and is available for pre-order here.