Friday, October 11, 2013

Mos Generator - In Concert - And It Was Good....

Mos Generator follows up their excellent 2013 studio release, Nomads, with the perfect next step, a smoking live set - it's most appropriately titled, in keeping with their love of their musical heritage, In Concert.

Tony Reed has been a favorite artist of mine since I came across a track from another one of his projects, Stone Axe, on a compilation disc presented by Classic Rock Magazine back in 2009. Reed is often touted as an obsessive encyclopedia of all things seventies, and while that's true, his hands can also be heard playing guitar, singing, writing, and producing some of todays heaviest hitters (Saint Vitus, Blood Of The Sun). After a lengthy hiatus, he reconvened his Mos Generator brothers, bassist Scooter Haslip and drummer Shawn Johnson, and the band has been blessing audiences with their heavy, but melodic musings - someone somewhere just called them them amalgamation of Dio and Ozzy Sabbaths, and I think if you toss in some Free and a bit of psychedelics, you're just about there. A blissful stew of rock.

In Concert is a limited edition LP on vinyl with only a limited number of copies pressed, so order them today - recorded at Rockfabrik in Nuremberg, Germany on March 25, 2013, it's a blinder of a set, and bound to be a collectible all too soon. If you dig heavy, melodic rock, don't miss it.

Reed rings in the set with some tasty, full stack, Gibson drenched soloing before he announces, "We're the Mos Generator," tosses off a moment of feedback, then it's off to the riff races with set opener, Lumbo Rock, off the band's 2007 release, Songs For Future Gods - Mos Generator often sounds like a three headed beast - the cohesion and balance between the three members is that of an amazingly well-oiled machine. By the end of this tune you will be a convert, if you're not already.

Next, it's onto a track from Nomads, Cosmic Ark, and it's a thicker, heavier beast of a riff that evokes everything you love about early Sabbath, but also manages to sound very today. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Nomads was the record the Sabs should have made last year, but didn't. Whether he's belting out a vocal, or tossing off a solo that is both compelling and technically very cool, he's got rockstar plastered all over him - his unison bends that close out this tune remind me of why I picked up a guitar in 1974, and also makes me want to pick one up and play today. And they're just getting warmed up.

Lonely One Kenobi might have been the mightiest riff of 2012, and it might be even mightier in a live setting - when Reed and band swagger through the verses, then stutter step back into the changes, I'm in heaven. I unabashedly love this band, and this song is why - half way through they back it down into an instrumental interlude that stands proudly beside anything that they knelt before as neophytes. They listened, they learned, then they took the ball and ran with it. I talk about Reed, but don't think for a minute that his band mates aren't just as mighty.

More feedback, and then a riff that throws a little bit of Southern Rock in with the metal, and again, it's off to the rock races. Silver Olympus is another off of Future Gods, and it gets heavier by the minute, until Reed takes of on a skittering, sliding piece of guitar wizardry that leads into a blistering bass note solo that may take some paint off your wall, and some plaster off the ceiling. I love that Reed's soloing is not of the shredfest breed, but rather it's steeped in Iommi, Kossoff, and maybe even some Blackmore just for seasoning. He asks at the end of the track, "You like that heavy metal, don't you?" Yes, we do.

It's back to 2005 and the band's The Late Great Planet Earth album for On The Eve -  a heavy basher that rumbles with a furious low end that Reed uses to frame his midrange-y heavy riffing, and melodic vocal. There's a great moving riff under his vocal verses, and you wonder how he pulls it all off. The power of the power trio has never been more wonderfully displayed. The band slows it down for a section that wouldn't sound out of place on a long lost Bad Company album, then it's back to the floor with the pedal for a heavy round up with another blistering set of string stretching, as the rhythm section  prods and pushes the guitarist at every turn.

You've gotta have balls to call your instrumental Godhand Iommi, and Reed has 'em, uses 'em, and pulls it off both respectfully and by never dipping into being a copyest, though I think you'll dig his Whole Lotta Love quote near the end. This is a masterclass in heavy metal guitar - everything that's good and eschewing the bad. Well played, sir.

This Is The Gift Of Nature rounds out the set, and it's a great set ender, with it's moody intro that features a nicely moving rhythm figure that's underpinned perfectly by Scooter Haslip's bass - Johnson joins in, and it a stone cold groove that just gets heavier and heavier. Mos Generator wins by not just being heavy, not just being melodic, not just being literarily inspired, but by combining all of these facets into a very hard rock. "God bless this gift of nature," says the song - I say, God bless Mos Generator. Buy this disc before you miss out on it - it is a heavy metal classic.

The album is available here:

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