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Mos Generator - Abyssinia album review

US stoner rockers get focused.

Mos Generator Abyssinia album cover

There have been changes in the line-up of Washington state doom-stoners Mos Generator since 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty, with singer/guitarist/keyboard player Tony Reed now joined by bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jon Garrett.

This seems to have resulted in a sound which is less stoner but still capable of moments of high doom as Reed ups his game to hone the monolithic sound his bands have been carving out since 2000 into a more concise, accessible metal direction. It recalls early Sabbath on As Above So Below and the monolithic Easy Evil, and 60s San Francisco psychedelic rock aboard the scabrous road boogie of Red Canyons and savage Catspaw.

The album’s last three tracks even wander into prog territory, which the new line-up take in their weighty stride when embroidering the acoustic intro and monastic drop of There’s No Return From Nowhere (although the sledgehammer riff which bursts in is as heavy as any in their voluminous catalogue). Astral-travelling epic Outlander even introduces electric piano and Mellotron, suggesting further intoxicating new flavours creeping into Mos Generator’s increasingly exotic bong.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!