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Mos Generator – The Lantern

Mos Generator
The Lantern
by Gary Hernandez at 02 March 2021, 2:35 PM

MOS GENERATOR is a consummate Stoner/Doom Metal band out of Port Orchard, Washington. They formed in late 2000, though the trio had long since been working with each other for years. Over the last 20 plus years, they’ve issued nine full-length albums, two live albums, and multiple splits and singles. On February 19, 2021 they released “The Lantern,” a five-track EP originally issued in May 2007 as “Tales from the Vault.” This current iteration is a re-imagining of those songs, re-mastered and mixed anew. Regardless of its new production, it still comes across as raw and essential as ever.

The EP kicks off with “Dyin’ Blues,” a slow-grooving tune accented with a slight Southern twang. The harmonies and bends are like a smooth bourbon on a cold night. Tony Reed’s vocals are clean and slightly raspy, rendering the simple lyrics urgent and poignant. “In the Upper Room” shifts to an even lower gear, though more bluesy than Doom — understandable as it’s a reworking of the gospel song “In the Upper Room with Jesus” written by Rev. E.L. Thompson circa 1905 and made famous by Mahalia Jackson in 1952. The MOS rendition, as you may expect, isn’t a full and faithful adaptation, but rather offers a unique take.

“The Lantern” and “Nightwolf” are close cousins to one another and come across as solid rock standards. The final track, “O’Cataa,” is probably the most distinct of all the tracks, with a 70’s prog vibe and reference to a place or state of mind or Portugal’s Centro de Apoio Tecnológico Agro-Alimentar, I just don’t know. Whatever it’s lyrical intent, it’s another slow-moving exploration of the space between blues and Doom, shifting from mellow to ominous to soaring.

The original versions of these songs were written and recorded post haste. In that, “Tales from the Vault” oozes a raw urgency . . . what it misses, of course, is a more calculated and refined touch. “The Lantern” fills that gap musically with the remastering as well as visually with newly selected artwork by Polish surrealist artist, Zdzislaw Beksinski (RIP 2005).

MOS GENERATOR has been around long enough that they don’t have anything left to prove.  You get the sense that at this point, and maybe all the points in between, they’re just into it to express their own musical compulsions . . . which is probably the definition of a true musician. With COVID keeping bands from hitting the studio and the stage in conventional ways, it has created the opportunity for artists to reapproach some earlier works and pose some “what if” questions. Some fans will prefer the earlier takes; others the newer; still others, both. Personally, I enjoy the syntax, the contrast and musical dissonance between the 2007 and 2021 recordings.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1.  Dyin' Blues
2.  In the Upper Room
3.  The Lantern
4.  Nightwolf
5.  O'Cataa
Tony Reed – Guitar, vocals, keyboards
Scooter Haslip – Bass
Shawn Johnson – Drums
Record Label: Argonauta Records


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