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Motorpsycho - Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.16 | 458 ratings

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4 stars "The Death Defying Unicorn" is the 14th full-length studio album by Norwegian rock act Motorpsycho. The album was released through Stickman Records/Rune Grammofon in February 2012. It´s a collaborative release between Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken. The latter plays keyboards on the album and has arranged the tracks along with the group. He is also responsible for arranging the parts of the album played by Trondheimsolistene and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. "The Death Defying Unicorn" was released on double CD and double 12" vinyl.

The music on the album is quite the eclectic mix of psychadelic, stoner/hard and progressive rock spiced up with some avant garde type jazz/chamber orchestra moments (and some more symphonic ones too). At times the avant garde element reminds me of The Mothers of Invention. There is also a cinematic/theatrical element to the music, which is probably due to this being a concept album, and to build a dramatic atmosphere to go along with the lyrics (which are a fairytale at sea of sorts), the band have opted to include that element too. The band themselves are as always well playing and their jamming type rock, which owes a big depth to both 60s psychadelic rock and 70s hard rock, and on this particular album also to 70s progressive rock (vintage keyboards and flutes are some of the elements), works like a charm. A heavy bass, fuzzy guitars and (mostly) laid back mellow vocals are the foundation of the music. All the other elements are layered on top of that. Sometimes, like in some parts of the 16:01 minutes long "Through The Veil", in a multi-layered chaotic fashion.

A track like "Into the Gyre", with it´s mellow first couple of minutes and heavier and busier last couple of minutes, is an obvious highlight to my ears, but there are brilliant moments popping up throughout the album. Tracks like "The Hollow Lands", the above mentioned "Through The Veil", the energetic "Mutiny!" and the closing "Into the Mystic" are standout tracks too. I could have done without some of the most ambient and slow building tracks, but that´s probably an aquired taste.

The sound production is warm, organic and detailed, suiting the music perfectly. Overall "The Death Defying Unicorn" is a very adventurous album by Motorpsycho. It´s admirable how an act that have been around for about 25 years are still branching out and trying new things. This is by far their most progressive release yet and while there are several nods toward 70s prog and other vintage rock styles, this doesn´t sound like a clone of anything. Motorpsycho are unique. At 83:44 minutes, "The Death Defying Unicorn" is a pretty long album and if the band had left out some of the more atmosphere enhancing ambient tracks like "Doldrums", "Flotsam", "Sculls in Limbo" and "La Lethe" I feel the album would still have been a long but much stronger one disc album. In it´s current for there are though still enough quality material to warrant a 4 star (80%) rating.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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