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MOTORPSYCHO AND STÅLE STORLØKKEN: THE DEATH DEFYING UNICORN

Motorpsycho

Eclectic Prog


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Motorpsycho Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn album cover
4.20 | 343 ratings | 15 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1: (41:21)
1. Out of the Woods (2:41)
2. The Hollow Lands (7:37)
3. Through the Veil (16:01)
4. Doldrums (3:07)
5. Into the Gyre (10:22)
6. Flotsam (1:33)

CD2: (42:28)
1. Oh Proteus - A Prayer (7:35)
2. Sculls in Limbo (2:21)
3. La Lethe (7:53)
4. Oh Proteus - A Lament (1:05)
5. Sharks (7:56)
6. Mutiny! (8:33)
7. Into the Mystic (7:05)

Total Time: 83:49

Lyrics

Search MOTORPSYCHO Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search MOTORPSYCHO Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Bent Sæther / vocals, bass
- Hans Magnus Ryan / vocals, guitars
- Kenneth Kapstad / drums
- Ståle Storløkken / keyboards

Featuring:
- Ola Kvernberg / violin
- Kåre Chr. Vestrheim / Mellotron, various sonic mayhem, gongs and other canned goods of the Viennese persuasion

With:
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra:
- Kjetil Traavik Møster / clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones
- Hanna Paulsberg / tenor saxophone
- Klaus Ellerhusen Holm / alto saxophone
- Andre Roligheten / tenor saxophone and bass clarinet
- Mathias Eick / trumpet
- Eivind Nordseth Lønning / trumpet
- Mats Äleklint / trombone
- Kristoffer Kompen / trombone

Trondheimssolistene:
- Daniel Turcina / violin
- Åse Våg Aaknes / violin
- Sigrid Stang / violin
- Stina Andresson / violin
- Frøydis Tøsse / viola
- Lars Marius Hølås / viola
- Marianne Lie / cello
- Tabita Berglund / cello

Releases information

2LP Rune Grammofon RLP3124 (2012 Norway)
2CD Rune Grammofon RCD2124 (2012 Norway)
2LP Stickman Records PSYCHOBABBLE 073 (2012 Germany)
2CD Stickman Records PSYCHOBABBLE 073 (2012 Germany)

Thanks to Starhammer for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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MOTORPSYCHO Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn ratings distribution


4.20
(343 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
36%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

MOTORPSYCHO Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Molde + Ståle = Masterpiece

When I see the term 'eclectic' applied to prog rock, names like Gentle Giant and Van der Graaf Generator instantly spring to mind. According to the Prog Archives guidelines, these bands present "hybrids of style and diversity of theme, promoting many elements from different sources." These variations in approach usually occur over the course of an album, but can also be found within individual composition. However, the eclectic category also "recognizes bands that evolved markedly over their career (in a progressive, evolutionary way), or have a plural style without a clear referential core."

Motorpsycho are certainly a band which falls under the latter definition. From their grungy beginnings in 1991 they have charted the waters of indie, metal, psychedelia, folk, and space rock before winding up here, in 2012, with what can only be described as a symphonic jazz odyssey!

The Death Defying Unicorn was originally commissioned by the Molde International Jazz Festival as a single composition to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2010. Since then it has been re-arranged and refined, and this two disc, 13 track epic was born. It was written in collaboration with keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Elephant9), and features the ever-present Bent Sæther and Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan, with Kenneth Kapstad on drums, and contributions from Ola Kvernberg, Trondheimsolistene and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra.

Whilst Motorpsycho are renowned for their experimental jams, and are no strangers to jazz rock, this is certainly not the band's most accessible record and some listeners may find it hard it hard to digest. It's a concept album which charts the journey of a reluctant sailor and kicks off with the abrasive instrumental, Out of the Woods. From there the structure of the album seems to mirror itself, two user friendly tracks full of hard rocking moments at the beginning (The Hollow Lands and Through the Veil), and two to close (Mutiny! and Into the Mystic).

I have no doubt that these outstanding moments will please most Motorpsycho fans, it's what happens in-between which may cause the problem. Like most concept albums it is designed to be listened to from start to finish and considered as a whole, but the "lost at sea" midsection of The Death Defying Unicorn might present a bit of a lull for some listeners. However, I find this to be the most interesting part of the album, the minimalistic approach ebbs and flows, simultaneously curious and sombre.

It's quite hard to pinpoint the sound of this album, it certainly has Motorpsycho's character embedded throughout, but at other times it's more like The Mahavishnu Orchestra, or an even more experimental style of jazz which wouldn't sound out of place on an art house film score. Overall it is an ambitious, exceptional achievement and whilst it's impossible to compare Motorpsycho albums directly, this may well be their finest hour.

The Verdict: 'The Wall', 'Quadrophenia' and 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' now have some serious competition for the prestigious title of best "monochromaticdoubleconceptalbum".

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#762073) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 02, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars A masterpiece album of 2012.

Motorpsycho has become somewhat of a cult hit around the prog community of late hailed by many respective reviewers and collabs as album of the year so I had to indulge. Before I approached the album I had no idea what to expect, though I had heard one track on a Prog mag compilation sampler and loved that. So I put on the headphones one dark evening after midnight and let the music immerse my soul. I think I was lifted into another plane of existence as the music simply nailed me to the couch with its inexorable power. The opening hyperventilating saxophone kept lunging into spasms until finally an outbreak of dizzying orchestra blew the doors off any boundaries that may have been set in place for music convention. This is mind blowing stuff and is encased in a concept of a ship lost at sea and how the crew fight for survival against incredible odds. It moves eventually into an acoustic rhythm with beautiful flute responses and a song begins.

We have come Out of the Woods into The Hollow Lands. I am already in love with the hyper strangeness of odd rock and orchestra symphonic expulsions. I begin to realise why the album was hailed as one of the albums of 2012. It is purely progressive heaven. The way the band utilise bass and scratchy guitar on this song is incredible. This is the song I had heard on the sampler and I couldn't stop playing it. It is mesmirising. Then an awful thought hit me; that I would have to go into the album of the year thread and redo my top 10, yet again, and this will be an equal number one. This is amazing music and I don't know why it took me so long to get to it. The lyrics spell out the tale unfolding of a cabin boy as part of a ship's crew; 'It seems the order was clear, 'go see if anything's there', so our ship set sail found her course, and in a month a hundred souls slipped through the veil, to state our claim to the Hollow Lands'.

Next it is Through The Veil, a 16 minute epic that opens with scratching on a guitar or something. It is weird and delightfully avant garde. The sax reminds me of Jackson's odd chimes from 'Pawn Hearts'. It builds into a heavy fuzz guitar riff stinking of classic 70s rock and it is buried in avant sax outbursts that grind with vivacious delight. The pure invention and bold approach is captivating and never fails to impress. This is prog with the hinges hanging off the doors, not just out of the box, the box is blown clean open. It is quite unnerving in sections, with screaming violins, crescendos that blaze from nowhere and then are layered with beauty. I listened to this during a rather downbeat moment in my life and it spoke to my heart. This is so incredible, I feel even more moved emotionally than my first listen of the masterpieces of King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator. It changes time sig at 5:50 and motors along with staccato sax, and out of sync guitar that floods through and germinates into spasmodic fireballs of anger.

The lyrics unfold the amazing tale; 'Something fills the air, it's all around us, as striking as a bolt out of the blue, the impact's nearly rendered us unconscious, laid a mist upon the crew'. It feels aggressive and unfriendly but it is such a refreshing soundscape, the way prog should be, not the poor excuses of prog bands that commercialise everything they put their hand to. To heck with commercial, Motorpsycho are the real deal and are full on proglords. The vocals are like Hawkwind and the guitars are like Led Zeppelin or Budgie tuned down; it has a distinct 70s sound, that was captured by Opeth on 'Heritage'. At 11:50 the song takes a detour into pure sonic violence with a freakout psychedelic lead break over a cacophony of brass noise. Then it moves into a spacey reverberating voice effect akin to Camel or Led Zeppelin's most psychedelic vocal work. The way the sax riff locks in and allows the other musicians to commit jazzerside over the scape is an astonishing achievement; this is the beauty of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Trondheimssolistene. I love how this music is not designed for the squeamish, and how it would cause the average music listener to switch off; this is prog dammit!

Doldrums is next, much shorter at 3:07, but no less inventive, glistening with off kilter brass and downright chilling musical figures, like an orchestra in its most rebellious state of mind. At this stage I had to look at who was playing this zany music; we have Bent S'ther on vocals, bass, Hans Magnus Ryan on vocals, guitars, Kenneth Kapstad on drums, and Staale Storl'kken on keyboards. They are an incredible unit and are getting some well deserved attention with this astounding album. The Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Trondheimssolistene are a real drawcard to this album though as they provide intense musicscapes that really augment the rock sections.

Into The Gyre is replete with beautiful violins in the opening that move into a floating flute passage. The heavenly sounds threaten to break out and yet it merges into an airy vocal instead. The music is mischievous playing with time sigs and tempo changes. I can depict a semblance of a concept more clearly that revolves around the sailors on a voyage to somewhere, who hit a snag as the ship is plummeted down.; 'Down into this sailor's tale, damned before the storm, and into the gyre we'll go, I think I feel the Maelstrom's tug, on our ship, my mind and my soul'. It builds with cymbal splashes and plucking guitar Frippisms that may represent waves crashing against the ship as it heads to a destination lashing through torrential storms. It builds ascending higher in pitch and the intensity grows until the crescendo and the fuzz guitar takes dominance with a fret melting lead break, and some dissonant violins scream violently. This is an unbelievable virtuoso performance from all concerned. It is as good as the Van der Graaf Generator outbreaks of the 70s. Then it stops and a lone guitar monotone figure is heard and some tearful alienated violin scrapes. An organ shimmers and throbs with an unnerving drone, and it has a chilling dark resonance. The image of a ship moving slowly through the fog springs into the conscious. At 2 am in the morning this is a creepy soundscape for this reviewer but I cannot stop listening intensely.

Flotsam is a short (1:33) transition style track that has a hollow minimalist violin sound that enhances the feelings of loneliness out on the water lost at sea. The raw sound is so moving, we can even hear the strings being scraped and the bow lifting off, all is mixed to the front for great effect. Then it segues into Oh Proteus - A Prayer, that features more violins with melancholy power. The voice that sings is harmonised; 'our ship is sunk in the deep forever.' It is very sad in mood and a measured performance over the mournful symphonic strings.

'We are lost in the fog directionless,' Bent S'ther sings, and then a majestic organ and violin passage builds with a powerful crescendo. Then a very deep guitar riff joins on an odd time sig as we hear of 'the desert of torment' and the words state the tale has taken a turn for the worst as the crew bravely fight for survival now their ship is lost. 'an ocean of thirst and madness, Oh, we must row ' put your weight on the oars, oh, we must pull as if everything depended on it, Let us sing a song while we bend to the task, let us set the course by the stars, and let us row and save our lives.' Again my thoughts are drawn to VDGG's 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers', not only the lyrics but especially the atmosphere and creepy effects made by odd musical figures.

Sculls In Limbo is an atmospheric piece with very eerie music that has a haunting resonance. La Lethe is more upbeat with a dynamic jazz fusion feel like Mahavishnu Orchestra on slow motion. It mirrors the feeling of rowing on an endless ocean, and has that ray of hope the sailors would also have at this point as food runs dry and the sea becomes a beast ready to swallow them whole. This is a powerful instrumental that has many emotional textures, it is sombre, bleak and yet strangely compelling music.

Oh Proteus - A Lament is another short piece (1:05), with doom laden lyrics; 'Something here is wrong, Still hunger is gnawing, and I feel my mind is going slowly.' Sharks (7:56) is an appropriate title as we realise the sailors are going to be eaten alive by the ferocious killers of the sea. This track moves in many directions like sharks circling as the protagonists face certain doom in the terrifying maw of the sharks. The lyrics state it clearly; 'Nothing moves but the fins of the sharks that swim, So endlessly, dark shadows that roam the deep, stalk our wake and haunt our sleep so ghastly white.' So the occupants await their turn to die, but the protagonist does not want to go quietly in the night without a fight; 'We ventured to find the hollow earth but all that we found were the hollows on our souls screaming for subsistence, gnawing, devouring, to give my life to give them their lives? Such preposterous hypocrisy I cannot abide, oh no I will not go quietly.' The lyrics are staggering in their poetic beauty and are perfectly matched by the glorious progressive jazz symphony.

Mutiny! Is a fast paced track, quite jarring after all the gentle ambience. In fact it blazes with heavy guitars chugging and brass stings. It moves into dissonant competing guitars and reverberating keyboards. It is a raucous sound emulating the trauma of the protagonists who fight for control on the boat. The lyrics speak of the mutiny 'Damn you sir, and damn your etiquette! The blood red moon has set and you're not here for long, I'm no gent, but don't take me for a fool, I serve no master and I won't obey your rules! You're a thief and taker! You're a cheat and faker!'

The noisy avant jazz settles into violins and segues to Into The Mystic. This last track wraps up the concept beautifully, opening with 70s style guitar riffs and a wonderful pulsating bassline. The violins are everpresent howling over the guitars and pounding drums. It is an accomplishment the way the musicians are able to capture so much raw emotion with the blend of rock and jazz. The protagonist tells the last part of the tale; 'It was a hopeless try, but I couldn't just lay down and die.' He has survived after 'staring death in the face' but he is now left with painful memories as 'deep into the mystic I gazed.' The music feels like a finale, the violins and flute compete nicely with a Fripp like guitar riff and there are some lovely sweeping symphonic textures. The keyboards join in and there is a wall of sound drawing the album to a close.

I can only include with the inevitable after being treated to a mesmerising musical explosion like this. The album is an undisputable masterpiece of prog and one of the must listen to albums of 2012.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#897477) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars In their endless pursuit to keep trying new things and taking on impossible challenges, Motorpsycho reinvented themselves for the umpteenth time. They teamed up with Stale Storlokken's jazz orchestra to deliver nothing less then an 80 minute double CD filled with catchy alt rock, psychedellica, stoner rock, prog, jazz and a film score to match. Yihaa!

A first thing to note is how well the orchestra blends in. The words 'orchestra' and 'rock album' in one and the same sentence usually send shivers down my spine, not here. The approach is quite unique with orchestral parts that somehow cross over between Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf' and a steaming jazz-brass band (think Jagga Jazzist for instance). The orchestral score mixes perfectly with Motorpsycho's stoner prog. The result is dense, over the top, bombastic and completely out there, but man this orchestra rocks!

The album relies less on Motorpsycho's trademark Sabbath-y riffs. They are still there, but take second place behind the rich orchestral texture and spacey effects. 'The Hollow Lands' is a brilliant example. Some subtle flutes and acoustic guitars add to the Prog feel of the album, which is without doubt their proggiest effort so far. If that point needed further proof then the 16 minute 'Through the Veil' amply delivers as it jams out into a barely contained chaos. 'Doldrums' - 'Into the Gyre' offer some welcome calm after the 25 minute opening storm and conclude an excellent first disk.

On CD2, the calm continues for a while till 'Proteus' catches a groove around minute 4. At this point I would expect the album to look for some kind of closure but it simply keeps going, and not in the right direction as far as I'm concerned. 'Sculls in Limbo' is a fine 2 minute orchestral interlude but this far into the album it simply lulls me in limbo. The slow pace of instrumental 'La Lethe' can't wake me up neither. If anything, these tracks fulfill a self-prophecy, making me feel very close to meeting the eternal sleep indeed. 'Mutiny' is our wake-up call and delivers what Motorpsycho excel at: rock. 'Into the Mystic' reprises the riffs and melodies of the opening track. Nice but not really needed after 80 minutes. We got the idea already.

Adding an orchestra into the rock mold and not ending up being cheesy is worth an award by itself. On top the album boasts quite a number of stellar tracks. But the total listening experience suffers from lengthiness and is a letdown. For me this album takes quite some weeding in it's 3rd quarter ('Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' syndrome?). Great work but I'd rate this one quite below my favorites 'Trust Us', 'In The Fishtank' or 'Heavy Metal Fruit'. Just a bit less would have been a whole lot more. 3.5+

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#897813) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After being disappointed with their previous album "Heavy Metal Fruit" I really had no intention of getting this. Enter Todd who sent me an audio clip and I was sold. Now i'm not a big fan of double albums or concept albums but this double concept recording is incredible. Just to be clear there are always exceptions to the norm as I do have some amazing double albums and concept records, and i'd certainly include this with those. The story here is about a young man who gets caught poaching and his punishment is to be sent off in a ship which turns out to be worse than death. Lots of orchestration in this one too and i'm not usually into that but again they make it work perfectly. Easy to see why this made the Collaborator's top five for 2012. This is a very cinematic recording that really does take you on a journey. The TRONDHEIM JAZZ ORCHESTRA is fantastic and I like the heavy sections as well. Also there is a seventies vibe with those flute / mellotron-like sounds.

Disc one starts off with "Out Of The Woods" which is just over 2 1/2 minutes of experimentation as the horns and other sounds come and go. It's very orchestral later on here in this intro track. Guitar late as it blends into "The Hollow Lands" and drums also join in in this intense piece. It settles after 2 minutes and we get vocals for the first time. There's those mellotron flute-like sounds. It builds with growly bass and pounding drums as the vocals become more passionate. Man this is so good. Excellent instrumental section after 3 1/2 minutes too. Check out the raw guitar here. Vocals are back around 6 minutes. This has to be a top three track. "Through The Veil" opens with strange sounds like percussion really and some horns honking. This is the 16 minute epic of the first disc. It kicks in just before 2 minutes. Hell yeah it does ! Vocals follow and they sound great. We get an instrumental section before 4 minutes with horns, violin, drums and more. Vocals are back a minute later. A change before 6 minutes and this is catchy and instrumental. A calm before 9 minutes but it doesn't last long. Vocals and that ealier sound return 10 1/2 minutes in. A calm 2 minutes later with some interesting vocals. It kicks in again a minute later before settling back again with some cool guitar expressions. "Doldrums" begins with orchestration that is laid back but not for long. This sounds really good like a soundtrack for a movie. "Into The Gyre" opens with strings. The vocals a minute in are reserved. It starts to build 4 minutes in until they are kicking it hard. The guitar is on fire before 6 1/2 minutes ! This insanity lasts for a minute then we get a calm. Organ joins in late followed by some haunting atmosphere. "Flotsam" is the 1 1/2 minute conclusion to disc one and it's a melancholic, helpless sounding way to end it.

Disc two starts with "Oh, Proteus-A Prayer". More melancholy as the vocals come in singing "All is broken...our ship has sunk in the deep forever". This is sad with violins. It then sounds like a horror movie before 3 minutes as the vocals stop briefly. They return with more passion including louder orchestration. "Skulls In Limbo" is a short piece that is haunting throughout. It blends into "La Lethe". It starts to build some until it becomes powerful before 2 minutes and continues throughout. "Oh, Proteus-A Lament" is only a minute long and it's where the vocals return with lots of orchestration. "Sharks" has these fragile vocals as he describes the futility of his situation. Death is near. Some bombast before 6 minutes to the end. "Mutiny !" hits the ground running with the vocals and drums standing out but there is a full sound here. Man this is such a great track. A calm before 8 minutes to the end. "Into The Mystic" ends the album in style. A nice heavy intro as the guitar cries out. So good ! The violin is slicing it up. Vocals join in before 2 1/2 minutes. Love when it calms down with mellotron-like flute 3 1/2 minutes in. It picks back up with vocals. The last three minutes are instrumental.A top three track.

I am just so impressed with this recording. This is what Prog is all about and these guys have nailed it with "The Death Defying Unicorn". In my top five for 2012.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#906458) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 04, 2013

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 7/10

Perfectly Structured Delirium.

"The Death Defying Unicorn" is a collaborative studio album between Norwegian Alternative Rock/Progressive Rock band Motorpsycho and Staale Storlokken, a known Jazz composer also from Norway, accompanied by the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. It is Motorpsycho's fifteenth album, and their first collaboration with Storlokken. The final concept and idea they were able to craft is very original; Once again, the band turns towards a different direction from their previous works (it is a blueprint of theirs in fact to be shifting sound continuously, despite always holding the same roots firmly) in a positive and exciting way.

There is a lot of Motorpsycho here for sure: the same exuberance is felt, especially in the vocals, and the songwriting is still somewhat Alternative Rock oriented. However, the arrangements the music surrounds itself in are much more similar to Jazz and Progressive Rock, because of the overwhelming amount of horns and strings that seem to be the predominant characteristic of the entire album. There are still the electric guitar bursts and acoustic verses, but when they happen they don't feel as strong or peculiar as the orchestral instrumentation.

With this in mind, the band decided to go with mainly two kind of songs: the fast-paced, delirious ones, that often are longer and include an improvisation/Jam section, while the calmer songs are carefully executed and orchestrated. These two kind of songs are really the only material this album has going for, but it's feels like a self-sufficient formula anyway, despite the length of the album ( one hour and twenty minutes, divided up in thirteen tracks), which should suggest a bit more variety in terms of mood. But letting the album flow as it is, It's admirable how only two types of songs intertwine with each other so elegantly, and shift moods with such a carefully studied pace. The emotional ups and downs of the album being so spread out throughout the 80 minutes of its length is almost promoting the feeling that the listener may gladly loose himself in the midst of it, without losing too much. It's more about the entire work, basically, than the individual songs, which gives "The Death Defying Unicorn" the feeling that it's kind of like concept album, like a bizarre opera.

Although there could have been not only a little more variety in the instrumentation, but also in the songwriting (a lot of the songs sound pretty similar to one another), Motorpsycho's release is another triumph of their vast discography, and a decent follow-up to the great album that was "Heavy Metal Fruit". Motorpsycho is a band that ever since the nineties has done music, and has never been afraid to experiment with new things, and it seems they haven't lost this habit of theirs. Hopefully, material will be coming out of the studio consistently after this.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#916456) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#947301) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 21, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars I have to admit that there is very little I like about this album; I don't get the album art .. the band name smacks of an imitation and the album title comes across as OTT pretentious. I don't even like the predominant musical style, but I still recommend this album as an absolute 5-star, s ... (read more)

Report this review (#943251) | Posted by Argonaught | Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favorite album of 2012. The instrumentation is really impressive and Kenneth Kapstad has grown to be one of my favorite drummers of the newer generation. The concept is quite silly but also intriguing, and the music reflects the lyrics really well. My favorite songs are (in chronological orde ... (read more)

Report this review (#910968) | Posted by Vellevold | Thursday, February 07, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10 I believe the sound offered by Motorpsycho this album is unlike anything you may have already appeared on earth, at least that's ever reached my ears. How to sort this epic album? Jazz-fusion? Hard-rock/stoner rock? Psychedelic Rock? Orchestral music? Avant- garde? Or was it all togeth ... (read more)

Report this review (#910822) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, February 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Death Defying Unicorn reminds me somehow of THE WHO's Quadrophenia but, musically, it reminds me most of MAUDLIN OF THE WELL's 2001 Bath/Leaving Your Body Map release(s). There is about an equal mix of delicate, often orchestral (jazz and string) parts that use vocals and/or acoustic (orch ... (read more)

Report this review (#878112) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn (2012) The work of Norwegian band Motorpsycho is really interesting and unique. Although their sound is derived from Grunge style, they don't hesitate to mix a bit of Jazz, a pinch of Classical music, a little bit of Psychedelia, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#863924) | Posted by Gandalfino | Tuesday, November 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best album of 2012 - quite possibly... A weird, wild and wonderful ride. Motorpsycho, with help, have created a unique offering that stacks up well against the notable and honored concept albums of the past and extends the sound palette we normally associate with progressive rock. I think of ... (read more)

Report this review (#770152) | Posted by tboyd1802 | Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the astonishing 2010's "Heavy Metal Fruit", Motorpsycho managed to make one more step forward with this courageous creation. This is a record that makes their early days works sound like music from a different band. This is an adventurous concept album based on epic sea voyage legends, s ... (read more)

Report this review (#750344) | Posted by Astryos | Monday, May 07, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Motorpsycho is a Norwegian band that was a big unknown for me. I know it is only thanks to their then-new album "Heavy Metal Fruit" (2010) and only by looking at this masterpiece, I gradually began to search for their other albums. Their relatively large production however suffers from a signi ... (read more)

Report this review (#720509) | Posted by Gandalff | Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Noone expects something unique from a band's 15th album. Unless we 're referring to Motorpsycho, this musically inventive band from Norway. "The Death Defying Unicorn" features the band's collaboration with Trodheim Jazz Orchestra and the result can be adequately described as "unexpectedly sup ... (read more)

Report this review (#647362) | Posted by DeKay | Tuesday, March 06, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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