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MOTORPSYCHO

Eclectic Prog • Norway


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Motorpsycho biography
Founded in Trondheim, Norway, in 1989 - Still active as of 2019

MOTORPSYCHO was formed initially of Bent SÆTHER (bass), Hans Magnus "Snah" RYAN (guitars) and Kjell Runar "Killer" JENSSEN (drums). The demo EP "Maiden Voyage" from 1990 was their first release, followed by the full length production "Lobotomizer" in 1991. On these first two ventures their stylistic expression were heavily influenced by punk and grunge, the latter a style of music highly popular at the time.

Shortly after the release of their first album drummer JENSSEN left the band, and was replaced by Håkon GEBHARDT (drums, vocals, banjo). This second edition of the band would prove to be pretty stable, as this threesome would make up the core unit of the band for the next 14 years.

The first efforts of the new line-up were the single "3 Songs for Rut", followed by the EP "Soothe". Both of these productions were issued in limited editions in 1992, and was assembled and released as the compilation album "8 Soothings Songs for Rut" later the same year. While still pursuing a tyle of music most closely related to alternative metal on these efforts, influences from progressive rock started manifesting themselves at this point, first and foremost in the close to 10 minutes long effort "Lighthouse Girl".

And influences from progressive rock, psychedelic music and indie rock would all become steadily more prevalent in the musical exploits of MOTORPSYCHO in the coming years, a steadily evolving process that can be traced in a flurry of releases throughout the 90's. Many feel they emerged as a purebred progressive outfit already in 1993, when they released the double album "Demon Box". A single CD version of this effort was released as well, and the tracks omitted from this version due due time constraints was soon after made available on "Mountain EP".

One reason for the evolvement in stylistic expressions on this particular album was the addition of Helge STEN (keyboards, theremin) to their ranks. He would remain a permanent member of MOTORPSYCHO until 1995, and something of a cross between an associated member and frquently used guest musician and contributor for the following years. STEN might be more well know to music fans by his creative moniker DEATHPROD, and he has a score of releases to his own name exploring dark ambient, droning sonic landscapes.

In 1994 MOTORPSYCHO was signed by major label EMI Records for their Norwegian releases, while the ba...
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MOTORPSYCHO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MOTORPSYCHO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.01 | 43 ratings
Lobotomizer
1991
3.81 | 72 ratings
Demon Box
1993
3.84 | 97 ratings
Timothy's Monster
1994
3.04 | 27 ratings
The Tussler
1994
3.27 | 56 ratings
Blissard
1996
3.49 | 64 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play
1997
4.09 | 100 ratings
Trust Us
1998
3.91 | 76 ratings
Let Them Eat Cake
2000
4.03 | 121 ratings
Phanerothyme
2001
3.79 | 57 ratings
It's A Love Cult
2002
4.10 | 97 ratings
Motorpsycho & Jaga Jazzist Horns: In The Fishtank
2002
3.75 | 27 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society
2004
3.63 | 74 ratings
Black Hole / Blank Canvas
2006
3.87 | 111 ratings
Little Lucid Moments
2008
3.58 | 57 ratings
Child Of The Future
2009
3.82 | 226 ratings
Heavy Metal Fruit
2010
4.18 | 485 ratings
Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn
2012
3.93 | 193 ratings
Still Life With Eggplant
2013
4.00 | 332 ratings
Behind The Sun
2014
3.88 | 134 ratings
Here Be Monsters
2016
3.71 | 15 ratings
Begynnelser
2017
4.00 | 231 ratings
The Tower
2017
3.80 | 107 ratings
The Crucible
2019
4.00 | 119 ratings
The All Is One
2020

MOTORPSYCHO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 9 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 1 - Heavy Metall Iz A Poze, Hardt Rock Iz A Laifschteil - Live In Europe 1998
1999
4.00 | 5 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 2 - The MotorSourceMassacre - Motorpsycho, The Source & Deathprod Live At Kongsberg Jazzfestival 1995
2000
4.09 | 14 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 4 - Intrepid Skronk
2011
3.67 | 6 ratings
Strings Of Stroop - Live At Effenaar
2011
4.50 | 12 ratings
Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken: En Konsert For Folk Flest
2015
4.00 | 1 ratings
A Boxful Of Demons
2018
4.00 | 2 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 3 - The Four Norsemen Of The Apocalypse - Live At The Paradiso, Amsterdam, November 23, 2002
2018
5.00 | 2 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 5 - Field Notes - The Fantastic Expedition Of Järmyr, Ryan, Sæther & Lo - Live In Europe 2017
2018

MOTORPSYCHO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

5.00 | 2 ratings
This Is Motorpsycho
1995
4.00 | 2 ratings
Hair Cuts - Motorpsycho On Film
2008

MOTORPSYCHO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 11 ratings
8 Soothing Songs For Rut
1992
5.00 | 1 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play
1997
4.00 | 3 ratings
Timothy's Monster - Deluxe Edition
2010
3.67 | 3 ratings
Blissard - Deluxe Edition
2012
4.63 | 8 ratings
Demon Box - Deluxe Edition
2014
4.80 | 10 ratings
Supersonic Scientists - A Young Person's Guide To Motorpsycho
2015
3.50 | 2 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play - Deluxe Edition
2016
4.25 | 4 ratings
The Light Fantastic
2019

MOTORPSYCHO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.05 | 2 ratings
Maiden Voyage
1990
3.00 | 2 ratings
Soothe
1992
3.00 | 2 ratings
3 Songs For Rut
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho / Hedge Hog: Into The Sun / Surprise
1993
3.88 | 8 ratings
Mountain EP
1993
3.57 | 7 ratings
Another Ugly EP
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Leave It Like That
1994
3.00 | 3 ratings
Wearing Yr Smell
1994
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Nerve Tattoo
1995
3.67 | 3 ratings
Manmower
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho / Alice Cooper: Mad Sun / Nobody Likes Me
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho & Tre Små Kinesere: Mot Riving
1997
3.04 | 4 ratings
Baby Scooter
1997
4.50 | 2 ratings
Have Spacesuit Will Travel
1997
3.00 | 1 ratings
Lovelight
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sinful, Wind-Borne
1997
3.96 | 7 ratings
Starmelt EP
1997
4.25 | 4 ratings
Ozone
1998
3.25 | 4 ratings
Hey, Jane
1998
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Other Fool EP
2000
1.38 | 5 ratings
Walkin' With J EP
2000
3.10 | 12 ratings
Barracuda
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Slow Phaseout
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Go To California
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho / The Soundtrack Of Our Lives: Go To California / Black To Comm / Broken Imaginary Time / Galaxy Gramophone
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Serpentine
2002
3.63 | 8 ratings
Serpentine EP
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motor Home: Country Chris / Life Is A Little Lie
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society - Satan's Favourite Son
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society - Laila Lou
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hyena / Bonny Lee
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
X-3 (Knuckleheads In Space)
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Visitant
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorpsycho / Sugarfoot: Stay Young / These Are Days
2014
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Ninth Fragment - Toys
2014
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Motorpnakotic Manuscripts
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Psychonaut / Toys
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spin, Spin, Spin
2016
4.75 | 4 ratings
Here Be Monsters Vol. 2
2016
3.00 | 1 ratings
The California EP
2017
4.00 | 1 ratings
Terje Brekkstads Kosmiske Reise (pts 1 & 2)
2019

MOTORPSYCHO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Tower by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 231 ratings

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The Tower
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars In 2017 Motorpsycho released The Tower, a double-album that was to become the first instalment in their so called "Gullvåg Trilogy" of albums inspired by the art of painter Hakon Gullvåg, whose work graces the cover of The Tower as well as the subsequent two albums (2019's The Crucible and 2020's The All Is One). On this album bass player / vocalist Bent Sæther and guitarist Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan pair with a new drummer, Tomas Järmyr, who replaces Kenneth Kapstad after a 9-year stint with the band. The album also marks an evolution in the sound of the Norwegian veterans, which veers more decidedly towards heavy rock territories, bringing back some of the influences that had coloured Motorpsycho's early albums (Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, a touch of King Crimson).

It's a fun album, filled with groovy bass or guitar patterns that interlock to provide a solid basis for extended instrumental buildups and spontaneous jams. It's what Motorpsycho are renowned for and indeed it is music that at its best can be transcendental, as the listener is entranced and engrossed by the dazzling playing of the three musicians. There are plenty of moments when this happens on the album, as for instance on the beautiful guitar solo that kicks in five minutes in "A Pacific Sonata", or in the lengthy trippy affair that goes under the name of "Intrepid Explorer". Elsewhere, more pastoral and whimsical 70s rock influences emerge from the musical cauldron of The Tower, as in the very CSYN-esque "Stardust" or on "The Maypole". Meanwhile, the infectious combination of guitar riffs and flute melodies on "In Every Dream Home" is the most exquisitely prog moment of the album, bringing to mind the work of early Canterbury bands like Caravan.

For as much as I enjoy a free-spirited, psychedelic jam-fest, it is actually the more restrained songs like "In Every Dream Home" that Motorpsycho truly captivate me. I love the way this track strikes a perfect balance between instrumental virtuosity and structure. It gives the song a more definite identity which helps me keep my attention focused much better than on other, more free-form tracks on this album. Alas, there are not many moments on the album when this happens, which is why this record remains a bit of an acquired taste for me, and to it I prefer the other two instalments of the trilogy, The Crucible and especially The All Is One, which are less jam-oriented and more structured.

Nevertheless. The Tower remains an impressive album by the Norwegian trio that marks in great style the beginning of a new era for the band, with a new drummer and a renewed love for their heavy psychedelic rock origins. Although this may not be the most revolutionary or path breaking music to play in 2017, the songs still feel fresh and non-derivative. Most importantly, it is clear from listening to the album that the band had a lot of fun writing and playing the music, and the feeling is simply infectious.

[Review also posted on www.metalmusicarchives.com]

 The Crucible by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.80 | 107 ratings

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The Crucible
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars Released in 2019, The Crucible is the second instalment in Motorpsycho's "Gullvåg trilogy" of albums inspired by the art of painter Håkon Gullvåg, which the band started in 2017 with The Tower and will conclude in 2020 with The All Is One. While exploring similar lyrical themes (living in a polarized society) and moving in similar musical spaces (psychedelic-infused heavy prog), The Crucible stands out relative to the other two parts of the trilogy, in a number of ways.

First, clocking at about 40 minutes, it is by far the shortest album in the trilogy (both The Tower and The All Is One are double-albums that surpass the 80-minute mark). It contains only three tracks, albeit two of them (Lux Aeterna and the title-track) are nearly 11 and 21 minute long, respectively.

Second, it is certainly the heaviest record in the trio of albums. The stoner/doom/heavy prog influences (Black Sabbath above all) that characterized Motorpsycho's earlier records come back in a very prominent way on this album. This is different from The Tower and, especially The All Is One, which are instead proggier and more rock-oriented. This is not to say that The Crucible is lacking in prog credentials. On the contrary, the angular, fuzz-drenched instrumental acrobatics one can find on "Lux Aeterna" and "The Crucible" (the track) are reminiscent of the furious and fearless experimentation of early King Crimson. The interplay between reeds and guitars on "Lux Aeterna", for instance, is a particularly striking Crimsonian moment. The pervasive use of the mellotron is another element that brings to mind Robert Fripp's band. Elsewhere, the vocal harmonies conjured up by Bent Sæther and Hans Magnus Ryan remind us of Jon Anderson (listen for example to when the vocals kick in on the title-track). More generally, Yes's musical exuberance is another reference point for Motorpsycho's music. Yet, all these classic prog references are reinterpreted through a heavily metallic lens as well as with a distinct modern approach (Stian Westerhus comes to mind when one listens to the guitar-noise experiments on the title-track), which helps keep things fresh, contemporaneous and non-derivative.

The three tracks are well-balanced between vocal-driven parts and instrumental sections where the band loosens up and engages in long detours that have an improv flavor. There is nevertheless a sense of structure and discipline in the way these tracks are constructed, which makes them easy to assimilate and help the listener to remain focused throughout a song. This is particularly true on the two shorter pieces, "Psychotzar" and "Lux Aeterna", while the title-track is slightly more meandering and I think it may have benefitted from some fat trimming. Regardless of your level of endurance with lengthy instrumental acrobatics, the level of playing is dazzlingly good throughout the album.

Overall, The Crucible offers an enjoyable musical ride, especially if one is a fan of extended heavy psychedelic jams, which the album offers aplenty. Often this type of composition approach relies on that special spark to light up and infuse the music with magic. And while there are moments on the album where this is certainly the case, and the listener is left engrossed by the experience, elsewhere the approach feels a bit more earthbound and tiresome, which is why I cannot give this album more than three stars.

 The All Is One by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 119 ratings

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The All Is One
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by lukretio

4 stars Motorpsycho's new album, The All Is One, concludes the so called "Gullvag trilogy" of albums inspired by the art of painter Hakon Gullvag that the band started in 2017 with The Tower and continued with 2019's The Crucible. Sporting on its cover another beautiful Gullvag's painting, The All Is One might just be best progressive rock album released in 2020. Whether you agree with this statement or not, one thing is for certain: it is simply amazing how, after 30 years of career and more than 20 full-length albums, these three Norwegians are still able to create music that feels fresh and innovative and is of such a high quality. This is truly a testament to their creativity and ability as musicians that I have a deep respect for.

So what makes The All Is One so good, you ask? Two things stand out for me: how deliciously varied its 9 compositions are, and how they are perfectly balanced between creative discipline and looseness. These characteristics put the record at the top of the trio of albums that form the Gullvag trilogy, in my opinion. The songs on this album have the same playful, proggy exploratory spirit of The Tower, but with the structure and discipline that one can find on The Crucible, giving us the best of both worlds.

There are three types of songs on The All Is One, reflecting three distinct phases in the recording process. A first bulk of songs were recorded in September 2019 at the Black Box Studio in France. These recording sessions see the Motorpsycho trio (Bent Saether - lead vocals, bass, guitar; Hans Magnus Ryan - lead guitar, vocals; Tomas Jarmyr - drums) join forces with long-time collaborator guitarist Reine Fiske (Landberk, Paatos). The songs that came out from these sessions are of medium length (between 5 and 8 minutes), follow a somewhat traditional structure and are fairly vocal-driven, without too many extended instrumental jams or detours, making them relatively easy to assimilate. Nevertheless, the music has a strong classic prog flavour, somewhat reminiscent of the US modern school of progressive rock (bands like Echolyn, but also Spock's Beard and Neal Morse come to mind). Classic acts like Yes and King Crimson are also obvious influences, but they are re-interpreted through a modern lens that avoids the music sounding derivative. Among these tracks, the title-track and "The Magpie" stand out, containing some of the best and most memorable hooks of the album. "Dreams of Fancy" is also notable, with its classic rock feel (Led Zeppelin come to mind). "The Same Old Rock" and "Like Chrome" are instead perhaps a tad less inspired and come across a bit as run-of-the-mill prog.

Then we have the 42-minute suite "N.O.X". This piece, recorded in November 2019 at the Oceans Sound studio in Norway, was originally written as performance music that Motorpsycho were commissioned to play at 2019 St. Olav Festival as part of its celebration of the art of Hakon Gullvag. The suite was composed with the help of two other instrumentalists, Lars Horntveth of Jaga Jazzist (saxophones and clarinet) and Ola Kvernberg of Steamdome (violin). It is an amazing piece of music, and my personal highlight from the album. It comes in 5 separate parts (each a separate track on the album) that are interconnected and tied together by recurring motifs and common rhythm patterns. The music has a strong experimental and avant-garde feel, and encompasses a range of different styles, from krautrock and space rock (Hawkwind), to classic prog, to Canterbury prog (Caravan come to mind on the opening bars of "Circles Around the Sun pt I"), to psychedelia. The suite has everything one would ask for from a prog masterpiece: it is complex and shapeshifting while never losing focus or tension, it is filled with sublime arrangements and exceptional playing, it is groovy like hell (listen to "Ouroboros") and it has strong dynamics, moving between hard-hitting, almost punkish pieces ("Circles Around the Sun pt II") and dreamy, reverb-drenched meditative moments (the Pink Floydian "Ascension"). Vocals appear sparsely throughout the suite, and are often processed and used more as an additional complementary instrument than as lead instrument. Drummer Tomas Jarmyr puts in a monstrous performance on this piece, but the playing of everyone involved is truly dazzling and a joy to listen to. What impressed me the most, though, is the sense of structure and discipline that transpires from the music. Motorpsycho have often indulged in extended instrumental jams on previous albums. While captivating and engrossing, I often found these jamming pieces a bit too loose, structureless and repetitive, which made it difficult to continuously retain my attention. "N.O.X" is incredibly tight and well-organized, each part flowing naturally - almost necessarily - into the next one, in a way that brings to mind classical music more than jazz or psychedelic improvs. This perfect balance between discipline and looseness is what makes "N.O.X", and the album in general, such a fantastic piece of music for me.

Finally, the album contains three shorter songs, recorded at various times between 2018 and 2019 in Trondheim (Norway). These are acoustic pieces for guitar and voice (and synths sometimes) that are strategically placed on the album to separate the "N.O.X" suite from the other tracks. I am particularly fond of "Delusion", a beautiful, delicate piece that reminds me of the more pastoral moments of early King Crimson. "A Little Light" is also endearing, with its simple guitar line, especially after the musical mayhem of the closing parts of "N.O.X".

Overall, the alternation between acoustic pieces, more regular prog rock songs, and the tour-de-force of "N.O.X" gives the album a sense of progression and moving-forward that is truly captivating and naturally invites the repeated listens that are necessary to properly assimilate the sheer amount of creativity that is contained in the 80+ minutes of music on this double-album. Nevertheless, The All Is One is also a record that is very easy to instantly like as it contains enough hooks and moments of brilliance to entrance the listener on the first run. It is also notable that the doom/stoner/heavy prog influences (e.g., Black Sabbath) that Motorpsycho are known for are not so strong on this album. Overall, there is more prog and less fuzz on The All Is One, which may make it an even more palatable release for the prog community.

In short, The All Is One is an amazing piece of work. It contains some of the proggiest and most inventive pieces of music Motorpsycho have come up with in a long time. The experimental, largely instrumental suite "N.O.X.", alone, would have made for an incredible album, but perhaps it stands out even more with the addition of the other acoustic and more standard vocal-driven tracks to balance the record. Despite some less inspired moment ("The Sme Old Rock", "The Dowser", "Like Chrome"), it is without doubt one of the best progressive rock albums I have listened to this year and it is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in prog.

[Originally posted on www.progarchives.com]

 The Tower by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 231 ratings

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The Tower
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Motorpsycho released their first album of the Gullvag Trilogy in 2017 called The Tower and for me this album represents a true transformation of the band and it is the beginning of the true prog renaissance for the band. This album delivers fantastic music and it was an album where they went 100% prog. It's still has that Motorpsycho heavines but this time they pushed at the limits of what's possible in their music, a true creative rebirth.

The Tower is a brilliant effort, consistently outstanding double album, where every song will leave you breathless. Lots of heavy, repetitive riffage, solos, keyboards and brass instruments, mixed psych, space , eclectic elements, with lyrics that compliment the music fantastically all together make this 85 minute album the masterpiece of prog music.

 The Crucible by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.80 | 107 ratings

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The Crucible
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Motorpsycho released their second album of the Gullvag Trilogy in 2019 called The Crucible . The album starts with Psychotzar a heavy guitar and bass driven song, doomy sound filled with guitar solos with great sing-alongs and some but right on point usage of Mellotron.

Lux Aeterna begins as a rather melancholic acoustic song and it trough out continues to build up. Some great mellotron moments, leads and touches. Four minutes into this piece we embark on an eclectic journey filled with jazzy parts and saxophone solo takes over control and later on guitar takes the lead it's a real creative artistic mess and it's fantastically done. Six and a half minutes after, it again returns us to a somewhat slower but heavy part followed by a fantastic guitar solo and we go all the way down to melancholia, it ends with a main theme of the song.

The Crucible is a 20 minute epic filled with brilliant compositions, inspired performance, and exemplary musicianship. It delivers a great atmosphere filled with heaviness, psychedelia overall just great progressive rock.

 The All Is One by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 119 ratings

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The All Is One
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars With The tower and The Crucible Motorpsycho entered their prog renaissance and continued it on the new album The all is one, the band delivers powerful prog sounds with brilliant guitar, bass and beautiful keyboards mostly mellotron. The album kicks off with a self titled track that bursts with power and fantastic mellotron parts. N.O.X.', a 42-minute epic shows that this band is at the top of their game. The all is one has it all from hard and heavy to beautifully written acoustic and classical parts. Third and final chapter in the "Gullvåg" trilogy is a must have If you like mix of eclectic, symphonyc, heavy, space and psych with really interesting lyrics focusing on moral, political and other issues we face today.
 The All Is One by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 119 ratings

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The All Is One
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars MOTORPSYCHO is a Norwegian group known personally in 2010 so yesterday given their journey from the very beginning of the 90's. A stoner sound, pop, fruity, a bit crazy, in short eclectic. Progressive rock, alternative, folk, hard, jazzy, country to be honest, even punk and grunge at their beginnings, in short, unclassifiable. Progressive rock, psychedelic music and independent and alternative rock remaining the backbone; to note a progressive rock opera concept in 2012 and a collaboration with the Swedish guitarist Reine FISKE (LANDBERK, PAATOS). MOTORPSYCHO was originally formed by Bent SÆTHER, his progressive rock influences started to kick in and have remained present with sprawling psychedelic directions at this point. "The All is One" on a somewhat retro-progressive stoner tune, ZEPPELIN LED drums and rhythm, rock and psychedelic composition, all in the length with a certain monotony, YES-like sounds bring a little divine memory, the title thus changing atmosphere; final at the OLDFIELD, it starts heavy. "The Same Old Rock" starts off on progressive retro rock and its chorus with drenched percussions, the voice remaining very sharp, a little flute, the riff which denotes until the Howe solo and return to heavy rock, proto- heavy but catchy rock. "The Magpie" and its psyche atmosphere at the start then a journey on a rhythmic piece in two tones, bass forward to give the direction to take; we are far from prog; we get closer to the scent of MONSTER MAGNET, the incursions of ZAPPA, then those of AL DI MEOLA for a few moments; the guitar solo seems to come from a vintage 70s recording, astonishing; prog no longer has its raison d'etre, it's the notes that send us to it. "Delusion" calms the heat with a kitsch acoustic interlude and notes that resonate in our minds, we got a long way off there. So far after a few reads as is often the case with MOTORPSYCHO, the record is performing well. "N.O.X" in 5 variations for the astral journey of nearly 3/4 hours, timeless from "Circles Around the Sun, Pt. 1" departure with bells and violins then the dark atmosphere of the Scandinavian reliefs can be guessed; the progression is there, the wind instruments make the tempo mysterious, indecisive, latent as on the long pieces of THE DOORS, frightening, rising in strident maelstrom with a jazzy edge; you have to be used to uncompromising prog under penalty of astonishment, the violins duel for a symphonic finale of the most beautiful effect. "Ouroboros" arrives and changes the rhythm to train us on "Fragile" or certain arpeggios from "Close to the Edge"; a guitar now from the solo heard on "Encore" by TANGERINE DREAM, then YES again with a vintage organ, a long variation which can lead to a trance, be careful! A hellish groove, a paroxysmal rise, that's good with "Ascension" coming in and bringing some order to the scattered notes, a soaring interlude and a second part that goes up to an always moderate tempo. "Night of Pan" and that hypnotic tune, ah that tune, Brian ENO, Philip GLASS, an tune that chills your back, we're in the movie "Reality" from which you can't get out; a Dantesque symphonic post-rock canon, serious and soft choirs, it literally takes off around 7 minutes as with the long tirades of Klaus SCHULZE, drums come to lend a hand, the mellotron is not to be outdone, the trance surrounds you , you are no longer yourself !! I didn't want to write this column because I had listened to it a number of times before I was asked and I didn't want to explain the experiences of sound dematerialization that I had lived, too late I admit it here, I am lost in this maelstrom, it's just giant to believe that the end of the year will give even more musical pearls; a 10 for this dangerous piece, oh so pleasantly dangerous. A complex sequence that you have to listen to, a rise, a crescendo, a peak, what am I saying, Cyrano's nose, immense I tell you! The end starts with TANGERINE DREAM-style sequences like on "Sorcerer"; "Circles Around the Sun Pt.2" as the finale is even more apocalyptic; we find there the musical frenzy of CARAVAN or ANEKDOTEN, a little THE ENID in their extreme climbs, a little MAGMA there, it explodes, it squirts, it is moving, it's crazy, ecstasy is the. "N.O.X" was born out of a musical commission written for the St. Olav Festival performance. "A Little Light" comes out of this major piece with the damn acoustic interlude, two guitars that take the opportunity to tune your stereo on your speakers; finale with a mysterious synth that puts you back on the alert to announce "Dreams of Fancy" and a more rock track here, cool groove that is easier to access too; the less high-pitched voice can recall a little RUSH at times, we are still on an old sound however with bold and archaic riff; the violin solos quickly joined by those of the guitars gives an interesting scale. "The Dowser" for a little acoustic rhyme that rests again, to listen as "Horizons" after "Supper's Ready"! Finally comes "Like Chrome" and a bold title, the different voice drawing on that of Joe JACKSON and giving a more alternative rock sound; the instrumental part is detached from the verse-chorus with a heavy and heady sound to the ZEPPELIN LED as at the beginning. MOTORPSYCHO struck a big blow with the end of the Gullvåg trilogy which will have combed the covers of the albums; texts on alchemy, Tarot and painting, texts on social, political and environmental conflicts with which we live; in 30 years one would have thought that their genre and musical style had exhausted it; we clearly have here a vintage sound of the 70's boosted by the recording of the years 2030, a dantesque, bestial, spatial sound where time seems to stand still; a work beyond music, beautiful musical rock art. In short, and it's a pleasure a must of its kind.
 The All Is One by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 119 ratings

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The All Is One
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The Scandinavian veterans (with all kinds of excellent gusts) are back with their annual contribution.

1. "The All Is One" (8:50) a lyrics-oriented song until the instrumental section begins around 4:35. Amazing use of Mellotron in that section. (17.25/20)

2. "The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)" (5:18) acoustic guitar! Steven Wilson-like vocal! Then it kicks into old rock territory (The Who!) It's a Who song with some Steve Howe-like guitar lead playing beneath it all! (8.5/10)

3. "The Magpie" (5:36) (8.5/10)

4. "Delusion (The Reign of Humbug)" (2:44) acoustic guitar and solo voce alone in a reverb chamber. Gorgeous. (5/5)

- N.O.X. ∞ (42:38) : 5. "Circles Around the Sun, Pt. 1" (9:11) nice, gentle keys before raw, acoustic violin joins in. At 1:50 whole band kicks in, creating a deep, ULVER-like groove. Heavily distorted almost cinematic multi-voiced vocals enter at 3:40, singing an eerie melody that creates a pretty but Danny Elfman-like environment. This is f*king brilliant! Aside from the little interlude songs, by far and away my favorite song on the album. (19.5/20) 6. "Ouroboros (Strange Loop)" (8:23) a repetitious jam song that feels as if it was created out of Chris Squire's "Schindleria Præmaturus." (17.25/20) 7. "Ascension" (3:37) spacey PINK FLOYD-ish instrumental with soft weave of stringed insturmesnts --before the violin goes crazy in the second half. Brilliant and beautiful! (10/10) 8. "Night of Pan" (15:33) nice display of discipline even if the format was used on Death-Defying Unicorn. (27/30) 9. "Circles Around the Sun, Pt. 2" (5:54) Motorspycho being both motor and psycho. It's okay. An unfortunate ending to an otherwise stunning 42-minute epic. (8.25/10) - 10. "A Little Light" (2:19) two acoustic guitars--until the freaky, horn-like end. . Thank you, Allman Brothers and David Gilmour. (4.5/5)

11. "Dreams of Fancy" (9:37) combining riffs that are familiar from old classic rock songs as well as the band's own repertoire, they create a kind of hodge-podge LED ZEPPELIN song. (Think "The Rain Song.") Poor lyrics, poor singing, nice melody in the chorus. Letting Reine Fiske loose in the instrumental sections is the highlight. (17/20)

12. "The Dowser" (2:46) strummed electrified guitars with two vocalists singing in harmony. Nice. Beautiful chorus. Almost CSN&Y. (4.75/5)

13. "Like Chrome" (5:03) heavy BEATLES-like start before turning pure XTC! In the middle when we hit the instrumental section, it gets heavier before returning to the Andy Partridge stuff. Interesting! (8.5/10)

Total Time 84:51

85 minutes is a long sitting. I was prepared to dislike or be bored by this album (How much new and fresh music can a band come up with over 31 years and 24 studio albums?), but the sound is so good, the band so tight (especially the drums!), and the instrumental choices and weaves still so creative and fresh that one can't help but like it. Some of the songs here are more oriented toward the lyrics than I'm used to hearing from Motorpsycho; when I listen to Motorpsycho it's not the lyrics I'm listening to but the music. The sound engineering on this album is fine, the music polished if starting to sound somewhat repetitive of stuff they've done previously.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. Despite containing some absolutely stunning pieces, there is too much music being rehashed here.

 Demon Box by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.81 | 72 ratings

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Demon Box
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars The duo of Bent Saether and Hans Magnus Ryan have been the consistent force behind Motorpsycho from 1990, when they formed, to present day. By the time they released their 3rd album "Demon Box" in 1993, they had already established their foothold in Norwegian stoner rock, and long-timer Hakon Gabhardt had already become a staple in the band and would be until 2005. However, this trio would stretch out Motorpsycho's usual stoner sound to include some interesting folkish elements and even the occasional foray into progressive sounds even as early as this.

Many of Motorpsycho's early albums were kind of hit or miss, and their desire to try out several different styles of music led to some great albums and some more average sounding albums. "Demon Box" was one of their stronger early albums, and still sounds great, even with their penchant to wander to new territory, but they still mixed in their stoner and heavy sound, even adding that touch of psychedelia to the sound.

"Demon Box" can be found in the CD version that omits 3 tracks that were on the vinyl version in order to fit it all on one disc. In 2014, the album was reissued on both vinyl and CD with a lot more additional tracks and surprises. This review is for the orginal CD version. The extra tracks that can be found on the original vinyl version can also be found on various EPs that the band has released.

Right from the beginning, you see them trying something new by starting the album out with a more traditional sounding "Waiting for the One", then moving on to what would seem like a mellow track "Nothing to Say", but infusing it with heavy and solid guitar riffs that punch through, and Saether's gruff vocals returning at various times through the track. But, it isn't until the 3rd track that the heavy stoner sound comes back full force on "Feedtime". This one packs the solid and heavy punch that the fans of the time were familiar with. The next track mixes in heavy doses of psychedelic sound with the heavy, guitar-laden rock with a more progressive leaning. Then "Tuesday Morning" takes us back to a softer, more acoustic heavy sound. Psychedelic effects whirl around between the speakers in the background messing around with your head. It's a very nice and trippy track best experienced with headphones.

"All is Loneliness" stays with the acoustic sound, but plays with various vocal layers layered out in a "round" format, while a drone plays in the background and light psychedelic guitar wails behind it all. The use of one chord throughout the track gives the perfect sound of a space rock bliss out, but then loud, thumping drums come in along with the twang of a sitar. This is the only track not written by the band, as such, it is written by Moondog. "Come On In" is a more subdued track which only consists of vocals and acoustic guitar. "Step Inside Again" goes for a spooky whispered vocal, starts with a bassy synth, but that drops out to a simple plucking guitar playing a repeated pattern. It's all quite eerie.

All of the tracks up to this point have moved around in different styles giving the album a lot of variety, but staying cohesive with Motorpsycho's attitude. The tracks have been staying at just over 5 minutes or less. The next track finally exceeds the 17 minute mark, the title track "Demon Box". Thick, heavy and dark guitars bass and drums come riding in on a slow and grungy riff that will make your speakers and floorboards shake. Those familiar gruff vocals return and you know you have entered back into a stoner rock meltdown. Some dirty vocals are involved here also. You'll ride on these waves of riffage for a while before the music breaks down and goes into a noisy collage of synth effects, rolling bass and screeching and wailing of tortured guitars and other effects. There is no rhythm during this nightmarish section as you get swallowed up in this until suddenly after the 11 minute mark when out of nowhere, everything just starts crashing along on the solid and slow riffs again with vocals eventually returning and the last few minutes burn away with a drone and effects and subdued violin music. Most bands would just let it go at that, but Motorpsycho still wasn't finished.

"Babylon" speeds up the stoner rock sound with a much faster track, but staying with a heavy dirty sound. This heaviness continues with "Junior", but with a sound that isn't quite as thick, somewhere between heavy metal and pop almost, very alternative sounding, like Matthew Sweet or Dinosaur Jr. "Plan #1" begins with pensive guitar layers and spoken word from field recordings. This soon gets buried in thick guitar and bass and slow, solid drums. Even with all of this, you can still hear a bright, tonal percussion tapping along. It all mellows out when the vocals start, remaining dark and bass heavy, and then adding the thick sound back in later. There is an unsettling layering of clean and dirty vocals before it enters into a very rousing cyclone of loud and solid guitar crunchiness. The music follows that pattern again when the spoken vocals return and the music rebuilds. Excellent track! "Sheer Profundity" is a heavy rocking riff machine, mostly instrumental except for some screaming and spoken lyrics. "The One Who Went Away" is still heavy, but smoother and more traditionally rock oriented, at least until the end when things get a bit maniacal.

I love this album that on the first half is mostly softer and acoustic, but not completely, while the 2nd half will melt your ears. This is one that my wife or the neighbors don't like, so I have to wear headphones, but that's okay because you can hear and taste it all so much better that way anyway. The ragged edges are just perfect on this album and is also what helps make it so awesome, but that is the best way to have your stoner rock. But this is so much more than that. Even this early on, you hear some forays into the progressive spectrum, probably even enough to make all progheads happy. Fair warning though, if you don't like your music loud and heavy, then you should stay away. If that doesn't bother you, then by all means, get this album. No, it's not perfect, but I love it anyway. This album helped establish Motorpsycho as one of the most important bands to come from Norway. If you have heard the more progressive albums that the band has put out to date, then you still owe it to yourself to hear this to see what else the band can do. It's only 4 stars because it isn't as progressive as some of their more recent albums. But it is still excellent.

 Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.18 | 485 ratings

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Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars If you only hear one Motorpsycho album in your life, let it be this one. There is a huge chance that you'll decide that it won't be the last one you'll ever hear.

Motorpsycho had gone through the years proving time and again that they were a team of musicians that could make an impression of some kind in different styles of rock. Starting with stoner rock and moving through various sub-genres like country rock, alternative, fusion and now finally making their mark with progressive rock. And with the 2 CD album "The Death Defying Unicorn: A Fanciful and Fairly Far-out Musical Fable", they did it in a big way. So big, in fact, that they created a masterpiece. For anyone that doubted they could do it, they proved them wrong.

"The Death Defying Unicorn" is a progressive rock lovers dream come true with a fascinating story and a musical score that pretty much defied anything else that came out that year. On this album, Motorpsycho teamed with Stale Storlokken, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and the small string orchestra Trondheimsolistene to create a bombastic, yet top-notch album full of heavy rock instruments meshed with orchestra and jazz instruments, and left the critics, fans and the public with their jaws hanging open in awe.

Originally, this music was a long-forgotten by Motorpsycho as an idea they had toyed around with and then shelved without further development. After it was brought back out into the light, it ended up being commissioned by Molde International Jazzfestival to be performed on their main stage for their 50th anniversary in 2010. The music afterwards was re-arranged, fine tuned and recorded from the beginning with Stale Storlokken, one of Norway's top keyboardists, doing the arrangements for the ensemble work. What we ended up with is an amazing multi-movement work with a lot of power and amazing musicianship.

The first CD contains the first 7 movements of the album, starting out with the overture "Out of the Woods" which features mostly strings playing the first main theme and developing it, preparing for the next part "The Hollow Lands" which continues the developed motif with the sudden inclusion of Motorpsycho and an explosion of guitars, keys and drums playing right along, and what an opening and what an impression they make right off the bat. As you find yourself enveloped in this amazing music, you eventually come to the lyrics, dynamics being utilized to emphasize the first part of the story, and the addition of the jazz orchestra. But it all really comes together in the epic "Through the Veil" which sees all of the musicians come together in a miasma of sound and awesomeness. Here is a 16 minute track that combines the craziness of jazz/rock fusion classic "20th Century Schizoid Man" of which it has been compared to. At this point, the listener knows that they have entered a world of amazingness and that this album is to be remembered and be recognized as a rock masterwork. The music has to be experienced, it is that awesome. Everything to this point represents the main character being brought onto an ill-fated ship and the ensuing storm that rips the boat to shreds, leaving it floating aimlessly in the aftermath. Things cool down after those first three tracks, but the music isn't any less interesting, in fact, it proves that this is not just a one-trick pony, but that it can be dynamic also. "Doldrums" gives you a cooling off period before another long epic track "Into the Gyre" which ranges from lighter fare to spurts of guitar and rock magic, all 3 styles of progressive rock, jazz and classical music working together wonderfully. "Flotsam" ends the first disc with a more reflective number, atmospheric and still quite intriguing, the music representing sailors lost at sea.

Disc Two begins with "Oh Proteus, A Prayer" and continues with the story of the sailors lost at sea and mysterious and atmospheric music with harmonized layered vocals and heavy strings. The melody is loose and listless, wandering around like the ship. After 3 minutes in, it increases in volume, a dark undertone is brought about by churning guitars (waves) as the wandering vocals continue. The darkness continues to drone on after the vocals end as the layers of instruments meld together. "Sculls in Limbo" utilizes effects to make eerie and unreal effects, staying mostly minimal in sound. "La Lethe" fades in slowly with the jazz orchestra building the music slowly, but with a soft beat and rhythm that gives a surreal feeling, almost as dreams of past memories. The music builds and a sense of danger and unease come with the build. Again, a drone-like sound creates the dark undertow of the water, while the hazy jazz orchestra continues to play, but in a more experimental way, contributing to the mental fog surrounding the ship's crew, what is real and what is not. Wordless vocals are harmonized, but mixed deeply, and somehow a melodic sax solo emerges from the dark nightmarish instrument haze, and even that seems unsure of itself as the music builds, then suddenly lets go and softens, then suddenly increases in a dramatic orchestral passage. This section ends with a short reprise of "Oh Proteus" subtitled as "A Lament" this time. This brings back decipherable vocals, but now the crew seems to be losing their sanity.

The last three tracks deal with the crew slipping into insanity starting with "Sharks". The title might suggest the meat-eating fish, but in reality deals with the sharks of the mind. Soft, slightly unhinged singing and minimal music that sounds like something from Roger Waters mind begins the track. Soft pizzicato strings underlie a bowed violin playing a loose melody. After a while, the brass comes in very quietly, then more vocals, a little more upfront this time. Dissonant chords from the strings bring in more unease, then things increase in intensity and drama as the music crescendos. A male chorus sings and the darkness becomes more evident. It's an excellent payoff for the patient listener as the drama builds and flows into the excellent "Mutiny". Now we go into full progressive rock mode as a frantic feeling takes over with excellent vocals and complex musicianship follows. A wild instrumental break led by guitar and bass take it up to another level and the music sounds inspired by the introduction to Yes' "Changes", but with a layered and hazy feel with heavy guitars. It's all quite awesome. When it reaches the climax, it all seems to come crashing down, then suddenly recovers bringing back vocals, mellotron and more guitars. But it's all so well-layered that it still sounds like a full orchestra. Finally, it all calms for a softer vocal ending, and this segue's into the finale "Into the Mystic", which is not the Van Morrison song by the way. This one takes right off into heavy, dark guitars and a screaming violin solo over the top of it all. This ending is one of the best endings to a concept story-based albums I have heard. Talk about a rousing and climactic ending.

This album is so amazingly well done that it deserves to be up there with the masterpieces of prog, and if it had been made in the 70's, we would be singing its praises just like we do for the other masterpieces of that time like "Close to the Edge", "Pawn Hearts", "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", and "Dark Side of the Moon", it is that good. Like I said at the beginning, if you only hear one Motorpsycho album, let it be this one, and I'm sure you'll be soon wishing you could hear some of their other albums. This is a genius masterpiece, an essential album that will make those that believe there is no good progressive rock after the 70s back into believing that it is still alive and well. This is it folks, one of the best progressive rock albums from the 2010s. Simply amazing and inspiring, it should be considered one of the all-time greats of progressive music that is meant to be heard from start to finish, not one track at a time. It's one of my rare 6-star albums.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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