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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)

3.02 | 47 ratings
Lobotomizer
1991
3.85 | 79 ratings
Demon Box
1993
3.84 | 106 ratings
Timothy's Monster
1994
3.08 | 31 ratings
The Tussler
1994
3.31 | 61 ratings
Blissard
1996
3.53 | 70 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play
1997
4.10 | 111 ratings
Trust Us
1998
3.94 | 88 ratings
Let Them Eat Cake
2000
4.15 | 135 ratings
Phanerothyme
2001
3.60 | 66 ratings
It's A Love Cult
2002
3.78 | 32 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society
2004
3.63 | 81 ratings
Black Hole / Blank Canvas
2006
3.89 | 121 ratings
Little Lucid Moments
2008
3.57 | 60 ratings
Child Of The Future
2009
3.83 | 235 ratings
Heavy Metal Fruit
2010
4.20 | 510 ratings
Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn
2012
3.93 | 204 ratings
Still Life With Eggplant
2013
4.00 | 345 ratings
Behind The Sun
2014
3.86 | 153 ratings
Here Be Monsters
2016
3.66 | 19 ratings
Begynnelser
2017
3.96 | 248 ratings
The Tower
2017
3.76 | 126 ratings
The Crucible
2019
4.00 | 169 ratings
The All Is One
2020
3.88 | 119 ratings
Kingdom of Oblivion
2021
4.15 | 48 ratings
Ancient Astronauts
2022

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

4.25 | 12 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 1 - Heavy Metall Iz A Poze, Hardt Rock Iz A Laifschteil - Live In Europe 1998
1999
3.57 | 7 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 2 - The MotorSourceMassacre - Motorpsycho, The Source & Deathprod Live At Kongsberg Jazzfestival 1995
2000
4.00 | 16 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 4 - Intrepid Skronk
2011
3.17 | 6 ratings
Strings Of Stroop - Live At Effenaar
2011
4.07 | 15 ratings
Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken: En Konsert For Folk Flest
2015
3.00 | 2 ratings
A Boxful Of Demons
2018
3.75 | 4 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 3 - The Four Norsemen Of The Apocalypse - Live At The Paradiso, Amsterdam, November 23, 2002
2018
4.33 | 3 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)

4.00 | 3 ratings
This Is Motorpsycho
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Hair Cuts - Motorpsycho On Film
2008

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

3.31 | 13 ratings
8 Soothing Songs For Rut
1992
4.50 | 2 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play
1997
4.60 | 5 ratings
Timothy's Monster - Deluxe Edition
2010
4.25 | 4 ratings
Blissard - Deluxe Edition
2012
4.78 | 9 ratings
Demon Box - Deluxe Edition
2014
4.45 | 11 ratings
Supersonic Scientists - A Young Person's Guide To Motorpsycho
2015
4.50 | 4 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play - Deluxe Edition
2016
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Light Fantastic
2019

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

2.09 | 3 ratings
Maiden Voyage
1990
3.09 | 3 ratings
Soothe
1992
3.09 | 3 ratings
3 Songs For Rut
1992
5.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho
1992
4.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho / Hedge Hog: Into The Sun / Surprise
1993
3.90 | 10 ratings
Mountain EP
1993
3.67 | 9 ratings
Another Ugly EP
1994
5.00 | 1 ratings
Leave It Like That
1994
3.08 | 5 ratings
Wearing Yr Smell
1994
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Nerve Tattoo
1995
3.60 | 5 ratings
Manmower
1996
3.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho / Alice Cooper: Mad Sun / Nobody Likes Me
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho & Tre Små Kinesere: Mot Riving
1997
3.08 | 5 ratings
Baby Scooter
1997
4.67 | 3 ratings
Have Spacesuit Will Travel
1997
4.00 | 2 ratings
Lovelight
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sinful, Wind-Borne
1997
4.00 | 10 ratings
Starmelt EP
1997
4.50 | 6 ratings
Ozone
1998
3.50 | 6 ratings
Hey, Jane
1998
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Other Fool EP
2000
1.62 | 7 ratings
Walkin' With J EP
2000
3.10 | 13 ratings
Barracuda
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Slow Phaseout
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Go To California
2001
3.94 | 106 ratings
Motorpsycho & Jaga Jazzist Horns: In The Fishtank
2002
3.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho / The Soundtrack Of Our Lives: Go To California / Black To Comm / Broken Imaginary Time / Galaxy Gramophone
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Serpentine
2002
3.70 | 10 ratings
Serpentine EP
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motor Home: Country Chris / Life Is A Little Lie
2003
2.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society - Satan's Favourite Son
2004
2.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society - Laila Lou
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Hyena / Bonny Lee
2006
5.00 | 1 ratings
X-3 (Knuckleheads In Space)
2010
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Visitant
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Motorpsycho / Sugarfoot: Stay Young / These Are Days
2014
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Ninth Fragment - Toys
2014
3.06 | 7 ratings
The Motorpnakotic Manuscripts
2014
3.00 | 1 ratings
Psychonaut / Toys
2015
3.00 | 1 ratings
Spin, Spin, Spin
2016
4.80 | 5 ratings
Here Be Monsters Vol. 2
2016
3.50 | 2 ratings
The California EP
2017
4.00 | 2 ratings
Terje Brekkstads Kosmiske Reise (pts 1 & 2)
2019

MOTORPSYCHO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ancient Astronauts by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.15 | 48 ratings

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Ancient Astronauts
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by WJA-K

5 stars Ancient Astronauts is yet another great album that saw the light of day this year.

The Ladder - Great opener. It immediately sets the stage. Love the violin parts. 9/10

The Flower of Awareness - A moody short piece that is setting the stage for the next track. 7/10

Mona Liza/Azrael - It's clear they are inspired by King Crimson here. Starless anyone? They didn't blatantly copy KC, however. They made it their own and delivered a brilliant track 9/10

Chariots of the Sun - To Phaeton on the Occasion of the Sunrise (theme from an imagined movie) - What a beautiful track this is. I love how the song builds up and then shifts into gear at the 6-minute mark. 10/10

They won me over. I give it a 5 out of 5.

 Ancient Astronauts by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.15 | 48 ratings

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Ancient Astronauts
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by DiversionConVinilos

4 stars The Norwegian band are already veterans in progressive rock. Since their first release in the early 90's they have already released a handful of albums, some of which I believe are a reference in today's progressive rock. Possessors of an original eclecticism where progressive developments are mixed with psychedelic, hard rock, jazz, pop and even country influences. A formula that has allowed them to navigate from the accessible territories of neo-progressive to much more elaborate and complex formulas. A menu for varied palates. And this latest album "Ancient Astronauts" is good proof of that.

An album that despite not being very long, just over 40 minutes, concentrates a whole dose of musical expressiveness in only 4 themes, two of them of long duration. Especially the last one, of 22 minutes in which they make a kind of soundtrack of an imaginary movie.

Mostly instrumental themes in which they flirt with post-rock and in which the developments are very well worked to convey a sense of fluidity and continuity that makes the album listen from end to end with hardly any low points.

I would highlight the great role that the bass has in the configuration of the themes, having moments in which it is almost the protagonist. And next to it, an intelligent instrumental combination that allows the development of the themes to pass from melodic phases to long atmospheric passages.

One can only praise the genius and good taste of this band to concentrate in a short space of time so many musical ideas, very well linked and that above all they know how to transmit that epic, emotional and intellectual sense that characterizes the best progressive rock.

I don't know if it will be one of the releases of the year, but it is certainly a work to take into account both in the discography of Motorpsycho, as well as in the discs to take into account in this 2022.

 Ancient Astronauts by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.15 | 48 ratings

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Ancient Astronauts
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars MOTORPSYCHO is the Norwegian group starting their musical misdeeds at the beginning of the 90's with a stoner, pop, fruity and crazy sound; prog rock, art rock in fact with scents pushed to the extreme to hit, make psychedelic hard rock reminiscent of HAWKWIND and MONSTER MAGNET. The desire for heavy rock to travel outside of musical time seems to take priority with sounds taken from TANGERINE DREAM and other KING CRIMSON, let's see what's going on with this 25th opus from the trio recorded live, Reine being blocked by the covid for check in.

"The Ladder" entry spleen, soaring in the style MOTORPSYCHO, that's good; quickly dreamlike title with Hans and his swirling guitar, Bent with cottony vocals decked out with his 18-string bass, finally Tomas who hits his drums faster than his shadow; a mouthful title that shows the extent of their talents, the dark end à la POPOL VUH that switches to "The Flower of Awareness" the gloomy interlude, a mixture of an old TANGERINE DREAM like 'Sorcerer', on a saw rusty, badly screwed jumper; memory of the LUSTMORD for those who know how to listen to a bit of extreme music, an air that connects with "Mona Lisa / Azrael" and that KING CRIMSON worthy intro of the timeless 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' with mellotron, bells, mandolin, dark sax; in short, the shivers on my arms confirm to me that this group is capable over time of structuring old sounds in 2020 fashion, with power and emotion; a 'Red' with the track 'Starless' in the background; it's stunning and vibrant at the same time; beginning of the 2nd third and after some stammering violin spleen that? explodes as they know how to do it so well; an organoleptic fusion of strong and concentrated notes from which the aromas emerge even more effective; the bass hangs up the music when the other instruments go into an apocalyptic psychedelic jam with deluges of dithyrambic notes; final again on the old sounds. Finally "Chariot of the Sun - To Phaeton on the Occasion of Sunrise (Theme from an Imaginary Movie" for a musical evolution in layers, with softness and violence, with planetary accelerations and drifts; a bucolic theme worthy of a POPOL VUH or a 'a GRATEFUL DEAD; a piece that you have to listen to, almost indescribable in fact on a trip as we no longer dare to perform; MOTORPSYCHO did it and this long minimalist intro all in finesse, this solemn rise make the music is no longer anything but personal dreamlike images; the crescendo in between never ends and captivates the mind, hits the prog molehill; the third space returns to a more latent sound before exploding again, choirs coming deepen the climate of departure, perfect as the soaring ending..

MOTORPSYCHO is psychedelia, a bit of ambient, adventurous stoner. It is a moment of musical culture unfolding sensations, musical climates, austere landscapes, wind, beds tangled with notes; it's hypnotic trance full of madness, nervous grooves, rushes full of musical adrenaline in the wake of their fabulous title 'N.O.X', titles that will serve as the background sound for a dance show; you have understood that you have here a summary of what they do best, starting from soft moments towards frenetic and hypnotic climates, starting from TANGERINE DREAM, POPOL VUH with the drifts of KING CRIMSON and other BLACK SABBATH?. A unique sound; the cover is taken from a film project which reassures about their upcoming future, the texts on enlightenment for those who also read the lyrics. MOTORPSYCHO was cited not as the best in this musical genre, but the only ones to make music in this way, a beautiful tribute that I absolutely agree with.

 It's A Love Cult by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.60 | 66 ratings

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It's A Love Cult
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After hearing 2001's Pheranothyme I had to check out more of this band's early stuff.

1. "Überwagner or a Billion Bubbles in My Mind" (5:36) deep 60s psychedelia with great drumming. (8.5/10)

2. "Circles" (4:00) The album's highlight. Previewing the softer side of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. (9.25/10)

3. "Neverland" (4:01) previewing the heavier version of Motorpsycho that will (re-)surface at the end of the decade. Never realized how influenced by 60s bands like The Doors and Argent these guys are. (8.5/10)

4. "This Otherness" (6:31) Sounds a bit like Neil Young/CSN&Y in their rock'n'roll/rockabilly glory. Beautiful voice in the lead. (8.5/10)

5. "Carousel" (7:16) orchestration? Why aren't they credited as they were on Pheranothyme? Sounds like this one was inspired by LED ZEPPELIN's "The Rain Song". Suffers a little from a weak vocal melody not matching up well with the acoustic guitar and orchestration. The ramped up finale is good. (12.75/15)

6. "What If..." (4:16) A little too much like a theme song to a 1960s game show--until the searing lead guitar shows up. Lots of horn embellishments. Intricately constructed but just lacks cohesion and engaging melody. (8.25/10)

7. "The Mirror and the Lie" (6:43) gentle and beautiful, this is another Motorpsycho song that reminds me of their Swedish compatriots, BROTHER APE (a group that has a real gift for producing endless earworm melodies). In the final quarter it feels as if a fantastical dream sequence is being played out. Quite magical. Another top three song for me. (13/10)

8. "Serpentine" (5:17) sounds like a happy-go-lucky pop song from the 70s--like Harry Nilsson, Andy Partridge lite, or FreddeGredde. (8.25/10)

9. "Custer's Last Stand (One More Daemon)" (4:06) trying very hard to incorporate some stereotypic "Indian" musical themes, this RADIOHEAD-like song has a lead vocal that is a little oddly paired with the music. I like the drumming--the way they're recorded--on this one. (8.5/10)

10. "Composite Head" (2:26) weird, almost-PRINCE-like start turns quickly into a variation on THE BEATLES' "Paperback Rider"--with twin Allman Brothers-like guitars. (4.25/5)

Total Time: 50:12

So many instruments, so little time! Maybe a little too scattered.

C/3.5 stars; a nice addition but totally non-essential; nice if you're a fan of the band.

 Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.20 | 510 ratings

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

Review by Nhelv

5 stars This album is an absolute marvel. It was the first Motorpsycho album I heard and ever since I've been listening to the band constantly. This record for sure remains as one of the best works from the band and works amazingly from beginning to end.

The Death Defying Unicorn actually encapsulates multiple genres. From classic eclectic prog, to disco, modern composition, dissonance, progressive rock, crossover prog, progressive metal among others. Because of such thing, you can totally expect an incredibly dynamic and constantly-changing record. As an example, The Hollow Woods is a track oriented a lot in Crossover Phideaux-like music, while Through The Veil takes strong classic rock influences and merges them with atonality.

The second side is far more experimental. It's much more orchestra-oriented however it still maintains the progressive rock influences, as shown in the brilliant Sharks/Mutiny duo. The album ends with a seven minute reprise of The Hollow Woods, called Into The Mystic, which gives it a great sense of continuity.

I find this album to be very enjoyable from beginning to end, its lows aren't low at all and it's highs are surely memorable. Essential record for me, and I can absolutely see eclectic progressive rock fans enjoying this one. Five Stars!

 Phanerothyme by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 135 ratings

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Phanerothyme
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Here's an album that I just stumbled upon when I was researching music for a two radio show on busy-man Ketil Vestrum Einarsen. I've always liked Motorpsycho, but I only discovered them in 2010 with Heavy Metal Fruit. I've never made time to backtrack into their voluminous discography--until now! And, wow! Am I glad I did! The band wasn't always so grungy, so heavy! They were actually light, diversified, folkie, and humorous! What a surprise! This is such a fun album to listen to--so many fun songs from such a variety of styles--and so much less treatment of the instruments and Bent's lead voice.

1. "Bedroom Eyes" (2:18) gentle folk rock with great Beatles-like melody. (4.5/5)

2. "For Free" (5:13) rocking with that chunky bass, this is more like the electric Dylan imitators--though lighter and bouncier than Dylan. Great engineering with beautiful orchestral support. The instrumental section is definitely the best--where everything comes shining through. A song that really grew on my with repeated listens. (8.75/10)

3. "B.S." (3:41) opens with a 1960/70s sound and feel. I love Bent's unadulterated, vulnerable vocal. Great instrumental section in the second minute--kind of Jimmy Webb/Burt Bacharach. Nostalgic yet fresh and so enjoyable. This sounds more like the upbeat, poppy side of countrymates BROTHER APE. (9/10)

4. "Landslide" (4:38) orchestral opening gives way to BLIND FAITH-like acoustic guitar, piano and vocal. Bass and drums join in for the second verse. A different lead vocalist for this one. Quirky and funny--like an early prog song--a cross between CSN and early solo Paul McCartney. Great composition with great engineering and vocal harmonies and awesome orchestral arrangements. The instrumental finish is the best. (8.75/10)

5. "Go to California" (8:01) Like an experimental Brian Wilson piece. After the a cappella vocal opening, a great pulsing beat is established with upbeat guitar and keyboard-supported chord sequence. Love the playful flute flitting in and out of the song's vocal and instrumental lines. Great vocal arrangements for the collective throughout--culminating with a great chorus. Big key shift in the third minute leads into a DOORS-like "Riders on the Storm" heavily-treated electric piano solo in the fourth and fifth minutes. I would go so far as to say that the band is fully intentional with its imitation and even replication of some of THE DOORS' soli in this instrumental section--both Fender Rhodes and electric guitar. But it's done so well, so tastefully--one of the best, most respectful and yet inspired "covers" I've ever heard. (19/20)

6. "Painting the Night Unreal" (6:31) slow, late night jazz; sounds like something George Harrison would have done impromptu with a lounge jazz combo. Another different lead vocal style here--a more gentle, sensitive vocal approach. Nice, confident (ballsy) composition. In the fifth minute it gets dirty and grungy as the singer shifts into a raspy screaming voice à la Paul McCartney in some of his more forceful vocal performances. Could be Spirit or another one of the blues-rock proto-prog bands of the 1960s. (8.75/10)

7. "The Slow Phaseout" (4:30) Nice Jane's Addiction/Porno For Pyros-like song. Great chorus. Once again, the instrumental passages are so magical, so subtly sophisticated. Such great composers! (Funny video, guys, with that all-female cover band sitting in your places.) (8.75/10)

8. "Blindfolded" (3:44) soft picked acoustic guitars and piano support easy-going Steve Winwood-like vocal performance. Great rhythm tracks and orchestral support. What amazing arranging/composition skills! Plus a great vocal/lyrical performance. Definitely a top three song for me among a whole album of great songs. (9.25/10)

9. "When You're Dead" (4:52) twangy electric guitar, banjo and horn provide opening weave but are totally supplanted by acoustic guitar when gentle whispery vocal enters. Nice melodies, but I don't like the chorus--a bit abrasive and messy with so many instruments joining in all at once: it's almost startling! Great trumpet solo over such a beautiful passage in the third minute--once again, such great orchestral support. I;m torn: there are parts I LOVE yet parts that irritate me. (8.75/10)

Total Time: 43:31

Single release bonus: "Go to California" (3:11) Like an experimental Brian Wilson piece. After the a cappella vocal opening, a great pulsing beat is established with upbeat guitar and keyboard-supported chord sequence. Love the playful flute flitting in and out of the song's vocal and instrumental lines. Great vocal arrangements for the collective throughout--culminating with a great chorus. (9/10)

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music--despite being rather imitative of the 1960s proto-prog era of music, these compositions are so masterful as to supercede anything that has come before. This album is such a delight, such an amazing display of compositional genius, that I just have to bump it up as a five star masterpiece!

Definitely my favorite Motorspycho album I've ever heard--and an instigator to further explorations of the band's past. I'm just blown away!

 The Tower by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 248 ratings

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The Tower
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I think this is MOTORPSYCHO's first concept record since "The Death Defying Unicorn", but I could be wrong. A double cd but thankfully they are old school at 42 and 43 minutes in length respectively. I gotta say I gave up on this band at one point, they just weren't my thing and then all these glowing reviews for "The Death Defying Unicorn" and I bit and I'm so glad I did. They changed again after that one to what I call psychedelic sunshine styled music with those high pitched vocals and uplifting sound. Thankfully they haven't given up on adding some heaviness at times. So from 2012 to 2017 this band has hit my sweet spot. Albums like "Still Life With Eggplant", "Behind The Sun", "Here Be Monsters" and this one "The Tower" are all top notch in my books. I was surprised to hear the drummer Kenneth Kapstad left after "Here Be Monsters". He has his side projects for sure like MOSTER! and SPIDERGAWD" and other stuff keeps this talented drummer busy. A trio here with a guest who adds vocals to one track, guitar to two tracks and flute to another. Some very cool pictures in the liner notes. They divide the story into four sections with tracks 1-3 being the opening section followed by tracks 4-6 then 7, 8 before the closing section of songs 9 and 10.

So much good music on here and the opener is one of my favourite tunes on here called "The Tower". A quiet start but it does turn heavy before a minute. So good! Vocals follow. An interesting change at 3 1/2 minutes as we get this urgent rhythm section with guitar over top and no vocals. Check out those keyboards too. Just ripping it up until around 6 1/2 minutes when a calm arrives. "Intrepid Explorer" is another highlight. This one is different as it opens dark yet mellow. Reserved vocals just before a minute. It's getting fuller at 2 1/2 minutes then it settles back with bass only as guitar and drums join in. So good as it builds. This is intense like ELEPHANT9. Big fan of "In Every Dream Home(There's A Dream Of something Else)" especially the lyrics but this one has some heaviness that I like as well. Disc two isn't as strong in my opinion. I like the mellotron-like sounds early on "The Cuckoo" then the heaviness arrives. Vocals just before a minute. Nice guitar solo follows as vocals step aside. Killer section from after 5 minutes to after 11 minutes on the closer "Ship Of Fools".

4 stars seems perfect for me. This is a keeper along with the others by them that I have mentioned.

 Kingdom of Oblivion by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.88 | 119 ratings

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Kingdom of Oblivion
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars At the start of the year, Norwegian prog-rockers Motorpsycho announced a new full-length album, which they described as a return to a more direct "heavy" sound akin to some of their 1990s output. That intrigued me. Although I liked a lot the all-encompassing prog rock extravaganza of their most recent albums (2020's The All Is One is an absolute masterpiece), I missed the simpler heavy rock of some of their earlier works. Kingdom of Oblivion was eventually released in April, sporting the same line-up responsible for Motorpsycho's last couple of records, with Bent Sæther on lead vocals and bass/guitar/keyboards, Hans Magnus Ryan on lead guitar and keyboards, and Tomas Järmyr on drums. Swedish guitarist, and long-time collaborator of the band, Reine Fiske is also listed as a contributor on the record.

The first time I listened to Kingdom of Oblivion, two things immediately stood out for me. First, as promised, the music is indeed more metallic than before, edging on the heavy/space rock side of the progressive scale, with generous echoes of Black Sabbath and Hawkwind running through the album. Songs like "The Waning", the title-track, and "The United Debased" all develop from simple but effective bass grooves or guitar riffs that are repeated obsessively as the song builds and builds amidst seas of distortion and trippy keyboards. Järmyr's drumming is perhaps less spectacular than on the previous couple of albums, but it's effective and keeps a good groove, which is what the songs really need. The vocals are often edgy, almost angry, at times channelling the spirit of an Ozzy of time past.

The second aspect of Kingdom of Oblivion that stood out is that, Motorpsycho being Motorpsycho, this couldn't "just" be a heavy rock album. Things were bound to get weirder. And indeed they do. The third track "Lady May" marks the first deviation from the promised heavy sound of the album. It's a pastoral little piece with acoustic guitar and ethereal vocals that could have been lifted from a 1970s Canterbury record. The following track "The United Debased" goes back to the heavy rock canon, deceiving the listener in believing that, perhaps, "Lady May" was just a sporadic interlude. But no, things just get weirder and weirder after that, with "The Watcher" and "Dreamkiller". The first is a soundscape made up of ambient noises, whispers and a hypnotic bass line. "Dreamkiller" develops from a psychedelic vocal choir into a hellish dreamscape built around a sinister guitar riff and a magnetic and trippy mellotron motif. By the time the acoustic instrumental piece "Atet" comes by, the listener has all but forgotten that Kingdom of Oblivion was supposed to be a simple heavy rock album.

The last part of the record marks a return to the initial metallic sound, but without forgetting all the weirdness that has passed by. It's the best of both worlds, exemplified by tracks like "At Empire's End" (probably the best song of the record, built around a formidable guitar riff), the oddly mutant "The Hunt" (starting all gentle and pastoral with flutes and acoustic guitars, before a groovy guitar ostinato makes space for something that sounds like a hissing teapot - I kid you not!), and the aptly titled "The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker". If you are wondering what the hell a cosmoctopus is, I'll tell you: it's the bastard child of Tony Iommi and a creature that came out from Alice in Wonderland, all spaced-out and dazed.

Kingdom of Oblivion is yet another great album from the Stakhanovs of progressive rock. With 24 full-lengths over 30 years of career, the Norwegians are surely one of the most prolific rock bands on earth. Astonishingly, they also almost never ever drop the ball: the quality of each new album remains high, release after release. Kingdom of Oblivion is no exception. It's not a super-easy album to get into, because it's weird. But I grew to love it because of this. It's one of those records that take you by hand and lead you on a trip where nothing is like it seems, and where everything is allowed to grow, develop and mutate into something else. We need more albums like this: metallic and heavy, but also adventurous, challenging, and daring. In four words: a work of art.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.78 | 32 ratings

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Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Back in the 90's, when Motorpsycho was experimenting with it's sound, the main members of the band decided to try their hands at alt-country-rock and did it in the guise of another band performing music for a soundtrack to an imaginary western. It ended up getting a completely separate life of it's own in Europe, so much so, that the band decided to do another album in 2004. That is what this particular album is: "The International Tussler Society". This time around, Motorpsycho and friends is even more convincing than the previous attempt, and what they ended up with is this very respectable southern rock style album that pays homage to bands like The Byrds, The Allman Brothers and Gram Parsons just to name a few. This time around, they hit the style right on the nose and could have easily continued playing incognito and earned quite a decent amount of respect in the Americas.

This is a very fun album and quite an excellent bunch of songs that will make you almost swear you are listening to new music from the aforementioned bands and artists. A word of warning, however. This is not progressive music in the least, so you need to go into this album with that in mind. It is straightforward country rock at it's best. If this wasn't a progressive site, I would have given this album 5 stars easily. There are some really great tracks here, especially when they allow the guitars to run wild with southern-style jamming, which happens quite often here. "September" and "Satan's Favorite Son" are excellent multi-textured tracks that will bring back memories of earlier and more exploratory country rock, "That Ol' White Line" and "When We Were One" will remind you of Gram Parson's era The Byrds and also Buffalo Springfield, and best of all, "The Skies Are Full of....Wine?", "The West Ain't What it Used to Be" and "Cassie (Call on Me" would easily pass as music The Allman Brothers would perform.

It may seem strange that a psych/stoner/prog band like Motorpsycho would be able to convincingly pull this off, especially since they don't even come from anywhere in the Americas, and since this is so far away from the music they normally play under their usual moniker, but they do pull it off quite well, enough to give this a four star rating even on a prog site. Of course, Motorpsycho fans will still rant and rave about it because it is so well done, but if more people would expand their music tastes beyond their own borders, there would be a lot more fans out there. This is a very fun album, and also a very entertaining one too. Besides, prog giant Devin Townsend also did this and also did it quite well with his side band "Casualties of Cool", so why can't a great band as Motopsycho be able to do it too? (They actually did it before Hevy Devy). Anyway, this one is a lot of fun and is easily a four star album, even in a prog site.

 Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.20 | 510 ratings

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

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars Motorpsycho is a band that I've been wanting to explore the discography of for a really long time at this point, predominantly for the simple reason that The Death Defying Unicorn is not only one of the best prog albums of the decade, but one of the best prog albums ever created in general. The Death Defying Unicorn is an album that feels as if it manages to get almost everything right that it sets out to do. The story told is evocative and plays perfectly into being able to support some very strong atmosphere, which the album capitalises upon very frequently to the point where so much of what is explored can be understood purely through the music. The vast array of instrumentation brought into the fray further reinforces how strong the imagery can be and how intense things can get as well, with both a brass and string orchestra being integrated through the psychedelic, dense compositions to give them further depth and dramatic flair. With this album, it's not just a case of how much it feels that it does that makes it so impressive, but the fact that every element of it goes so far beyond what one could typically expect from such ideas, ensuring that not a single element of their craft feels underutilised or even merely just good, all culminating in one of the finest albums out there.

The album immediately kicks off and represents how utterly inspired and intense it is with the intro track Out of the Woods, with the very first note being a high pitched, shaky clarinet tone that carries on for an extremely long time, creating an uneasy tone with a sense of underlying beauty and chaos that's only elevated once the horns and strings come in. I love the way it almost sounds as if these instruments are battling against one another as the strings in the background add some theatricality and majesty to it all, with an increasingly huge amount of layers being piled on top, the most satisfying being once you get to hear the melodic intro of The Hollow Lands. This works not only because of immediately creating a throughline between the two tracks and having them transition nicely, but also allows what essentially feels like 3 minutes of buildup to completely erupt into a flurry of power from everything, the drums going all over the place, playing in such a way that barely holds any sense of rhythm and instead more closely resembles the aggressive crashing of waves to immediately establish the nautical theme the album takes on. This chaotic intro is balanced nicely with some more stripped back sections that introduce the vocals, which throughout are sung and harmonised by 2 of the band members and give off a rather unique effect that makes them sound constantly drowned out, yet with a distinct sense of intensity. I feel this represents the tumultuous mental state of the main character rather well as he's forced to embark on a journey he never wanted to be a part of, with the crashing drums creating some very evocative imagery of the threats to allow the listener to further sympathise, with the atmosphere and soundscapes being that of danger and exploration of the unknown. This song does an utterly fantastic job at setting the tone and direction quite a bit of the album takes on, and even ends with a moment of beautiful melancholy with some soft string arrangements that further adds to the storytelling.

With all of this said however, the peak of the album's exploration of inner turmoil and fear is Through the Veil. While the song is 16 minutes long, I'm confident that every moment of it serves to contribute both to itself and the album as a whole, from the gradually building intro to the remorseful conclusion. One of my favourite things about the song however is its main riff, as not only does it sound extremely groovy and memorable, but it gives off some really strong Black Sabbath vibes that I absolutely love in this, adding yet another dimension of sound to something that's already got 5 different things going on at all times. Much of the chaos that The Hollow Lands brought forth is toned down in favour of being an increasingly intense display of regret, which ends up giving off a subtle, yet undoubtedly noticeable tonal difference as well, with the song tapering off at multiple points and bringing forth these long, fast-paced passages, almost as if the vocals are being interrupted by powerful outside forces. Stuff like this is part of what I find makes this album so special, just the way that so much attention is paid to these details to make the music work as a storytelling device without sacrificing anything at all, still sounding phenomenal at basically any point. The track also comes to a close in a pretty clever way after the music reaches some insane climactic moments, shifting this anger at the situation that was created into one of quiet resignation and acceptance, the repeated line of "I can never go back there" being particularly chilling for this reason, as well as foreshadowing the direction a lot of what's left of the album ends up taking. This progression from having the loud, intense moments of music representing a character to instead representing the harsh surroundings the story takes place in ends up giving the album all the more character along with the ability to craft some even more full-on passages.

Into the Gyre represents this change rather well, as despite the fact that the song's about a ship getting completely destroyed by the sea in a very violent way, the first half of things are extremely light and minimalistic, which mirrors this sense of quiet resignation about the situation. With that said, not only does this end up being the magnum opus of an album full of masterpieces, but it just feels like it manages to go even a step further than everything else. With this said, my favourite moment here is those first few minutes, with everything being played so softly that you can here the clarinet players breathing through their instruments and the subtle differences in airflow thanks to the reeds being opened and closed, with other elements like interwoven tambourines and the central flute melody contributing even further to the feeling of lushness. I particularly like the way that this force of nature isn't even musically represented in what could be considered an evil way or anything as well, instead bring framed in a threatening, yet completely beautiful and majestic light, with passages of sweeping strings completely engulfing everything. The next portion of the album, from Flotsam to Sharks all carries a very similar feel to it, but it's one that I find really admirable and interesting. Not much really happens here, everything has a tendency to just feel very, very sparse. This sets up a tone that feels truly hopeless, with the only moments of heightened emotion coming in the form of desperate cries for help that you already know will be answered by nobody, really capturing this feeling of being totally alone in what feels like a truly impossible situation. With this said, I do understand that some might not really enjoy this, especially in the case of La Lethe, with is basically 8 minutes of sparse instrumentation that sounds akin to small waves slowly rocking assorted pieces of driftwood and rafts, but I just think that it adds to much to the album to get this extended period of total isolation.

Sharks is where the album starts to pick up again, but also manages to start off at the album's emotional low point with the simple but effective technique of simply having only one of the vocalists take part at first. This immediately makes everything feel incredibly empty and has the eventual buildup and first moment of energy in about 25 minutes feel absolutely gargantuan, with the alternating horns and strings being incredible at conveying a growing sense of resentment and desire to do literally anything about what still feels hopeless. This moves into Mutiny! flawlessly and ends up being yet another of the many moments here that I consider perfect. The ascending strings, the bass, everything about the song just has a driven feel to it completely devoid of any uncertainty or tentative feelings, a moment of complete triumph within what's been a largely miserable experience, and it just doesn't stop for the entire duration of the song and just, wow, what an incredible release and moment of positivity from within an album that constantly conveys things going horribly wrong. The true genius however, is the fact that Into The Mystic exists, taking this fury and triumph, and then revealing that it literally didn't change the situation at all, everyone left is still going to die, there's still nobody to find their wreck, it's still the end of the road for them. Despite this, the track which is mostly a reprise of The Hollow Lands, just with different lyrics, ends off on a far more positive note, with the melancholic strings being replaced with a far more energetic arrangement with some lovely mellotron, which at first could seem a bit strange, until it's all revealed where so much of this fear and frustration that's been perpetuated throughout stems from. In the end, the main cause of so much strife is that of lacking any control or agency, making what could seem like a fruitless endeavour to some end up becoming such a pure moment of hope. Sure, the protagonist ends up being alone at sea, but he still feels as if he can accept it optimistically now, knowing that he did all in his power and took back his life in those final moments, a moral victory like no other, and leaves the album on a profoundly bittersweet note that I'm a huge fan of.

Overall, while there may be some small issues throughout The Death Defying Unicorn, it is nonetheless one of the boldest and most exciting prog album I've heard. The blending of psychedelic rock and prog with such bombastic string and horn arrangements give the album something special, especially with how perfectly integrated they really are, making them feel like more than just another flavour of the standard prog formula, instead sounding just like itself and like barely anything else to quite the same effect. Albums like this prove that even if progressive rock might not have the same popularity or universal appeal as it once did, but it's by no means dead, with some of the genre's best material still coming out these days. If there's one prog album to check out from the 2010s, then it's definitely this one in my opinion, there's just so much right with it and so little that I could consider a flaw, insane stuff.

Best tracks: Through the Veil, Into the Gyre, Mutiny!, Into the Mystic

Weakest tracks: Doldrums

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

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