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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 | 44 ratings
Lobotomizer
1991
3.83 | 74 ratings
Demon Box
1993
3.84 | 100 ratings
Timothy's Monster
1994
3.07 | 27 ratings
The Tussler
1994
3.29 | 57 ratings
Blissard
1996
3.52 | 66 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play
1997
4.09 | 104 ratings
Trust Us
1998
3.92 | 81 ratings
Let Them Eat Cake
2000
4.05 | 124 ratings
Phanerothyme
2001
3.78 | 59 ratings
It's A Love Cult
2002
3.86 | 28 ratings
Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society
2004
3.64 | 77 ratings
Black Hole / Blank Canvas
2006
3.87 | 115 ratings
Little Lucid Moments
2008
3.55 | 58 ratings
Child Of The Future
2009
3.82 | 229 ratings
Heavy Metal Fruit
2010
4.19 | 495 ratings
Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken: The Death Defying Unicorn
2012
3.92 | 196 ratings
Still Life With Eggplant
2013
3.99 | 337 ratings
Behind The Sun
2014
3.86 | 143 ratings
Here Be Monsters
2016
3.71 | 16 ratings
Begynnelser
2017
3.99 | 243 ratings
The Tower
2017
3.78 | 118 ratings
The Crucible
2019
4.00 | 157 ratings
The All Is One
2020
3.90 | 93 ratings
Kingdom of Oblivion
2021

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

4.40 | 10 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 1 - Heavy Metall Iz A Poze, Hardt Rock Iz A Laifschteil - Live In Europe 1998
1999
3.67 | 6 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 2 - The MotorSourceMassacre - Motorpsycho, The Source & Deathprod Live At Kongsberg Jazzfestival 1995
2000
4.08 | 15 ratings
Roadwork Vol. 4 - Intrepid Skronk
2011
3.67 | 6 ratings
Strings Of Stroop - Live At Effenaar
2011
4.31 | 13 ratings
Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken: En Konsert For Folk Flest
2015
5.00 | 1 ratings
A Boxful Of Demons
2018
4.00 | 3 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)

3.26 | 12 ratings
8 Soothing Songs For Rut
1992
5.00 | 1 ratings
Angels And Daemons At Play
1997
4.33 | 3 ratings
Timothy's Monster - Deluxe Edition
2010
4.00 | 3 ratings
Blissard - Deluxe Edition
2012
4.75 | 8 ratings
Demon Box - Deluxe Edition
2014
4.80 | 10 ratings
Supersonic Scientists - A Young Person's Guide To Motorpsycho
2015
4.33 | 3 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
3.78 | 9 ratings
Mountain EP
1993
3.57 | 7 ratings
Another Ugly EP
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Leave It Like That
1994
3.00 | 4 ratings
Wearing Yr Smell
1994
3.71 | 7 ratings
The Nerve Tattoo
1995
3.50 | 4 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
4.00 | 1 ratings
Lovelight
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sinful, Wind-Borne
1997
3.96 | 9 ratings
Starmelt EP
1997
4.40 | 5 ratings
Ozone
1998
3.40 | 5 ratings
Hey, Jane
1998
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Other Fool EP
2000
1.48 | 6 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
3.94 | 102 ratings
Motorpsycho & Jaga Jazzist Horns: In The Fishtank
2002
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
3.56 | 9 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
3.07 | 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
4.00 | 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
 Kingdom of Oblivion by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.90 | 93 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
3.86 | 28 ratings

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Motorpsycho Presents The International Tussler Society
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

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
4.19 | 495 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

 Kingdom of Oblivion by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.90 | 93 ratings

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Kingdom of Oblivion
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars How to start this review and not mention that this band released 24 studio albums between 1991 and 2021. During this period they touched on many different types of genres including a mix of alternative rock with metal elements (appearing from time to time), jazz style, but the most famous are in the domain of heavy psych / space/eclectic, which is driven by heavy guitar riff sounds.

Prolific and tireless as always, they return after the recent "Gullvåg Trilogy" (where they showed all their strength and presented to the world three fantastic albums full of eclectic prog) with "Kingdom Of Oblivion", the new pearl of their vast discography. Psychedelic, progressive, psych-folk and doom tracks continue to intertwine to create constantly interesting sounds, although certainly not new. A stainless recipe that maintains truly enviable levels of quality. "Kingdom Of Oblivion" was born in the wake of the great "The All Is One", repeating perhaps the same defects, which are minimal and the real question is whether there are any at all, but also tracing its merits.

In the twelve pieces, the longest ones certainly stand out, those that come closest to the idea of a suite with variations in timing and increasing complexity. The title track is an example of this, from the Sabbathian riff to the more typically prog succession with well-chosen melodies and epic breaths. The apotheosis, however, is reached in "The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker", a vertex of complexity, changing tempos and prog-metal aggression. An evolved hard-rock without obvious references to particular bands (unlike others) is present in the remarkable "The Waning", divided into two parts, and in "The United Debased" quite close to the sound of Deep Purple.

So, having reached the end of this whirlwind of psychedelic hard rock, after crossing stoner, folk and ambient landscapes, we can only bow to yet another great record by the Norwegian trio. Kingdom Of Oblivion does nothing but reconfirm the greatness of Motorpsycho and contributes to enrich a vast discography and practically without weak points. Let's just listen and enjoy, as long as these three crazy people continue to give us their art we will always be here to welcome them with open arms.

 Motorpsycho & Jaga Jazzist Horns: In The Fishtank by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
3.94 | 102 ratings

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Motorpsycho & Jaga Jazzist Horns: In The Fishtank
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The "In the Fishtank" collection is comprised of a series of EPs that were produced by independent music distributor Konkurrent from the Netherlands. These EPs were each done by different bands that were invited to participate. The bands would record original music for these EPs and were given 2 days worth of studio time to come up with the material for each EP. Most of the EPs were either recorded by one or two individual bands. Some of the bands that were invited to participate in the project were "Tortoise", "Sonic Youth", "June of 44", "Motorpsycho", "Jaga Jazzist" and "Isis" among many others.

In the Fishtank 10 consists of a collaboration with Motorpsycho and the Jaga Jazzist Horns section. Both bands actually did a series of gigs together in 2002 and decided to take advantage of their collaboration by recording this In the Fishtank episode. This collaboration sees both band stepping out from their comfort zones to produce a record that consists of a jazz fusion style with little snippets of their usual sound, some free jazz and some experimental jams. The album actually clocks in at over 46 minutes, but is still considered an EP since it only has 5 tracks (one being a remake, one being a cover and one being a long, drawn out jam).

Motorpsycho consists of their usual trio line-up of the time, but also includes a guest Baard Slagsvold helping out with piano, vocals and some other instruments. The Jaga Jazzist Horns consists of 3 members of the Jaga Jazzist experimental project namely Mathias Eick, Lars Horntveth and Jogen Munkeby, each one playing quite an array of instruments mostly in the brass family, but also flute, clarinet, marimbas, vibraphones and percussion.

Bombay Brassiere - Begins with an ambient, floating groove with sparse percussion and a smooth bass line. The horns finally come in playing in a sexy and improvised manner, but staying quite level. After the halfway mark, the tempo picks up a little becoming more direct and the horns harmonize in a strange, discordant way. The guitars create a drone deep in the background while percussion drives the horns forward.

Pills, Powders and Passion Plays - Another smooth groove begins and the horns establish themselves early, but this time vocals soon come in. The feel stays quite laid back even with the directness of the lyrics. In the long instrumental break, the guitar takes over a melody with a cool bass line and the horns keeping it soft letting the guitar have the limelight this time. It's a very cool, jazz groove that reminds you of a city night. The sound can put you into a nice spell especially when the mellow trumpet takes charge. The vocals come back quite a while later and retain the dreamy atmosphere. This track is actually a reworking of the song of the same title from Motorpsycho's "Angels and Daemons at Play"

Doffen Ah Um - This track is a bit more free-form and experimental. Wandering brass and meandering guitar play for a while, but then is suddenly interrupted by a much heavier brass notes, chunky guitar chords and uneven drums. The jazz style becomes a bit more traditional sounding in the 2nd half of the track, but it all doesn't pare together well making it sound a bit clumsy.

Theme de Yoyo - This one is actually a cover of a song originally done by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This starts with a cool, bass groove which is soon mimicked by a low sax and joined by the trumpet before blasting off with some nice hits from the guitar and occasional dissonant outbursts. Some interesting vocals come in that give it a humorous tone. Vocals and instrumental sections trade off before it slips into a nice sax solo while the cool groove continues. As it goes along, the sax gets wilder and wilder. After a while, the lead gets passed over to a loud guitar solo. It's a nice combination of stoner fusion, if you can just imagine that. The over-the-top vocals come back at the last section. It's quite a cool combination of both straightforward and bizarre.

Tristano - Ambient at first, this one builds slowly off of a trance-like bass line, meandering along with twinkling guitar, keys, clunky percussion and sometimes noisy feedback. You start to hear some of the flutes and brass play around in the background from time to time. It's mostly quiet with occasional high drones building in volume and then suddenly dropping off. This meandering goes on for over 10 minutes before it sounds like it might be going somewhere, but it all levels off to more wandering, staying a bit subdued except for the occasional builds and drop offs. After all is said and done, you get 20 minutes of this improvisation that does at least build up consistently in the last 5-6 minutes, but you have to wait a long time for the payoff, which it does come eventually.

So this is mostly a fairly decent record with 3 excellent tracks, one shorter mediocre track ("Doffen Ah Um") and a long 20 minute track that overstays it's welcome, which if it was cut down to 10 minutes, it would have been just as effective as the final payoff is quite excellent. But the long track actually takes away from the overall enjoyment of the album, unfortunately, cutting this down to a 3 star album. That's really too bad because it would otherwise be a strong 4 star album.

 Kingdom of Oblivion by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.90 | 93 ratings

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Kingdom of Oblivion
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars MOTORPSYCHO, this Norwegian group almost older than their age, atypical hard rock group playing for more than 30 years on the progressive atmospheres of dinosaurs; MOTORPSYCHO or how to regress and release an album oozing with dignity the BLACK SABBATH, LED ZEPPELIN and other MONSTER MAGNET. Album recorded in France before this famous pandemic on a psychedelic progressive hard rock version and after their insane trilogy Gullvåg; the 2020 one had one of the best vibes for my anvils and calipers; let's see what it is about this one knowing that they wanted to do heavy and move away from alternative rock, to do dirty hard rock, hyperbolic grunge in its creation, a trip out of rock time, good that it's for those looking for labels!

"The Waning (pt. 1 & 2)" starts with a heavy metal riff à la BLACK SABBATH quite monolithic, then it starts with a psyche atmosphere à la HAWKWIND; the fruity guitar, clear in the background is gradually staged with a burlesque jam worthy of the BEATLES time, it gradually turns on MONSTER MAGNET and MOTORPSYCHO that's good, the bass becoming more pregnant, the end with a little bucolic wind. "Kingdom of Oblivion" reminds me of MURKY RED and picks up on a 70's tune, retro as it should be but with maddening psyche rhythm and Ozzy vocals; a grandiloquent, bewitching tune, a depressive, sticky musical trance, a final as we can no longer imagine them. "Lady May 1" for an acoustic, folk, primary interlude, in the sounds of the fabulous YES who sought to get closer to the sun without burning the elders; we regress again, we settle down like Blackmore who got into acoustics as he got older; a title that comes out of its predecessors, the hypnotic guitar in place. "The United Debased" returns to a sound that is both heavier and vintage for the shouted voice, bass and keyboards. A surge of adrenaline that goes crescendo with an intense and minimalist solo à la Tony Iommi which slides in the ears; a jazz-rock break, an old and old-fashioned sound that gives off such a lot of energy that trance is inevitable, both for memories and riffs of older bands, BLACK SABBATH still being in the sights. "The Watcher" and a wonderful high entry on a 1972 cover of HAWKWIND; from the psyche, from berliner school to TANGERINE DREAM like on 'Sorcerer', a bit of early PINK FLOYD too; it hovers hard, it denotes 360 ° with the sounds from before; it's confusing and that's what makes MOTORPSYCHO so strong to be able to take us so far away at once and to follow on "Dreamkiller" always hovering, psyche, vintage, acoustic, reminiscent of a sound that the we believed lost forever; ah the recognizable riff and the rest is over; the sonorous deluge is to the storm of the Azores what our ears undergo; the keyboard of the time beforehand adds more; bam, it breaks to fall back on the sounds of departure and one wonders if we have not dreamed of the whole thing with a redundant arpeggio.

"Atet" thus imposes itself with its soft and airy instrumental acoustic track to rest you because they know it that you are a little lost in this musical maelstrom, in short a little calm and "At Empire´s End" tumbles, soft acoustic which goes up then which returns to a basic verse, to follow on this confusing psyche sound; epic track signing one of MOTORPSYCHO's hallmarks, calm, storm and vice versa. Reminiscences with LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD for the musical oxymoron revealed by the sweetness decked out in its cataclysm; a psyche made in 2020 with gentleness and violence and a dreamlike journey from the 70's to the 2020s; the starting riff returns as if to keep us in the same world, the same landscape, the distortion hanging up on us more with 2020. "The Hunt" arrives, strange folk title where JETHRO TULL can make us think, LED ZEPPELIN also with this acoustic guitar evident on 'The Battle Of Evermore'; middle-aged atmosphere suddenly, then oriental, that's it, it starts again in all directions, remaining soft, without explosion, a bit of OLDFIELD now; complex crescendic title. "After The Fair" and the primary acoustic interlude, a rest area like the parking space at Monopoly. "The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker" arrives: heavy title, mischievous, energetic; haunting mantra guitar riff, Rob ZOMBIE isn't far away; melting and hypnotizing voices, mind-boggling title which rises which rises, the orgasmic musical trance is there, quite simply: the sound is disconcerting between a fusion of grunge, funk, groove, heavy, catchy psyche, astonishing, impromptu; this long dreamlike climb stops at the end and risks leaving you transfixed, dazed. "Cormorant" for the finale, still old-school, on a BOF, the calm end after the storm, song for the warrior's rest, an instrumental putting the "END" in front of your eyes, also reminding you that the prog or whatever is left of it has gone for an hour in your ears from the velvety psyche to the energetic heavy.

MOTORPSYCHO wanted to dust off and surprise, it's done. They wanted to immerse us in a retro heavy- futuristic, it's done. They wanted the dizzying, the grandiose, the melodic, the cataclysmic, a colorful masterpiece, it's done. A singular sound, recognizable that will be uncomfortable as it advances into the innovative and progressive regions of rock itself. MOTORPSYCHO does something different in the same scales and imitation in different notes and tunes. Bluffing and nostalgic.

 The Tower by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.99 | 243 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
3.78 | 118 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 | 157 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
3.99 | 243 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.

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

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