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Motorpsycho - Behind The Sun CD (album) cover

BEHIND THE SUN

Motorpsycho

 

Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 296 ratings

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Roland113
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars . . . In my not so humble opinion . . .

This album is not what I was expecting in the slightest.

Ok, so I'll admit it, I stereotyped these guys based on their name, 'Motorpsycho, sounds like some death metal doom outfit that makes me long for Mike Portnoy's growls'. I was wrong, horribly wrong. This is currently my front runner for the album of the year. Seriously, let that sink in, when a Neo Guy is giving serious consideration to picking an eclectic album over IQ's best release in a decade, you know that there's something special about this album. For me, this album transcends genre tendencies, which is huge.

This album is stylistically variable, but has a strong seventies, jam band feel with vocals reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash mixed in with random walls of chaos and drum crashes. In general, guitar player Snah Ryan does a fantastic job balancing noodling with shredding (suddenly I have a desire for haluski). Drummer Kenneth Kapstad matches Ryan's intensity often shredding the skins in time with Ryan's guitar. Bass player Bent Saether however makes this band stand out. As I mentioned before, Motorpsycho has a sense of a seventies jam band, and a lot of this comes from Saether's rolling bass lines. So often Ryan and Kapstad will go into a chaotic frenzy but Saether holds the fort down with an almost light hearted back track.

"Cloudwalker" is a great intro for the album, it starts with a gentle build up but once the song proper kicks in we get a good idea of what is to come, the CSN vocals and Saether's rolling bass keeping time. "Ghost" is a down tempo ballad that kind of reminds me of old Crimson. "On a Plate" could have come off of a Beardfish album, the song gives us the first real chance to hear Ryan's excellent solo work. "The Promise" continues with the Beardfish feel, though this is the first real glimpse of the chaos that this band can pull off.

"Kvaestor" was the song that initially grabbed my attention for this album. I listen to a lot of prog as background music to my work day, every once in a while, something is really good and grabs my attention enough to shift my focus away from work for long enough to register it as something worthy of further exploration. This was the song that did it for me. The main part of this song exemplifies the seventies jam feel, Saether's groove sets the tone while Ryan noodles along with a feel reminiscent of "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers. During the jam, don't miss Kapstad's intricate drumming behind the stringed instruments. His drumming is almost as intrinsic to the melody as the other two.

While Kvaestor made me give the album a critical listen, "Hell, Part 4-6"hooked me as a huge fan. Part 4 is a cool, rolling indie rock sounding cry over lost love with a lot of cool guitar licks intertwining again with Saether's bass. Part 5 is a soft, transitional piece that you could expect to hear on Selling England, full of acoustic guitars, Melotron and flute sounding melodies.

But then Part 6 hits! The wall of sound at the 8:10 mark gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. This is easily my favorite bit of music that I've heard in a long time. It's almost a very heavy sounding Steve Hackett a-la "Valley of the Kings". Ryan's soaring guitar over the heavy groove laid down by Saether and Kapstad is sublime and needs to be heard.

"Entropy" is ironically pastoral, another nice ballad with a great solo by Snah Ryan. The last two songs get more and more chaotic as the album crashes to an end. "The Magic & The Wonder" alternates moments of high intensity rock with moments of insane chaos. Kenneth Kapstad is not to be missed here. "Hell, Part 7" is just plain insanity. I would call it a seven minute guitar solo and a seven minute drum solo, played at the same time. Please don't take that to mean Saether isn't soloing on the bass at the same time, he's just slightly more likely to repeat a note if it works. To understand this song, you need to imagine an entire band playing sixteenth notes . . . for seven minutes . . . without stop. I can only imagine the entire band collapsing into a heap of exhaustion and shredded fingers after playing this live. Here's hoping that they can convince Icy Hot to be a sponsor of any tour that they do.

To sum, this is a fantastic album, amazing musicianship, varied styles and despite that, a coherent feel throughout the album. This is probably my favorite discovery of the year and easily gets five stars from me.

Roland113 | 5/5 |

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