Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Motorpsycho Sinks Behind The Sun

Not everyone gets Motorpsycho, and they often they produce music to ensure it. After establishing themselves as a bastion for progressive and psychedelic rock for decades, the band invested two years in composing the epic and complicated album The Death Defying Unicorn with Ståle Storløkken.

At a music grazing pace, the album is almost indigestible. But for anyone listening to it within the context of its narration, they will find a boy who is pressed into service aboard a ship searching for the holy lands. He is then taken on a richly physical and psychological journey until finding himself destined to be dinner on a boat in the middle of the ocean. The entire story plays out in two acts.

The album is overtly complicated but rewarding in its unique way, something that can always be said for the band. They have been known to infuse metal, jazz, post-rock, pop, country, and other styles into the mix since their earliest beginnings. Everything is experimental.

Their newest album is no exception. Behind The Sun is about getting back to basics, bringing back a harder edge to the music. They even recorded it back in their old haunt at Brygga Studio.

Behind The Sun is complexly beautiful progressive art rock.

Joining Hans Magnus Ryan (guitar), Bent Sæther (bass) and Kenneth Kapstad (drums) is guest guitarist Reine Fiske. And it's the addition of this second guitarist that influences so much of the sound.

This is the first time since Ryan and Sæther invited an equally talented guitar player to jam alongside them and it obviously dominates the album. There are double the riffs and occasional duels between the two. But that isn't how the album starts.

Behind The Sun begins with a much more accessible and dreamy tune, Cloudwalker (A Darker Blue).  The melodic vocals soar over sunny guitars and upbeat percussions that feel both antique and timeless.

The antiqueness can sometimes be pinned to the vocals, which have never been the band's strong suit despite their always delectable lyrics. It's the long, never-ending instrumentals that you'll get caught up in along with a robust and catchy psychedelic chorus.

Cloudwalker is followed up with the equally ambitious Ghost. The six-minute plus drone aims at creating an atmosphere with a minimalist bass and rhythm composition. All the while, Sæther seems to whimper his defeatist lyrics, which makes the slow crusher On A Plate all the more welcome.

Other standouts on the album include: Hell, Part 4-6, which is a progressive 12-minute plus powerhouse that sneaks in with quiet strings and synthesizers; KvæStor, which can be best summed up as an instrumental shred; and The Promise, which also epitomizes the band's ability to write music that is dug up and modern.

A couple of extra graphs about the heart of Motorpsycho. 

All things considered, Motorpsycho continues to win on more than perseverance alone. If you don't know,  the earliest rendition of the band came together in the mid 1980s when teenage metal heads Ryan and Sæther first met in high school. They often played together until parting ways at graduation.

The split, however, was only temporary and the two musicians would get back together in Trondheim, briefly adding Kjell Runar 'Killerkjell' Jensen, and forming the fledgling power trio responsible for the 1990 debut album in Lobotomizer in Oslo. Since then, the lineup has changed more than a dozen times, but always with Ryan and Sæther at the helm.

Behind The Sun By Motorpsycho Chomps 4.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Behind The Sun is considerably more dark and despairing than some of their other outings. For the better part of an hour, it drifts in and out of meticulously composed masterpieces and endlessly enveloping jam sessions. Even the last track, Hell, Pt. 7: Victim Of Rock (above), could be broken down for as long as they've been a band.

Behind the Sun by Motorpsycho can be found on Amazon. You can also download the album from iTunes or order the vinyl Behind The Sun by Motorpsycho from Barnes & Noble. Visit their website for their European tour schedule.
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