[Stickman Records, 2019]
Intro: Dimitris Kaltsas
18 / 03 / 2019
The progress that Motorpsycho have had in the running decade has increased the expectations for their music fans. Especially Heavy Metal Fruit, The Death Defying Unicorn, Still Life With Eggplant, Behind the Sun and the most recent double album The Tower have left no doubt about the artistic and the writing level of the band. But indeed, even though it seems difficult, a band that debuted in 1991 is the most interesting in its field 28 years later. Either as a surprise or a natural occurrence, The Crucible is an emphatic confirmation of the above.
Album of the year (again)?
The slow and the courageous enrichment of the style of the Norwegians with new sound elements, in combination with the release of only great albums that started with The Death Defying Unicorn of 2012, and have peaked with the release of their best album (probably), The Tower (2017).
Motorpsycho started as a grunge / alternative / indie band that never fell in stagnant waters, they dared to experiment with different elements of the wider heavy sound and 28 years after their debut seem stronger than ever. Their discographic productivity, the high quality of their releases and their ability to imprint the complexity of their music on stage, were the attributes that have placed them amongst the top albums out there. Even somewhere on the verge, barely, above the underground status.
The band remains the same for the second straight album. The inclusion of the new drummer Tomas Järmyr, gave new wind to the band so the fact that the bands remains the same can only be considered a good thing.
The Crucible is composed by just three songs with a duration of 41 minutes. A mischievous devil inside me was thinking that we might have to hear the remains of The Tower (without that being necessarily bad), however that thought got dissolved the moment the first riff of Psychotzar was heard. It resembles a version of the riff of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, with the Black Sabbath element being apparent in the full 9 minutes of the song. In the sound of the constant guitar solos, in the heavy sludgy bass and even more in the drumming. The vocals stay in the familiar style, expressively and adapted to the individual musical scales. After a small atmospheric passage with the bass being in the lead, the last blast comes to strengthen the heavy rock song.
The 11 minute long Lux Aeterna (eternal light) presents a impressive escalation. The atmospheric intro with the injection of the mellotron and the sax / clarinet create a psychological revival which is followed by an intense prog orgy which will make us reminisce of similar King Crimson / Rober Fripp moments. In the last part of the song, the initial atmosphere returns ending one of the most prog rock moments of their discography.
The last song is called The Crusible and lasts 21 minutes. The 70’s prog rock themes alternate with the characteristic psychedelic west coast hippie moments, while the heavy guitars are perfectly combined with the enjoyable rhythm section. And then the mellotron, the piano and the use of saxophone and clarinet, helps their heavy mid-tempo rhythm take off.
The Crucible gives to the listener exactly what the title promises: a crucible of influences, personal identity and talent of three of the best musicians. Every note in this album has not only been placed wisely, but in the correct ratios. Hence, the end result has the perfect seal of Motorpsycho, the seal of classic and indestructible.
God what a band!
9 / 10
With The Crucible, the Norwegian legends seem to continue what the started with The Tower. Keeping the band line-up the same (with Tomas Järmyr still being impressive on drums), they don’t gets away from the style of their previous album and at the same time they manage to approach it in quality. It is rather clear by now that Motorpsycho cannot release an album that is something less than very good. Each of the three songs of the album have their own character. In Psychotzar it becomes clear for the umpteenth time their ability to groove. In Lux Aeterna they are more prog than ever, highlighting their obvious love for King Crimson. Lastly, in the self-titled epic that closes the album, they manage to shine with their composition for twenty minutes without a second being wasted. And that is their great ability: the accuracy in the composition, in something that you can listen and it flows effortlessly, keeping their jamming character that they always had as a band. The Crucible is the young (and slightly more progressive) sibling of The Tower and another jewel in their discography, reinforcing the idea that rock in our days needs Motorpsycho and all of the things they represent.
9 / 10