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Motorpsycho - The Crucible

  by Erick Mertz

published: 26 / 3 / 2019

Motorpsycho - The Crucible
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD


Enjoyable but over-stated latest album from Norwegian progressive/psychedelic rock trio Motorpsycho

Motorpsycho is a progressive/psychedelic rock three-piece from Trondheim, Norway. Since their emergence in 1989, some thirty years ago, the band (named for a Russ Meyer film of the same name) has released a string of more than twenty, critically acclaimed recordings that have marked them as one of Europe’s most influential heavy rock acts. Now the band brings a new album, 'The Crucible' their first in two years, which is comprised of just three tracks. Three tracks for most bands sounds like a quaint in and out, but Motorpsycho is not most bands. In their jam-influenced hands even three tracks can become a sprawling masterwork of genre spanning rock. On the opening track, 'Psychotzar' the band delves straight into an abyss of churning, hard rock. The track is full of exciting solos and tight, stormy percussion. Clocking in at nearly nine minutes in length, it is the shortest track on the record, pausing near the end for a slowed down, exploration of harrowing psychedelic blues. Drummer Tomas Jarmyr joined the band prior to 2017’s 'The Tower'. The band described that time of transition as a trial by fire. Jarmyr is technically sound, as is evidenced by the second track, 'Lux Aeterna', longer at near 11-minutes and filled with a lot of 1970’s rock excess that has traditionally marked the bands experimentation. At times, on this track in particular, Motorpsycho reminds me of Jethro Tull. That call back comes both in their use of sweet vocal harmonies and how their quirky songwriting style seems determined to explore every possible vista. On the final twenty-one minute title track, the band replicates a lot of the territory they laid a map for on the previous, only more soaring and ambitious. There isn’t much new territory, instead it feels like the band jamming further on other ideas. The last six minutes break into blustery, soaring solos, but the jam feels like an appendage. I think I would have liked these three songs better had the band opted to work in more of the harder riffs that marked 'Psychotzar', my favourite track on the record. I enjoyed 'The Crucible', overall though. It is characteristic of Motorpsycho in its reach and deployment of influence, and while it’s not their best work, it’s certainly not enough of a departure to disappoint.

Track Listing:-
1 Psychotzar
2 Lux Aeterna
3 The Crucible

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