Reviews 2093

With a gracious liner nod to "the mighty BÖC for the album title", Motorpsycho´s 14th magnum opus in 20 years is, finally, their definitive record. From Stoogey roots in ´89, the trio blossomed into northern Europe´s own Zeppelin, thanks to the copiously Ledded prog-punk-metal of their marathon live shows. Mid-period albums ably digressed into delicate West Coast pop, but since losing their drum anchorman in ´05, they´ve not faltered, re-embracing mountain-high rockage on a run of four pulsatingly heavy albums, culminating with this 60-minute monster. The opening Starhammer finds axe-wizard Hans Magnus Ryan picking brittle, otherwordly abstractions like latterday Tom Verlaine, but by The Bomb-Proof Roll And Beyond, he´s thrumming up a rotor-blade cyclic storm. W.B.A.T segues startlingly from skittering Miles´s Dark Magus fusion into skyscarping Physical Graffiti riffage, before four-parter Gullible´s Travails mood-hops Quadraphenia-like towards an epic, arms-aloft conclusion. 4/5.
Mojo (UK)

Their facility for experimental rock, metal and pop coalesced recently on their monumental 2008 outing, "Littel Lucid Moments", and "Heavy Metal Fruit" sees them explore this progressive side of themselves to its outer limits. Bassist Bent Sæther and guitarist Hans Magnus Ryan sing and play with the near-clairvoyant fluidity that only exists between long-term musical partners. They´ve found the perfect foil in drummer Kenneth Kapstad, and they make a hell of a racket for three people. A 13-minute slab of spacerock, "Starhammer" lollops easily on its inscrutable, top-heavy rhythm, breaks down into a meandering instrumental and rises ecstatically again. The Byrds meet Deep Purple on "X-3", a driving, downhome rocker with knowing lyrics about taking a trip to space past the stars all the way to Mars. At the end we´re left somewhere past Neptune, as a heavenly female choir references the outer edge of Holst´s "The Planet" suite. "Heavy Metal Fruit"´s defining aspect is this clever sense of noodly fun, delivered with an exquisite raggedness. Sæther and Ryan´s taste for west coast harmonies pervade the record. With its cascading lines sung over each other in counterpoint, "The Bomb-Proof Roll And Beyond" is as Beach Boys as it is Pink Floyd. The rattling, psychedelic jam W.B.A.T is lettered with organ stabs and Ryan´s meaty, bluesy guitar squalls (dripping in classic rock authenticity, his style is symbolic of the entire band ethos), while the whopping closer "Gullible Travails" is a sprawling space-rock epic. Its age-of-Aquarius lyrics might be daft, but its tune and chorus are both irresistible and beautifully structured, bringing the album to a transcendent climax. Run your fingers across the sound of Motorpsycho 2010 and you´ll pick up the dust of a classic era. Yet, like fellow Scandi-rockers The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, they bring a modern slant to their discrete mishmash of retro references and styles, making "Heavy Metal Fruit" one nourishing trip.
Prog (UK)

Heavy Metal Fruit soon becomes a fast-swirling magic carpet weave of styles that draws on everything from beardy-assed biker rock and unfettered jazz ructions to soft sixties pop and long-form instrumental wizardry. Never once po-faced or pompous, it´s a giddy kaleidoscope ride driven by a rapturous energy that throws sparks in all directions, raising blazes through cuts like "X-3 (Knuckleheads In Space)/The Getaway Special" and "The Bomb-Proof Roll And Beyond (For Arnie Hassle)", before doing its level to shake the tree of life with the mammoth four-parter "Gullible´s Travails".
Rock-A-Rolla (UK)

This one got by me. The latest from the Norwegian proggy power trio was actually released many months ago, but I stumbled across the promo while tidying up and decided to give it a listen. Heavy Metal Fruit now might be my album of the year. Motorpsycho is worth all the Mars Voltas in the world, and if you survive the awesome 13 minutes of opening track “Starhammer,” you’ll understand what we mean: It features crunching stoner-rock riffs, which act to unlock new galaxies of adventurous sound in stunning new formations. In all seriousness, there is more going on in this one song than most bands get around to in their entire career. For Motorpsycho, heavy rock is a gateway to sprawling arrangements that could enthrall fans of Yes and King Crimson, but also Black Sabbath, as well as heavy jazz-rock experimentalists. By the time you reach the 20-minute opus “Gullible's Travails (Pt. I-IV),” you’ll be amazed that you didn’t know this band either!
Soundfix (US)

Listening to Motorpsycho can be exhausting. The Norwegian trio, formed back in 1989 and superstars in their own country, specialise in lenghty prog-metal epics that match The Mars Volta in scope and ambition and since the addition of drummer Kenneth Kapstad they seem to have got a second wind. Their latest, which includes vocalist Hanne Hukkelberg and Jaga Jazzist trumpeter Mathias Eick, reverts from extreme riffage to jazz-rock interludes, via Beatles-esque piano and storming West Coast harmonies, often in the same song, while the majestic 20-minute long psychedeic freak-out "Gullible´s Travails" is a simply stunning conclusion. 8/10.
Rocksound (UK)

Equal parts progrock, psychedelic jams and stoner metal, Motorpsycho produce songs fusing the raw heaviness and dynamic range of Kyuss with the structural complexity of Tool, throwing in some incredible jazz licks and rock´n´roll riffs. Six tracks of glorious sing-a-long vocals and farout lyrics make for an exhilirating and trippy hour-long space odyssey.
Felix (UK)

Opener "Starhammer" nods toward Technical Ecstasy/Never Say Die era Sabbath whereas tracks like "W.B.A.T" treads intricate jazz lines before intentionally collapsing in on itself to fiddle with progressive Waters/Gilmore-driven Pink Floydisms. Think of it as an exercise in career honing if you will, where the band´s strenghts have been cherry picked into an oblivion and each note carefully considered. None more so than on the closing twenty minute cruise of "Gullible´s Travels", which takes in Gracious, May Blitz and Sabbath... a veritable smorgasbord onto itself.
Shinding (UK)

This long running Norwegian psych rock trio has found critical acclaim recently, and it’s not hard to hear why on their latest release. While their basic elements—spacey guitars, crunching riffs and extended free floating jams—are all familiar, there’s an appealing subtlety to their execution that relies more on textural nuance than bombastic aggression. In this respect, they’re what I imagine the Queens of the Stone Age would sound like if they had formed in the prog rock mid-70s rather than the post-grunge 90s. An even better (if more remote) comparison might be the music of fellow countryman, guitarist Terje Rypdal, whose 70s fusion records share with Motorpsycho a sense of sprawling and mysterious space. And, how can you not love an album titled Heavy Metal Fruit?
Big Takeover (US)

Med 20 år på baken er Motorpsycho mer aktive enn noen gang og leverer her sitt tredje album på 2 år. Kenneth Knapstad har blitt en integrert del i bandet nå, og på mange måter er ”Heavy Metal Fruit” deres sterkeste album siden 90-tallet. De åpner nærmest lydløst og sart, før det braker løs i ”Starhammer”. En forrykende tung og drivende spacerock låt med hint til King Crimson og Hawkwind, og med et lengre jamparti i midten. ”Heavy Metal Fruit” er på en side et av bandets hardeste og tyngste album, og de låner heftig fra klassisk hardrock i god gammel Black Sabbath ånd. Samtidig er jampartiene enda løsere og utsvevende enn de pleier, og det er masser av variasjon, dynamikk og kontraster i de seks sporene på plata. På ”The Bomb-Proof Roll And Beyond” nærmer de seg Pink Floyd anno 1970, mens ”W.B.A.T.” groover hensynsløst og tråkker opp gamle Sabbath stier. Det tyngste løftet på skiva er likevel den firedelte ”Gullible’s Travails”, som bygger seg opp på majestetisk vis og får tankene til å gå mot ”Timothy’s Monster” plata. Både Ryan og Sæther gjør noen av sine beste vokalbidrag noensinne denne gangen, og det er et stort spenn i de vokale prestasjonene med god bruk av harmonier. Ellers krydrer de på herlig vis med orgel, mellotron, piano i god progånd, og de har gjesteopptredener fra Hanne Hukkelberg  på vokal, produsent Kåre Vestrheim på keyboard og Mathias Eick (Jaga Jazzist) på trompet. Motorpsycho er mestre i å låne fra rockehistorien og gjøre noe eget utav de mange stilretningene de drar inn, og ”Heavy Metal Fruit” er blitt et bombastisk og storslått progressivt hardrock album av ypperste klasse. Absolutt alt sitter som det skal denne gangen! De med platespiller i hus bør for all del skaffe seg vinylutgaven av plata, da den er et lite kunstverk i seg selv. Nå er det bare å glede seg til å se Norges beste rockeband spille disse låtene live i løpet av våren. 6/6.
Norway Rock Magazine (NO)

Det eneste jeg vet er at Motorpsycho er et band som bør sendes ut på en omfattende verdensturné, på all verdens jazzfestivaler, gjerne med Mathias Eick på slep. For dette er det ingen i verden son gjør like tøft som disse herrene akkurat nå. Og når Eicks trompet kommer inn ca fem minutter ut i andrelåta, så går det hele over alle støvleskaft! Det er så flott, og bandet bringer Miles Davis´ mest kreative periode et par, tre hakk videre fremover. Trenger jeg si noe mer? Neppe!
Jazznytt (NO)   (swedish)   (editorial in Norwegian)