Reviews MPCD106

Veteran spaced explorers deliver the right stuff in the middle of a plague. Roaring back to basics to keep charging forward, this Norwegian juggernaut — four albums, three of them doubles, just in the last five years — spent the summer of 2021 in an Oslo studio recording this spell of jagged-metal frenzy, acid-ballad chant and prog-epic ascent in live takes: a storming gig without a crowd. There are only four tracks but Motorpsycho — back in their original trio format of bassist Bent Sther and guitarist Hans Magnus Ryan with current drummer Tomas Jarmyr — go everywhere in them, at length. The Ladder is a high-speed spin cycle of switchback riffing and molten-fuzz soloing, King Crimson's Red taken for a ride by Rush; Mona Lisa/Azrael is druid-hymn suspense disrupted by airtight freakout. And Chariot Of The Sun (there is a lot of subtitle) justifies its 22 minutes in ghostly mood and spiral stomp — a trip that feels like it's over way too soon. 4/5.
David Fricke, Mojo (UK)

Expansive, experimental live-in-the-studio masterwork. Trondheim's Motorpsycho have been making eye-popping music since the 90s, with each album or EP more expressive than the last. It's hard to convey the enormity of their mix of prog and psychedelic rock, although something like 2016's Here Be Monsters is probably as good a place as any to start if you're looking to have your metaphorical lid flipped. Ancient Astronauts is a lockdown album like no other. It was originally devised in part for a piece by the Impure Dance Company, a few songs from which became the springboard for the AA album. The album comprises only four songs, one of which clocks in at 2:14 and another at 22:22, and it's magnificent, from full-blown fuzz-pedal rock monster to drones and shimmering interplay, highs and stupefying lows. As the PR says: "An explorative album without a whole lot of choruses!' 7/10.
Classic Rock (UK)