Kingdom of Oblivion – reviews

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      @ Punj Lizard: Don't worry – we'll get an excellent Motorpsycho version of "Watcher" – featuring "God" of course ;-)

      Punj Lizard

        @Johnny Heartfield: Of that I have no doubt ;)


          these two reviews and one article I read somewhere else make me think more of The Tower than Timothy's Monster…


          @TraktorBass @Be – I agree. I think it has finally! (lol) sunk in for me that they are not esp interested in exploring those landscapes anymore. Which is fine, there's a time for everything, they had an exceptional good run, and perhaps those songs and landscapes are more a product of youth. I don't know. I’ve written this before. But now it's apparently time (not to skate) but to sail around in the Milky Way. I think perhaps BHBC and COTF was a wrap-up of sorts, a bookend.

          But – I do feel like they've been venturing around and exploring this particular part of the Universe for quite some time now, prog-heaven, also Californian CSN-terrirtory, to many peoples excitement I’ve understood, but maybe not to mine. I’m more of a heavy-rock/indie/lofi “kid”. I just hope they land somewhere new(!) soon, not necessary more "accessible", but just somewhere new, for egoistic reasons. Some new exploration. Jazz or folk or acoustic or drone, or a combo: please! Or something I can’t think about: It would just feel so *good* and *refreshing* to finally feel again. Feel them again. And not in the Lux Aerterna way, but in the less disciplined way. Perhaps w the Kingdom of Oblivion, though the reviews gives me the vibe of more of the same. Which is fine, I just don't spin the recent 10 records so often. I don't want to complain, it's just how it is. For me. I might just stop hoping, but I will never do, MP means a lot to me, still do, the concerts are still great, but man, the last time I saw them and they played Manmower, I was reminded of the insane power of those songs. Which they still channel. I just want more, lol.

          And yes, excited to hear what they've got for us this time. I will never stop listening, appreciating, but also hoping, for more BLISS :STG:


            @bartok: I think you are spot on with your «product of youth» comment.


              Well what happens when you play every day for 30 years? You became a better player. What to us might sound overly complicated – "proggy" – as opposed to the rather simple structures who focused more on moods and layers – "product of youth" – might come to them just as easy now as Timothy's Demon Blissard did back then. The tools at disposal changed, therefore the music. Then again, things like NOX floor me just as well like if not more than The Wheel or Plan #1 did (still do…). And that's a feat. And aren't we all excited for any new album? Do we yawn at shows through the new material, only waiting for the old classics and crowd pleasers finally to be served? An issue pretty much every other band with a past has to cope with. But not them. Because they're still brilliant and we are a cool bunch. :mrgreen: I just hope with all the exploring and experiments they keep writing catchy and tight killer songs like The Promise and The Magpie. But transcendental magic like NOX or Ship of Fools I wouldn't want to miss, either.


                and what I also think is a particularly good aspect of what MP does, is processing their study of western music history through their own unique filter transforming into new music, building on what has already been created by other greats

                For example; I knew about Stravinsky, but they got me into Bartok. As well as into Magma,Groundhogs,Husker Du, you name it, loads of others.So with every new album, I trust them to offer me new links to music to be discovered

                mister conclusion

                  Just to add 2 more cents: apart from the obvious fact that MP have an enormous backlog of those "products of youth" we can all enjoy over and over again, there are lots of other great bands on this planet. As supernaut and JERO have pointed out, MP have developed over the years, they have become older and improved a lot as musicians. I still love to follow them on their way, even if some of the last albums don't touch me as much as the first ones did. They are still the best live band I can imagine. If you are missing the catchiness, heaviness or energy of the old MP you will find great, talented young bands out there, maybe the next MP are already on their way. Let us go and find them.

                  And btw after reading those first reviews I expect Kingdom Of Oblivion to be a chtchier and more accessible album than the ones from the Gullvag trilogy. That would be fine for me.


                  Agree with you all, and def waiting for more new stuff, and no way man, no yawning at MP concerts. After the last one I thought I had finally developed tinnitus, so any yawning would be to equalize the pressure in my sinuses and brain 😅

                  On another note I think it’s a shame they seem to have left Kim Hiorthøy for good, I thought it was just an exception w the Gullvåg trilology as those records (obviously) used other artwork and deferred from the Rune Gramofon and MP formula. But MP seem to have a different sub-label of sorts on RG, instead of the normal old RCD they are filed as MPCD. Maybe this facilitates a different design, who knows. Anyway. I noticed that they also use the same designer for the Trondheim reissues (Maiden Voyage etc), so I guess it’s a new alliance. I just find this approach more standard or something. More like products, less inspiring. I don’t know, just me nerding out in the pandemic isolation. This might not be the right thread for all of this, just had to vent.

                  Peace out and sail on as we wait for Kingdom come! ✌️


                    Snah touched upon this subject in the edition of Sure Oppstøt that was included with the Terje Brekkstad box thingie. If I remember correctly, he said something about feeling «outsmarted» and «numb» when presented to Kim’s later output for them. As much as I love Kim’s works, I must say I’m totally with Snah here. In fact, I might have held some of the 2010s albums in higher regard if the covers weren’t so … bleak?


                    Interesting. I agree, I don’t think the RG/MP records have been super inspiring in the art department, lack of individuality. I thought it perhaps had to do w MP not really fitting into RGs pretty strict ECM-ish aesthetic. Oh well, it is how it is. Would love to hear/read Snahs comments, though I don’t have the Brekkstad thingie. But it makes sense, perhaps commissioning artists to do the artwork and having a simple/ordinary typography is their resolve, though I’m not sure this is the right way. Hm, we’ll see.


                      Gotta say, though: both LLM (2008) and HMF (2010) are on my top five artwork-wise, among the «regular« MP LPs. Ok, enough off-topic, I guess.



                        As well as into Magma,Groundhogs,Husker Du,

                        Hüsker Dü got me into Motorpsycho. First time I've ever heard them was their take on New Day Rising on a HüDü tribute album. Best cover on the album. And that hilarious Beatles ending. Bent told me Magma is the BEST BAND EVEEERRRR!!! but I still struggle a bit getting into them. :lol:

                        Punj Lizard

                          From The Obelisk

                          The heavy prog Kings in the North — Trondheim isn’t Tromsø, but it’s far enough up — Motorpsycho return on the relative quick after wrapping up a trilogy between 2017’s The Tower (review here), 2019’s The Crucible (review here) and 2020’s Spellmannprisen-nominated The All is One (review here) with the new 70-minute 2LP Kingdom of Oblivion, a record that seems to speak to current times without necessarily being of them stylistically. Also without not. Trust me, it makes sense.

                          Now, to be sure, Motorpsycho are beyond review. I could say anything here and it doesn’t matter. To new listeners, their massive, decades-spanning discography might seem insurmountable, and indeed it might very well be a lifetime project of listening. Even their post-Heavy Metal Fruit (2010 and on) catalog is a mountain to climb, and perhaps an intimidating prospect.

                          More than that, though, Motorpsycho know what they’re doing and they have for some time. Kingdom of Oblivion enacts this massive span of work, but also makes it genuinely digestible with each side functioning as a piece of the whole. But with Motorpsycho, there’s just about no way founding members Bent Sæther (bass, lead vocals) and Hand Magnus “Snah” Ryan (guitar/vocals) as well as Swedish import drummer Tomas Järmyr, with the band since 2017, aren’t going to deliver the album they wanted to make.

                          Even as they’ve consistently explored varying textures and sides of alternative rock, indie, classic heavy riffs and vibes — dig that solo three minutes into “The United Debased” — and keyboard-laced progressive serenity, among others, they’ve carved out an identity that is wholly their own and is maintained on Kingdom of Oblivion. Motorpsycho said they wanted to make a heavier record. So guess what? They did.

                          Of course it’s not that simple even on its face, but with any new Motorpsycho release, the assumption going into it is that the listener is being placed in the hands of masters, and that’s basically how it works out across Kingdom of Oblivion‘s span. These players are not fools and they do not make foolish decisions in terms of craft. They cast purpose across the punchier beginning the record gets in “The Waning Pt. 1 & 2” and “Kingdom of Oblivion” and the folkish harmonies of the subsequent “Lady May 1,” the experimental atmospherics of “The Watcher (Including the Crimson Eye)” and “Dreamkiller” after “The United Debased” (which, yeah, fair), as they make ready to dig into the post-jazz “Atet” and revive the more rocking progressions on “At Empire’s End,” offsetting with acoustic stretches as they careen between styles and motivations.

                          Kingdom of Oblivion, which on headphones functions with a smoothness that’s outright beautiful in how it uses bass to emphasize melody as well as rhythm alongside the guitar and drums, is patient in its execution and refuses to go anywhere it doesn’t want to go, but that doesn’t at all mean Motorpsycho are doing only one thing throughout, because they’re simply not. Even in the earliest going — which is unquestionably where the harder hitting material lies and is the first impression the band wanted to make as a lead-in for all that follows — the songs aren’t entirely singular in their purpose as the second part of “The Waning” picks up motorik in the second half of that 7:30 track and the title-track meets its early fuzz with later wash of keys ahead of the guitar solo that borders on orchestral.

                          None of these moves are particularly unexpected for Motorpsycho, but that doesn’t make the journey less thrilling, and their embrace of a heavier push early gives the subsequent semi-extended pieces like “The United Debased” (9:04), “At Empire’s End” (8:36) and “The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker” (10:56) — each one featuring on its own side like the showcase work it is — all the more of a dynamic range to work from. Same goes for the acoustic work throughout and other more classically progressive moments.

                          “Lady May 1” feels like a nature-worshiping take on Simon & Garfunkel (that’s a compliment) and though “Dreamkiller” surges from its minimal beginning to striking heft, it flows easily to the wandering guitar of the two-minute “Atet” ahead of the grooving volume trades and engrossing payoff that “At Emipre’s End” provides, backed by “The Hunt,” a folkier jaunt that teases Tull-ish storytelling without going all-in with the flute and leg kick. Fair enough.

                          The softest and quietest Motorpsycho get on Kingdom of Oblivion is on side D, where the subdued “After the Fair” and the closer “Cormorant” surround on either side of “The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker.” As for the quizzically named longest cut on the record itself, it is duly dizzying in its riffs and solo work and melodically grand, vocals hitting an apex in the midsection leading to a guitar-and-keys chase that is, yes, head-spinning in King Crimsony tradition. They bring it down, threaten to build it up again, then leave it to quietest bass and ambience to cap, with silence as prelude to “Cormorant”‘s avant, far-off marching finish. An epilogue well earned, and they know it.

                          Here’s the thing. Yes, Motorpsycho put out a lot of records. Can’t be denied. I won’t pretend to have heard all of them. Yes, they have a history that goes back to 1989. Yes, it’s a lot. What matters more than quantity of the work they’ve done/do, however, is of course the quality of that work, and with Kingdom of Oblivion, Motorpsycho emphasize that the most essential moment is not the past but the present.

                          Motorpsycho are creating pivotal heavy progressive and psychedelic rock right now. Not in 1989. Not in 2015. Now. Before you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking on listening to them, not knowing where to start and so on, stop for a second and take it one thing at a time. Kingdom of Oblivion, oddly enough since some of it was recorded at the same time, works as an entry point even better than the prior trilogy because while one can hardly call it restrained across its run, it nonetheless brings to light so much of what makes Motorpsycho the crucial and influential band they are. I’m not saying ignore history and context altogether, but Kingdom of Oblivion stands on its own and is worth experiencing in that light.

                          The Obelisk – review

                          Punj Lizard

                            8 points from

                            English translation from German by Google:

                            Since their inception, MOTORPSYCHO have always been good for surprises. Standing still is the death of the artist. Accordingly, they are one of the most ardent and active rock groups: “It is important for us not to become an oldie band wallowing in nostalgia, and the only way to avoid this is to look ahead and try Making music that lives up to who we are. If you show us your appreciation by also buying the new albums and not just screaming for the old oldies, then everything has been worth it for us. That's all we can ask for. Thank you very much! ”And we say thank you, for all these years and for the last great deeds, the Gullvåg trilogy: 'The Tower' (2017), 'The Crucible' (2018) and 'The All Is One' (2020).

                            Now it is time again for MOTORPSYCHO to explore new territory, to combine material that didn’t fit in with the albums in the end, with new ideas, in order to be able to spoil the following in spring 2021 with ´Kingdom Of Oblivion´. The fact that MOTORPSYCHO take on the MOTÖRHEAD song ´The Watcher´ on their brand new release and mix it with their own song ideas under the title ´The Crimson Eye´ raises the hope for an announced riff and hard rock heavy work. The fact that they dedicate the fine instrumental ´Cormorant´ to Peter Green, Danny Kirwan and Martin Birch opens the horizon for FLEETWOOD MAC from afar; and that they also dedicate the instrumental ´Atet´ to singer and guitarist Bert Jansch from PENTANGLE, lets the clouds of Folk-Prog-Rock come up.

                            Of course, in old age, maturity and the insight that the unusualness and brilliance of a composition are decisive comes before the youthful zeal, as fast and heavy as possible. In 2020, MOTORPSYCHO did not, of course, mutate into an old man's combo, with mushrooms growing on its head from boredom. If ´Kingdom Of Oblivion´ is using leftovers from the past years, the mushroom creations were stored quite well. Because the entire work is a cloudy dream. Airy and velvet enveloped tones sprout like from another world and show no desire to wake up from it again.

                            In this way, but of course in typical MOTORPSYCHO manner, the tense ´The Waning (Pt.1 & 2) ´ rocks for seven and a half minutes at the opening (“The waning has begun, no choice for anyone.”) And ends with a clatter and a squeaky sound. Subsequently, ´Kingdom Of Oblivion´ searches for seconds for the ´Houses Of The Holy´, but prefers to find the door to Psych Rock ("Kingdom of oblivion – I'm your subject, I'm your man. Kingdom of oblivion – I will stay here." if I can. ").

                            ´Lady May´ descends very playfully with acoustic guitar and Mellotron into the levels of 70s songwriting. MOTORPSYCHO try their hand at an LED ZEP riff in ´The United Debased´ for nine minutes, jam-rock and finally indulge in bright bright colors on top of that. ´Dreamkiller´ glides over gentle waves before the song explodes raw and wild. The nine-minute ´At Empire's End´ move monumentally (“Let it bleed, let it burn, let it be, let me yearn, and turn your lovelight on for me so I can see, where to go, how to be free and who to be. Turn your lovelight on for me! ") as well as the ten-minute ´The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker´.

                            (8 points)

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                          …hanging on to the trip you're on since 1994