Kingdom of Oblivion – reviews

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    Punj Lizard

      A rating of 8 from Musiczine.

      Translation into English from Dutch:

      Traditions are there to be honored, not a year goes by without at least one new Motorpsycho album. The fans already know what to expect with the umpteenth new disc of these stubborn Norwegians. The band has been working undisturbed for a few decades now with the brewing of their well-known prog-rock sound that invariably translates into yet another marathon album. In vinyl terms, this is almost always about a double album with guaranteed to be a bunch of over-the-top songs that often hit the ten-minute limit.

      The new 'King Of Oblivion' is another date. Nothing new under the sun, but that does not have to be bad news, on the contrary. After all, Motorpsycho just does what they are good at. That is why "King Of Oblivion" is not a surprising album, but a pleasant addition to their now impressive discography.

      They are already the longest songs that will win the beauty prizes. For example, opener “The Waning Pt 1 & 2” sounds very familiar to the ears with a rutting riff followed by a series of wonderful guitar solos. Also “The United Debased” and “At Empire’s End” are pearls of the purest format, Motorpsycho at its best. An absolute hit is “The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker”, an extensive psychedelic stoner trip that explores the farthest ends of the universe.

      Motorpsycho sometimes flirts with bombast, but they never get over it, check “Dreamkiller” that changes into an orchestral apotheosis via an acoustic intro but never sounds bloated.

      "Kingdom Of Oblivion" breathes the well-known Motorpsycho sound from all possible pores, we wouldn't want it any other way.


        A rating of 8/10 of Plattentests

        Translation into English from German:

        Less detours

        The inclined music enthusiast who dares to make first contact with Motorpsycho is faced with an almost insurmountable mountain. The amount of studio albums, live releases, EPs and the like overwhelms even the die-hard fan and has a correspondingly intimidating effect on newcomers. The fact that the release of a new album from the house of the industrious Norwegians is always accompanied by anticipation of the next record is simply due to the incredible quality. And so it is also in the case of "Kingdom of oblivion": There they are (already) again!

        Only a few months after the conclusion of an incredibly exciting trilogy, which consisted of "The tower", "The crucible" and finally "The all is one", the Scandinavian trio presents the next great work. For about 70 minutes Bent Sæther, Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan and Tomas Järmyr deliver a coherent ride through the very special, highly independent sound cosmos. What can be heard in the two opening tracks "The waning pt. 1 & 2" and "Kingdom of oblivion" alone, others need whole albums for that. Refreshing: The resolutely rocky note convinces to the full extent, even though the quiet moments typical for Motorpsycho are of course not neglected. After a quiet interlude, the band takes off for the next epic in "The united debased" and proves: Motorpsycho remain true to themselves without forgetting new ideas.

        It is due to their acknowledged high art that even a stretch of three restrained songs creates tension instead of boredom and leads to the next overlong track "At empire's end". A reminiscent of earlier times "The hunt" and the quite reduced "After the fair" are finally followed by one of the highlights of "Kingdom of oblivion". The wealth of ideas of "The transmutation of cosmoctopus lurker" is sheer overwhelming, the guitar parts are ravishing. "Cormorant" leads the whole spectacle to the silent finale.

        I wonder how they manage to pull it all off. How they sound modern on the one hand and take fabulous trips back to the sixties and seventies on the other? Motorpsycho remain one of the best formations from the widely ramified realm of rock music. The fact that on "Kingdom of Oblivion" they take a few fewer turns than last time, consciously head for the goal more directly in songwriting and at the same time remain true to their formative interplay of loud and quiet, makes up the main quality. In short: more rock, more metal, more directness, a little less jazz. A mix that will again take some time to open up in its entirety. Always in the knowledge that the gradual development of the album will probably be caught up again very quickly by the next prank. From this in principle wonderful dilemma does not come out who loves Motorpsycho or newly discovered for themselves.


          @naur Thanks for the find! And it's their record of the week btw.


            A rating of 10/10 of

            Translation into English from German:

            MOTORPSYCHO have never been known for keeping their feet still, let alone falling into a creative hole, which they prove once again more than ever with "Kingdom Of Oblivion". After the end of the unofficial trilogy consisting of "The Tower", "The Crucible" and "The All Is One", which mainly revolved around the Norwegian artist Håkon Gullvåg, a new musical era of the Trondheimers now follows.

            The new work is now to settle more in hard rock, but not lose the progressive character. One thing is certain, however, the albums of the past delivered quality and often received positive feedback in the press. It seems all the more difficult to keep this steady development on a high level in the future. Unfortunately, not all bands succeed in doing so, which causes them to lose a lot of listeners holistically.

            A new world formed by MOTORPSYCHO's steady hands

            It is really difficult to find a beginning. "Kingdom Of Oblivion" seems like a colossus of an album. Fresh original riffs, changing atmospheres and a really intelligent respectively complex written lyricism make the album almost confusing. But unlike some previous works, "Kingdom Of Oblivion" sounds catchier, almost clearer.

            Starting with "The Waning Pt.1&2" MOTORPSYCHO stay true to their system, although the song is sonically more reminiscent of the 2017 album "The Tower". Ben Saeher's and Hans Magnus Ryan's vocals partly take on more poppy proportions, but the banging sound shows in which direction the guys want to go.

            Still, the album clearly stands out from its predecessors and takes on a sound all its own, but typical of MOTORPSYCHO. The title track remains psychedelic to a certain extent, accompanied by a fuzzy undertone and discordant riffs. At different points the atmosphere almost breaks out into the orchestral and sometimes it seems soothing and gentle.

            "Lady May 1" has the same emotional character as conveyed by SIMON & GARFUNKEL or YUSUF / CAT STEVENS. In contrast, "Cormorant" and "Atet" have more of an experimental post-psychedelic feel. Great also comes the folk song "The Hunt", which by breaks again into swaying synthesizers and creeps frighteningly in an oriental direction, to then resume its initial melody.

            "Kingdom Of Oblivion" as the masterpiece of the masters.

            One adventure chases the next. The vocal melody contributes here inevitably to the exciting and goosebump causing overall picture. Also "The United Debased" succeeds in an inspiring balancing act through tempo and sound changes. Yet somehow the track does not deviate from its path and retains a certain constant. Surprisingly proves to be the beautiful, slightly disturbing MOTÖRHEAD cover "The Watcher", which acoustically deviates very much from the original and probably lyrically fit into the conceptual development of the album.

            "Kingdom Of Oblivion" is probably best compared to "Timothy's Monster" from 1994 or "Heavy Metal Fruit" from 2010. However, the latest album has a much more prominent noise-rock component. However, MOTORPSYCHO neither focus on past nor try to imitate any style, which is why their works are mostly easy to distinguish independently.

            MOTORPSYCHO embrace progression in detail

            Not only stylistically, but also the tracks among themselves slowly develop their haunting nature. While the beginning still comes across as quite heavy, the almost weird atmosphere emerges over time. So the interludes stand out especially, as well as the genre massacre itself.

            The Trondheimers mastered the balance between sweet-soft and threatening-extraordinary passages with such playful ease as only a few bands are capable of. Thus, surprises and unique moments are waiting everywhere to be discovered. Because with this monster of an album, a single listen is not enough to grasp it in its entirety.

            The fall of the world, the forgotten kingdom of MOTORPSYCHO

            MOTORPSYCHO show themselves socio-critical and deliver a lyrically very dystopian work. They use many metaphors and stylistic figures, which can also have ambiguous statements.

            pushed over the edge

            equilibrium's offset at last, here out on the ledge

            earth's homeostasis, we're losing races

            the waning has begun

            no choice for anyone

            It is striking that "Kingdom Of Oblivion" follows one concept, but changes its perspectives several times. "The Hunt" reports from the fictional character Diana, but at the end the text switches to the first-person perspective. "Dreamkiller", on the other hand, again addresses the listeners directly.

            Indeed, the subject matter is very topical and affects each of us. "The Waning Pt.1&2" describes how the balance of the world is shaking. Humans destroy the earth like parasites. Most people are aware of the problems, but they are not always solvable. So there is a need for other ways to continue to exist.

            Politically, this social construct is also tarnished. But instead of worrying about unity, others are building walls and stabbing allies in the back. Even if this sounds like an homage to a former president from overseas, the theme is not limited to this circumstance.

            After all, no one turns down the prosperity that is offered, since almost everyone wants to maintain a hedonistic lifestyle, no matter what the consequences may be. This system collapses sooner or later and claims its victims.

            In the end, the lyrical I realizes his deeds and is now above the mundane until he finally dies. Thus, the burdens that weigh on the shoulders also pass away. No matter what we do and no matter how much we overrun the world, our problems are so tiny compared to the incomprehensible universe. Time eventually heals everything, even if it means the end of humanity.

            Nothing really ends except "Kingdom Of Oblivion".

            MOTORPSYCHO have outdone themselves once again. The lyricism has much more to offer and sounds eerie and pleasantly dark.

            the dream is dead when you commit

            the idea becoming fact

            solidified and understood

            you'll never get it back

            to be idea is to be pure

            not tainted by intent

            between two worlds, to neither bound

            but hovering in ascent…

            There is no trace of boredom here. The sound develops steadily and splendidly. Musical experiments succeed and fit homogeneously into the work. Nothing feels helpless or posed. Never before did more than 70 minutes go by so fast as on "Kingdom Of Oblivion" and that despite the many long tracks. Without a doubt one of the best albums of the guys from Trondheim.


              Now it's starting to look interesting!

              Punj Lizard

                From weirdoshrine

                Motorpsycho- Kingdom Of Oblivion (2021 Stickman Records)

                The cover of the new Motorpsycho record depicts mankind dead, covered in mushrooms, ready to be absorbed by nature and forgotten. We had our chance, we fucked up, we created this kingdom and will now slowly decay into oblivion. A harsh image, perhaps harsher then you might expect from these Norwegian progressive rock travellers, but then again, the planet is warming up, there is a pandemic going on, and it’s not like they haven’t warned us before…

                Keep my sky blue//I know I need to//keep my hopes alive…

                And yet there is hope. Motorpsycho have once again summoned all their powers to tell us we can still change. They have spent the last four years completing their amazing trilogy The Tower, The Crucible, and The All Is One, and still they have found the creative energy to create another sonic warning sign. Personally I was a bit sceptic at first, because with a band this prolific surely there would be a moment when they have said everything they needed to say and they would start repeating themselves, but no.

                Make your choices, choose wise choose well…

                Kingdom Of Oblivion sounds very like the modern Motorpsycho you have come to know these past five/six years, and yet it doesn’t repeat anything. The songwriting is more on point than the looser jams of the trilogy, more riff based too. There are some really heavy 70s fueled guitar bangers like the title track and the USA critical The United Debased and perhaps the biggest and heaviest track they ever wrote both in title and in length: The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker. As we know Motorpsycho, the influences are all over the place, ranging from early King Crimson tentacular prog to heavy Black Sabbath stomping, to subtler indie songwriting, and a lot in between. Perhaps the biggest reason why it is such a treat to listen to everything they do is the sheer joy they put in it, the craftsmanship on display, and yet the effortlessness of the performance. Taking all into account it is quite unbelievable Motorpsycho is able to produce so much quality music in so little time, but they do.

                Give me my liberty or give me dead//give me my coke and my crystal meth//along with my booze until my last breath…

                Halfway through the album there’s a Floydian The Wall-like intermezzo with a creepy voice contemplating and warning: this is the end now, this is the end now, this is the end now…the album goes on though, and while song titles like Dreamkiller and At Empire’s End echo this prophecy of doom, you can’t help thinking Motorpsycho still see some light at the end of the tunnel. They found the fuel to warn us once more, more formidable and powerful than ever, so maybe now we’ll listen. If we don’t, then mankind will definitely have its Kingdom Of Oblivion.

                The point of no return has finally passed, pushed over the edge…

                Motorpsycho at least spoke out, had their say. It might not be too late for us. But if it is, and some future civilization will dig out this record they will hear a perfect echo of what this age of man was about: what great powers of creation we possess, and what great powers of destruction at the same time. Kingdom Of Oblivion feels like a band building a legacy, and I can’t find a more urgent and incredible album to listen to at this moment in time.


                I’m beyond stoked after these reviews! 💯


                If anything these days I love *reading* about MP (lol) but seriously, and I’ve said this before, I wish someone (hello NRK, or a private initiative) could be more proactive and document this band. If they would cooperate. I love those old programs from the 70s and 80s (the South Bank Show on BBC comes to mind) where the art and artist is taken seriously, and there is a genuine interest. And it’s so great for us fans, to hear the artists talk about their work. A reviewer can only say so much. I’m very curious to hear more from Bent, and HM and Thomas. Hopefully something is in the works.

                  If anything these days I love *reading* about MP (lol) but seriously, and I’ve said this before, I wish someone (hello NRK, or a private initiative) could be more proactive and document this band

                  NRK did a classic album program with Motorpsycho, I don't remember the album right now. The problem is that its not available now. I Tried to contact NRK P13 about it but nothhing happened. Stuart Marconi did a big interview with them on his Freakszone on BBC.


                  Wow, thanks! Can’t find the Freak Zone interview online, let me know if you have a link 💯 And yes, NRK has done a lot of MP related content throughout the years, but I always find it a bit light. Like when they were inducted into the hall of fame, and had that huge exhibition, you would almost expect an in-depth documentary, not just a conversation w a famous actor fanboy. Nice guy, nice conversation, but still!

                  Lydverket had something on LLM, and the tour in Japan, I just wish for something more like a round table, conversations more than a documentary. About the craft, about everything. Lol, I’m dreaming. But, what album could that have been that you’re talking about? Prob one of the box sets, let me know if you find out.

                  Punj Lizard


                    Motorpsycho have been unfairly robbed of world domination by a fashion obsessed United Kingdom and U.S.A. since their inception in 1989. However, with a loyal and cult following in their hometown of Trondheim, Norway plus Germany, Italy, Belgium, Scandinavia and the Netherlands they have all been enthusiastic converts for many a year. The UK and USA’s loss I reckon. Who needs them anyway? Does it bother collectively Bent Saether (bass, vocals, guitar, keyboards and drums), Hans Magnus ‘Snah’ Ryan (guitar, vocals, keyboards, mandolin, violin and bass), or Tomas Jarmyr (drums)? Probably not. They always seem too busy creating and releasing albums and seem more inclined to let the music speak for itself.

                    Motorpsycho maintain a long-standing and powerful presence on the European rock scene to this day with sheer hard work and raw talent aplenty. 2017 saw them inducted into Norway’s version of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they’re arguably one of the most innovative hard rock bands still around with one eye on the future, but also quite a few nods to the past. A past spent studying and loving early 70s progressive and heavy rock, including many luminaries of that high class and standard in heavy rock. Far too many to mention as I feel their names are dropped far too often and lazily in rock music reviews, so I won’t. You know who they are, plus you can hear their influence all over this record.

                    However, there is a hell of a lot more to Motorpsycho than rehashing 70s prog and heavy rock. Somehow, they’ve managed to continually reinvent themselves and stay relevant in the 21st century with each new album pushing the boundaries. Quite a feat considering their huge output. Their back catalogue easily matches any of their heroes’ records and Kingdom Of Oblivion is no exception.

                    Kicking off with a familiar riff The Waning Parts 1 & 2 impresses on the listener their talent and ability to still create songs with a great diversity and atmosphere while also hitting you hard where it matters most, your head and your heart. Title track Kingdom Of Oblivion maintains this spontaneity with an interesting and powerful wall of sound. The balance and influence of electric and acoustic stringed instruments on the whole album were used a lot during the golden years of 1969 to 1973. The band take this on board adding light and shade to what’s on display, Lady May 1 being a great example with its folk influenced vocal and acoustic style.

                    The Watcher originally released on Hawkwind’s 1972 release Doremi is attempted and executed well with help from The Crimson Eye capturing that dark, psychedelic vibe so prevalent on many old school progressive rock albums, many that are still celebrated today by the rock press. Tastefully executed, its well placed on the record and proof that considering the flow of an album, is still worthwhile and a skill in itself. Like a book that reads well, this album flows and carries you, the listener, along with it, at a nice pace and on a decent journey.

                    Dreamkiller takes it down then grabs your attention as the storm arrives and the battle sounds like it’s just begun. A real standout track bringing to mind Jethro Tull at their earliest and heaviest. The vocals are sometimes reminiscent of the kind of British folk of the late sixties to my mind. Then it all melts into Atet, an instrumental and stunning acoustic track which helps you picture and really feel the calm after the storm.

                    At Empire’s End is an epic creation and a real standout track. I recommend listening to this album on headphones to really experience all it has to offer and to avoid all outside distractions. The Hunt continues the folk influence with more acoustics reminiscent of a medieval get together. The vocal harmonies are perfect and work beautifully on this song and levels of creativity are through the roof. Three decades and almost an album released every year, it’s a wonder they manage to still have so many ideas, and sheer creativity, to complete a classic old school heavy and progressive rock record.

                    The wonderfully titled The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker returns to the crunching guitars and soaring melodies Motorpsycho are so good at and known for taking us to last track, Cormorant finishes off this progressive masterpiece in style. Classy, interesting, diverse, emotive, thought provoking, honest, solid and full of great ideas and interesting arrangements makes this worthy of any old school rock album the band are using as their template, plus if released in 72 or 73, it would certainly have catapulted them to the top of the progressive rock tree and a record deal with the mighty Vertigo or Harvest labels I am sure.




                      Haha that „robbed of world domination“ is a very valid point very well made. Love it.

                      Punj Lizard


                        With the infamous 42 '"NOX" suite, a precious and ambitious cornerstone and placed at the end of a trilogy that began with "The Crucible", in the previous album "The All Is One", Motorpsycho dived into prog rock from the glory years, with scenarios that can rememberKing Crimson, Genesis etc. etc. “Kingdom of Oblivion” now presents a varied but on balance spartan rock and always of a 70's and earlier nature. From the first bars of this album, clearly characterized by a hard rock mold, the latest Opeths come to mind – “The United Debased” in particular – who love playing 'seventies' so much. You don't want to write it acrimoniously, yet in the case of Motorpsycho it was foreseeable that after so much magnificence, after so much daring, the band would choose a leaner step but in its own way, it must be recognized, with peaks of refinement. This continuous retro playing is proof that the Norwegian band wants to experiment, even when they probably don't have any experimentation to do. “Kingdom of Oblivion” appears to have been recorded in 1970 and around – even the cover of “The Watcher” written by Lemmy Kilmister when he was Hawkwind bassist – but it is evidently a current product. The result is however interesting, usable, enjoyable by the Norwegians but the focal point is that “Kingdom of Oblivion” is a good album because it is in the standards of the band. A standard that sees them faithful to that playing that embraces the old and throws an eye as far as possible to the contemporary, playing rock, psychedelia, folk hints. A way dear to the Motorpsycho, among the first to look back during successive eras of modernity. The band always sounds good even when everything is less than rock, perhaps with graceful San Francisco-style folk litanies of the summer of love or a psychedelia of yesteryear in the style of Robert Fripp. There is space and time, just over seventy minutes because Norwegians always have a lot to say, sing, play. It is not always necessary to do it after over twenty albums, floods of EPs, live albums and so on, the risk is to repeat itself in certain situations and to repeat other people's gestures.

                        (Alberto Vitale) Rating: 7.5 / 10

                        Punj Lizard

                          All About The Rock

                          Kingdom Of Oblivion is the latest title release from the Norwegian group Motorpsycho, whose history was incarnated as a grungy heavy rock outfit and developed into a style of musical form that takes you on a journey that is almost as winding as the band’s life so far. They have over 20 releases under their belt.

                          The three-piece, featuring original members Bent Saether and Hans-Magnus Ryan and complemented with Tomas Jarmyr on drums, have delivered their 4th album with this line-up.

                          Well over an hour in length and it takes you through an epic multi visionary musical ‘trip’.

                          Opening track ‘The Waning: Pt 1&2’, leans heavily on a Sabbath-esk bass rhythm then dabbles into a Hawkwind psychedelic mood powered up by a clear strong guitar line throughout, getting faster approx. midway with a clean ending.

                          ‘Kingdom of Oblivion’ brings you that same guitar tone, but more of it, brings you a feel of early 70’s rock.

                          Over 14 minutes gone and only end of track two!

                          ‘Lady May 1’ strong acoustic and takes you back a bit further into the late 60’s.

                          ‘The United Rebased’ is my album favourite. Keeps that early 70’s sound and mood on guitar, vocals and big keyboard back tone. Big guitar throughout. It takes so many twists in the speed and pace but keeps you engaged throughout its 9 minutes.

                          Next track up the ‘The Watcher (featuring the crimson eye)’ does not get going with the same push as other tracks on the album and is the weakest.

                          ‘Dream Killer’ starts off slow and easy with a great acoustic build up, then wham at about 2 minutes in, you are taken up a few notches in speed and power, haunting vocals, it mirrors well where we got to on ‘The United Rebased’. You are then slowed down again for the last minute. Another great track.

                          ‘Atet’ comes as a short track, instrumental filler.

                          ‘At Empires End’ opens with that great acoustic tone, builds up and takes you on an 8-minute journey which reminded me of a Led Zep/Yes/Sabbath psychedelic amalgam. If one thing strikes me the most about this album it is the great guitar sounds and tone throughout, from crisp cutting clear to heavy distortion and everything else in between. Very evident in this track, which is another favourite.

                          Great acoustic guitar again from ‘The Hunt’, it’s a track with a good vibe and leans again on Led Zep but this time with a bit of Tull in the mix.

                          As with track 7, ‘After the Fair’ comes in as a short acoustic interlude to prepare you for the next track.

                          ‘The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker’, lets you sit down for a minute, then you’re pulled up and hanging on to that beat similar to that which opened the album. 7 minutes later you’re still up there but then gently brought down to end the song calmly. Another album favourite.

                          In closing, ‘Cormorant’, an instrumental, slows you down further after the previous track and brings the album to a solemn end.

                          ‘Kingdom of Oblivion’ is a good long album, takes you through a pleasurable journey of brilliant musical talent, lifts you and then lets you settle back down again, then repeat. Its that type of rollercoaster. If you like your music with a hazy psychedelic rock pioneer feel then its for you.

                          For me top tracks are ‘Dream Killer’, ‘At Empires End’, ‘The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker’ and album favourite ‘The United Rebased’.

                          Score 8/10

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