Oh how I miss that Motorpsychodelic heaviness…

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    Fellow Psychonauts! Like most of you I'm looking forward to the new music Snah and company are recording at the moment. We all know that the boys are cooking up something good, and will charm us with their take on classic vintage sounds inspired by the likes of Yes and the Grateful Dead. Still, whenever I listen to Motorpsycho's new records, I am reminded why their early output, let's say from 1989 to 1994, holds a special place in my heart and will probably always constitute my favourite period of theirs. Excuse me if this is gonna be a bit of a long-whinded explanation, but this beautiful space on the internets is all about nerding out, innit, so bear with me (if you haven't already stopped reading…)!

    Motorpsycho is my favourite band because they deal in emotional extremes. An album like Behind the Sun features the incredibyly sad ballad Entropy as well as the exuberant stoner rocker Hell Part 7. The band will probably always write Black Sabbath riffs as well as folky ballads with beautifully arranged polyphonic vocals, they'll come up with songs about loss as well as triumphant moments, so heaviness and lightness will be present, sonically as well as emotionally. Still, when I listen to an album like Demon Box, I'm enthralled by the sheer aggressiveness which the band nowadays simply doesn't provide. To me, Motorpsycho's third and fourth album are THE pinnacle in their catalogue because they feature incredible songwriting coupled with sonic extremes which up until that point hadn't been covered by one and the same band (Correct me if I'm wrong!). Some bands were incredibly heavy, others were beautifully soft and melodic, Motorpsycho were both, and they were surpassing their models at both ends of the spectrum. Demon Box features Bent screaming his head off for minutes on end, sounding like he is about to snap, while playing (or rather beating?) a heavily distorted bass tuned down to C#. Oh that sweet, sweet tone, crushing and marvelous, paralleled only by the sounds created by the great G.C. Green! On the other hand, Mr Saether can be heard quietly singing the depressingly wistful Come On In into a dictaphone, accompanied by only himself on acoustic guitar. Now that's what I call "light and shade"!

    I had already bought AADAP and BH/BC, and I was a fan, but MP became my favourite group when I heard that opening salvo of Waiting for the One/Nothing to Say/Feedtime. The latter with its complex yet groovy and catchy riffing, that almost mathematical chug, reminded me of another 90s favourite of mine, the incredibly influential Helmet. Page Hamilton had already mastered the art of coupling almost machine-like rhythms and strangely addicting screamed/sung vocal lines,yet Helmet would never open an album with a heartbreaking acoustic tune. I was hooked and have never recovered from that first encounter with that demonic treasure chest of 17-minute noise metal manifestos and pop ditties.

    And don't get me wrong, I'd never want the band to write any music they feel doesn't represent them right here, right now. They scrapped most of the "metal" tunes on the first version of TM even back in 94, probably because they felt they had already been there, done that and only wanted us to hear the crushing Grindstone, maybe because it topped everything they had put out before in terms of sheer brutality. They then moved on and started exploring other sonic landscapes, and I'm glad they did. They're simply not angry young men anymore, Bent doesn't seem to be as confused as back in '93 and I'm happy for the guy! Still, I often wish they'd play more tunes in C#,not only the occasional Nothing to Say or Mountain. That would be a great counterbalance to the psychedelic meandering of le chien and the like. Yes, boys and girls, I legitimately lost my sh*t when they blessed us with both Feedtime and Junior back to back on the 2016 tour! And I often wish they would release a disc as radical and crushing as the Mountain EP, just hit us over the head with that good old metallic club!

    So what do you think, comrades, friends, brothers in arms? Do you agree that Motorpsycho's version of President Block is the greatest cover version ever (Great Tom Morello-esque scratching there, Hans Magnus, and oh my god, that orgasmic finale of the intertwined voices!)? Would you break down and thank the horned-one if you ever heard Demon Box as a more-or-less regularly-played song on tour (Yes, I know it needs the Prod!)? Do you want to bellow along to Home of the Brave and Sheer Profundity? Do you agree that there is no band out there that could allow itself to shelve such a masterpiece as Lake Innersfree? Or are you glad that the days of Das Hate Bass are long gone? Do you simply not care?

    Looking forward to reading from you!


      To me Songs like Grindstone and other Heavy Metal pieces are not fitting my type of musical Taste.. I rather prefer albums like Phanerothyme or Ltec… I guess I never was into that angry young man thing… But I too like newer Songs like Mutiny on TDDU if you could call them heavy… Sorry Dude.. 😂

      But It is something different if the play it these days.. If they playing for example Grindstone these days with all the skills they collected over the years it's somehow different and I could listen as well…


      Nothing to feel sorry for, mate, I'm just interested in your opinion! Everyone has their own taste, and I think it's great that MP attract fans with such different tastes. There is something for almost everyone! I love Phanerothyme and LTEC as well! I just think it's a pity that they still write songs in the vein of Landslide but won't release Flesh Harrower Part 2 :wink:

      Kid A

        It´s funny, that you mention Helmet, because that´s exactly what feedtime is :D Especially if you ever heard Helmet´s Page Hamilton scream "In the Meantime!"

        I must admit, sometimes I miss the heaviness, but not the Feedtime-Gutwrech-Heaviness but the somewhat tamer grungy heaviness of "Junior", "Plan #1", "Leave it like that", "HA Mac" or "Back to Source" (miss the Black To Comm encores of the 90s as well :STG: ).

        I think Bartok is as close as we will get nowadays.


          Oh yeah! Helmet! I love that and except for fuel, need it to drive my car to work, absolutely my 2nd fave sonic heroes that never lose their magic…As for the early heavy MP songs, love them very much, and always get back to them, it's a question of the energy and mood I'm in. When I bought the Demon Box box and wigged out to Loaded (live) I even gave their first albums another try (don't like the way they're produced although most songs are great)! But, then was then (and forever here) and now is now, and the latest developments of the band are so great, I have a feeling in ten years we may be talking like "don't you miss that fantastic Tower-era ?!!

          We are just so lucky to enjoy all the diversity of MP. I hope they keep on exploring as is in their nature and won't repeat themselves (not talking about playing old stuff live, because that's always astonishing fresh and never "let's play it like it is on the record!)

          mister conclusion

            Yes, Helmet. "Meantime" was pretty big at the time when Demon Box was recorded so the band has surely got some inspiration from Helmet.

            And funny enough, just a few days ago I have listened to President Block again and thought about what a fantastic cover version it is. I also like the original version by the Epinastic Movements and the way MP just nailed this song. It is sung by Deathprod in case you didn't know.

            Your questions:

            Yes, President Block is at least one of the most beautiful cover versions I know.

            Yes, Demon Box live would be something. In 2008 I have travelled to Oslo just to see a concert with MP and Deathprod (shortest setlist ever: K9 and Demon Box). The version on the Box Full Of Demons is fantastic, especially watching it from the Blueray. Very impressive. But it requires Deathprod, so…

            Home Of The Brave and Sheer Profoundity: can also be seen in the box. Nice, but I think the band has gotten better in songwriting.

            As you already mentioned, the band has grown older, and so have I. Many years ago I have asked Bent why they did not perform Feedtime anymore. He laughed and said something like they were not physically able to play it. And in some interview he said that the band does not feel the urge to scream their audience in the face like in the old days. He might be right. It was great to hear Feedtime during the autumn tour, but it had turned to some fun thing in the end, hadn't it?

            The thing is, I have gladly followed MP during everything they have done and developed into during the last decades and I don't need them to go back to the old days. It is wonderful to get some Feedtime, Junior or HA Mac from time to time, but the best thing is that they are able to release somthing like The Tower after nearly thirty years of band history and to explore and develop that new stuff during many shows. I am not sure I would really enjoy new "angry old men songs". Would feel a bit like they were posers. I am so glad they aren't.

            And I am convinced that the next record will be just sensational. So no need to complain. Or to get wistful…


            I'm glad to encounter some fellow Helmet-heads on this forum! I guess they were somewhat of an influence in the early days, I mean the dropped-d tuning coupled with the bone dry guitar sound was unheard of in the late eighties and everyone who played heavier rock was directly or indirectly influenced by Hamilton's riffing, from Entombed to Carcass and Pantera.

            Just checked some older interviews with Bent from the Demon Box era and he said that he liked the band but thought that its songs sounded too much alike: "… one you've heard one song, you know all of their songs." To me that's a bit of an exaggeration, but unlike Motorpsycho, Helmet have never really been an album band to me. Many of their songs are outstanding, but there is always a bit of filler on their records, so yeah, I see where Mr Saether is coming from. But he can permit himself to have a big mouth, after all he is one of the best songwriters of his generation…

            @mister conclusion: Thanks for your insights, mate! I know what you mean, writing some more aggressive songs might become embarassing, but only if you're faking it. I don't think age has necessarily something to do with your capabilities to write "brutal" stuff, it just depends on what kind of a person you are. I mean, the new Godflesh record crushes everything released under the banner of extreme metal nowadays and those guys are in their 40s and 50s, respectively. But if Bent doesn't feel the need to write some more stuff in the vein of Feedtime, that is totally fine with me, I'll even go see them if they play two-hour acoustic sets. I'd just enjoy them even more if they played and/or recorded more "metal" songs. So yeah, hearing them perform Feedtime live was definitely fun, but in a good way (at least for me)! Hearing something like a ten-minute version of Grindstone as well as the melancholic softness of Lacuna/Sunrise at the same concert seems like pure bliss to this old dog!


              Oh, how I would love to hear Sheer Profundity again! And Home of the Brave!

              The House at Pooneil Corners.

              Oh well, it's not like I have any hair to headbang with anymore, so I guess it's all for the best.


                Loved every line you wrote, Hans Boller.

                As others already said, most important is that they do what they feel like, not what we feel like. It's strange that so many bands don't get that. Motorpsycho does.

                I hope they are happy. For the music, I wouldn't mind, for them to again have some angry youth in them. :D


                  I don't miss anything because it's all there to listen to, and hey, there's A Boxful Of Demons, too. Would a Sheer Profoundity type song written and played in 2018 top the old one? That was young fervour and attitude. Now they have old class and attitude. Their heavyness nowadays is different as 50 year old rockers and it shows in Through The Veil (oh I WOULD love them to do a Unicorn sequel!) or not so obviously in The Promise or Ship Of Fools. Intricate heavyness with an ear for detail and no desire to repeat the olde days. AC/DC this is not. And seeing them live since '95 I'd even say nowadays they're heavier than ever. It's just the playing and writing that have become more sophisticated. So you probably miss some sort of primitive ooomph, which I can totally relate to. But as said, there's the old records to go back to. And not too few, luckily. I did miss a bit what you seem to be missing now during the Cake/Lovecult phase (then again, the 2002 Norsemen DVD is massive as fuck), but ohmygod that's already a lifetime ago anyway.


                    and also:

                    Un massive monster Chien 2017 >>>>>>>>> Un petit chouchou 1997


                      If there is anything i miss, it would be the harmonic interplay between bass and guitar which elevates the essential classics to extraordinary heights. Of course there is top-notch material on recent albums, but i find many of the newer songs to be too focused on classic riffing, soloing, proggy time signatures. What i always loved most about the band was that special Snah-kind of guitar playing on the verge between riffing and strumming, which leaves Bent just enough space to add melody, harmonic shifts or sheer sonic force.


                      EDIT: This is long and widing:

                      Thanks Hans for that beautiful text, and I so agree. Though for me that period would be cc 93-98 (how original…!). The reason is prob because I was hooked as a youth in 93 and developed a crush. On all levels. As you do in your teens. And it’s never left me, a bit sad but also pretty nice. A constant. That you can dip in and out of. And what a constant source of inpiration and comfort MP has been. Even though I don’t agree w all their choices. But I guess everyone who discovers MP at that age connects, be it in 93, 03 or 13. Maybe I don’t follow you into the Helmet-sphere (I was more of a Black Flag/Speed/Noise/Sonic Youth/Dinosaur Jr guy at that time, and amazed to realize I had a combination of all those in my neighborhood) though I do miss the urgency and intensity, though those years are over.

                      I actually wanted to start a thread like this, but w the premise: what do the psychonauts who discovered MP in the Kenneth-era feel about those albums? What hooked them on? Maybe I’m going away from the thread, but anyway. It would be great to hear those stories.

                      For me personally the Kenneth years were a bit of a blank, a lot of hit and miss, too much boneheaded rock (to [mis-] quote Bent in the Lydverket interview about LLM) though there are def highpoints on each record. The uniform design of the Rune universe also somehow doesn’t fit MP, even though it is Kim (I’m nerding out, but as you said, this is a free-space!) I can’t pinpoint the reason, but there’s something there. Though of course Rune is great. And Kim! And truly the right label for MP, just wish the packaging was a bit more … unconventional, like MP. It’s all connected. And I wish those records were a bit more unconventional, ref the triplet you mentioned starting off DB (or TM!), but again, they follow their muse, and we follow them, where they go we go, into old age, maturity, whatever, like it or not. And it’s all pretty great? The concept albums w Storløkken were esp amazing though, the Unicorn, what a record, what a statement. Also emotional. Kudos to Kenneth, also on the church concerts, just great.

                      Anyway, I guess I miss those years like I miss my youth, and they are part of my youth, I have the records and I’m glad things have moved on, and I’m happy they have moved on. That emotional bipolar urgency I felt connected to in their records 89-98 is gone (though they DO pop up now and again!), and I sometimes miss the directness, melodies, honesty and weirdness. I think this is also a lot due to Geb, and his force, dealing w the Siamese yin-yang couplings Bent & Snah, him really being forceful in his ideas and concepts and also an “original” MP member (a-propos another thread: Geb was the reason for TITS, without Geb I don’t think Tussler will ever reappear? Though we can all hope!) allowing weirdness into MP, a position I can only imagine it would be pretty hard for someone like Kenneth or Thomas to take. Or whoever. Being a new member in MP must really take guts, dealing w the legacy and at the same time developing it.

                      But – all this said, the Tower is IMO a really GREAT record, the vids out on YouTube, the recent RW, all this gives me great hope of a new URGENCY! And the news about the new record, I can’t wait! (Though Lars Horntvedt? Ok, I’m not going to be negative, but that softness somehow didn’t fit MP IMO, but who knows, it’s 15 years(!) since the Jaga sessions, Lars must have moved on as well). I’m positive! The muse is afloat and in space!

                      And President Block! Don’t get me started about the vocals!

                      This became a long text, hope I didn’t kill the thread. ❤️

                      Kid A, Marc & Supernaut et al: I couldn’t agree more.. Old class and attitude, and the Snah Bent interplay, that’s it.


                        Bartok nailed it; URGENCY! It's the (somewhat) missing ingredient since the late 90s, which has only occasionally been detectable since then, but returned with a vengeance on The Tower. Horntvedt or not, I am very excited about the upcoming record.

                        I think it is almost impossible for any band to maintain the same level of excellence and urgency throughout a long career. We move on as individuals and the band moves on as an entity, going through phases where different things are important. Motorpsycho from their inception and through 1998 was riding the crest of a wave, reaching unmatched heights. It was impossible to keep that level of urgency, even though one could argue that they have maintainted their level of excellence to an admirable extent. But again, with The Tower, they tapped into some of that same bank of inspiration, and it came out sounding urgent and important.


                        @Shakti ❤️

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