This time, I started listening to the new album by Motorpsycho with particular trepidation. Next May the band is visiting my city next and their latest material will be presumably the core of their concert. But indepently from this specific and personal reason, the fact that there is on the shelves a new LP from Motorpsycho is, by itself, an event. The three guys from Trondheim have in fact achieved the status of legends of rock and every new album is always unpredictable and full of surprises. Their discography is long and articulated, and across their career, the band moved through different phases and also relatively different musical styles, including progressive, hard rock, psychedelia, and also heavy metal.
At the end of 2017 the band amazed us with The Tower, a great album which proved to fans and critics how much they still like playing loud and psychedelic rock and roll. In this respect, the entry of a new drummer proved to be a revitalizing element for the band. Today, one year and a half after The Tower, Motorpsycho are back with a new LP called The Crucible. And in absolute continuity with their tradition, we are in front of a new stage in their evolutionary journey through rock music. All of those who were expecting something like The Tower are faced with something completely different: an old-fashioned rock opera with only three long songs totalling 40 minutes of impressive and trippy music.
Before entering into the discussion about the quality of their new songs, let me point out how this approach is completely against the business model we see in contemporary music. Given their lenght, it’s very hard to imagine the songs of The Crucible being included within the most successful rock playlists that we can access from Spotify or other similar services that are available on the web. But as it always happened with Motorpsycho, these guys don’t care about trends or mainstream success: every new record contains what they wanted to play in that specific moment, and that’s all. For this LP, their muse commanded them to write three epic pieces full of heavy riffs, endless solos and innumerable changes of atmosphere. Take it or leave it, this is Motorpsycho and they set the rules.
Musically speaking, the three songs of The Crucible are relatively different one from the other. The first one (Psychotzar) is the more accessible of the three and we can find inside it, all merged together, many of the elements that characterized their recent productions. It’s basically psychorock but with very engaging and powerful guitar riffs, on top of which we may enjoy lots of intriguing solos. The second piece (Lux Aeterna) starts softly and atmospherical, with an incipit that reminded me of the sound of Trust Us, which is still one my favourite albums in their discography. After four minutes, however, the songs commences to deviate into psychic madness and the central part of the song, to be honest, is very hard to digest even after many listenings. The last song (The Crucible) is also the longest of the LP with 20 minutes of duration. The track is basically the combination of what we heard in the first two pieces: catchy and headbanging riffs, sections of pure psychedelia, a few moments of dreamy atmospheres, and engaging choruses.
Considered globally, the LP is absolutely rich of many interesting things, even if it’s not always easy to follow with the same attention all the evolutions that come one after the other in every song. The experience of going through The Crucible may be a bit dizzying, it’s a roller coaster of passages and sounds but without the usual points of references that we expect from a rock song. A fairly demanding listening, which can be however extremely rewarding for the lovers of old-school progressive rock.
Taking into acount all the pro’s and cons’, my overall rating for the album is 7/10. My favourite songs is the opening track of the LP: Psychotzar.
The Crucible can be streamed from Spotify.
For those who already like their music, or for those who want to have a better understanding of the good things they’ve done in their impressive career, I’ve made a special playlist called ANGELS AND DAEMONS, with my selection of their best pieces. Check it out!