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The Crucible
(2019 - Rune Grammofon/Stickman Records - Norway)

Norwegian house of many mirrors band, cast forth another masterpiece of colossal proportions, that hops from framework to formation, and brings in both some heavy and mild early King Crimson (full of mellotron) as well as a blend of heavy metal and vocal harmonies, that stand more in the grunge genre of bands such as Nirvana, Galactic Cowboys (esp 'Kaptain Krude' recording), and Pearl Jam. Of course the formula from which grunge took the lead from is clearly Black Sabbath (1970s) and the melodic counterparts of the 1980s and beyond, is hearty in many measures of the music here. An interesting comparison I also found in the 2nd composition (with more styles included of course), which I included as a link at You Tube at top with this review, is the classic and standout third album from the Greek progressive rock band AXIS (don't compare their debut or horrible second), that mixed in glorious Crimson in several eras, free jazz, classical, and psychedelic. But any fan of this group has to know by now, that they can do anything and with a masterstroke.

Three members, with the two founders Hans Magnus Ryan (guitars, vocals, piano), Bent Saether (bass, vocals, guitars, mellotron) who first met and agreed that Ritchie Blackmore's 'Rainbow Rising' was an ultimate album, bring drummer Tomas Jarmyr (who also plays mellotron sings, and adds percussion) in for a second time (he was also on previous double release 'The Tower'). There are two additional guest musicians Susanna Wallumred (vocals on 'Lux Aeterna') and Lars Horntweth (reeds on 'Lux Aeterna'). Also only three songs 1. Psychotzar (8:43) 2. Lux Aeterna (10:56) 3. The Crucible (20:51) to make this single album.  An eerie cover painting by Hakon Gullvag (who also did 'The Tower') titled 'Egypts haer drukner' (which translates to 'The Egyptian army has drowned'), may give people cause to compare these two releases and of course, some of the atmosphere is certainly still here. But 'The Crucible' does have a broader palette, with the three extended compositions allowing the members (Saether wrote 1 and 2, and Ryan aided in the 3rd song), to run far and wide. The arrangements are credited to all three members, and the lyrics are all by Saether.

Styles enter and do not always visit long, but quick entrances of schizoid Canterbury and musical soup flurry, causes a person to spill out comparisons all day, and never cover them all. Although this amazing band has gone through some personnel changes, as well as musical maps, the often blindsided approach they have taken on with each release, has kept both the fans and the newcomers jumping. Motorpsycho can slide several evolutional styles right under your nose, and bring new life into them. This band has managed to fly over more air space than any other group I know of, and in such an astounding way, second to none. Thus, I am proud to call them the ultimate pivotal and progressive outfit. Of course none of this would be possible if the musicians were not incredibly skilled and on a higher platform than even the A+ artist. RECOMMENDED.

 ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 3 - 10 -2019

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