Motorpsycho - The Tower album review

Tower of power

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Named after Russ Meyer’s 1965 sex-and-splatter-fest, Motorpsycho have been Norway’s foremost hard rock band since being formed in 1989 by bassist-singer Bent Saether and guitaristvocalist Hans Magnus Ryan, releasing over 20 albums (notably 1993’s Demon Box and 2006’s Black Hole/Blank Canvas).

Joined by new drummer Tomas Jarmyr, this follow-up to 2016’s Here Be Monsters is epic in every sense, its finely wrought missives sometimes stretching over 15 minutes and straddling early Crimson-style monolithic doom riffs, episodic Magma complexity, psychedelic balladry and stoner bludgeoning, topped by harmonised vocals worthy of Yes or CSN.

Full-bore blasters such as the Satan’s penis-mongering The Cuckoo, the Wagnerian swarm of Bartok Of The Universe and the 21st Century Schizoid Man recalling title track were recorded at LA’s White Buffalo studio. Calmer sessions at a Joshua Tree recording ranch then allowed more reflective outings such as Stardust and The Maypole.

Most seat-clenching is the colossal Van Der Graaf-style dogfight of Ship Of Fools and the cosmic extrapolations of Intrepid Explorer, while A Pacific Sonata star-sails transcendent spaceways to vistas usually traversed by Carlos Santana.

Motorpsycho’s followers will hold this panoramic masterwork as a career peak, and it may even win some new disciples. A tower worth climbing.