Tag Archives: Norway

Electric Eye – Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time

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A nice little piece of psychedelic rock was flying trough space and time and landed on our desk. On the one hand, Electric Eyes’ ingredients are typical for the genre: warped tunes and electronic spacy sequences. On the other, the Norwegians try to build up a hard and progressive groove, which works out most of the time due to the powerful and restless drum beat throughout every song.

Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time starts off with 6AM, which already clearly defines the main direction of the LP, although it sometimes feels like being a bit uninspired. Geneva is one of those atmospheric songs that you may imagine being used as background soundtrack of an IMAX documentary about our dear planet Earth. Vocals and samples show up from time to time, as well as sitars and a theremin, creating an ambiance between drug trips and Star Trek.

Tangerine is the first star of this album, building up an uneasy and optimistic atmosphere at the same time, before exploding in an almost post rock like wall of destructive sound. Definitely one of the strongest moments in Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time, if not even the climax of this adventure.

Negative aspects? Maybe monotony. Sometimes the drum beat annoys untrained ears, which would be a problem for the whole genre. The harsh guitar sound nevertheless brings almost every song to a point in the very right moment, as for example in The Road, the shortest song with 4:10.

The forceful sound and the wall of sensory input may sometimes overcharge the listener, although this often reflects one of the major strengths of the record. The closing song is named after the band and floats nicely between Pink Floyd and Sigur Rós before putting a grooving and enjoyable end to this versatile work of psychedelic rock. Give it a try!

Motorpsycho – Still Life With Eggplant

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Prog and Psych Rock veterans Motorpsycho are back with their new studio album Still Life With Eggplant. After a huge double album project in 2012, including cooperation with an orchestra and Ståle Storløkken, this release again is more like a back to basic or classic Motorpsycho album, although this kind of vocabulary doesn’t do justice to the Norwegians variety of styles.

Still Life With Eggplant is a very diversified and, for Motorpsycho standards, even a pretty accessible LP that reminds a litte of the 2010 release Heavy Metal Fruit. But unlike the space odyssey that was built back then, it seems that the band takes us to the countryside this time, producing even a kind of acoustic summer song with The Afterglow in the end. Let’s start with the beginning however. Hell, Part 1-3 is what I would call a typical Motorpsycho song (but be careful, I missed around two decades of this band’s history): progressive and strong riffs compared with hypnotizing vocals, not to forget a jazzy outro to end this nearly 10 minutes opener.

August starts threatening before the clouds are thrusted aside and a 60s Woodstock song made in Norway takes over. The thunderstorm takes over again however, and before you realise it the song is over and you’re left behind with wet clothes. Barleycorn again stands for the band’s talent to mix deep melancholic moments with moments of hope and awakening. This duo permanently goes hand in hand, musically and lyrically.

Ratcatcher is the obligatory 17 minute odyssey, trying to hypnotise you right from the beginning before taking you on a journey through dizzying drums, psychedelic vocals and capricious guitars. There aren’t many bands anymore that design so diverting 17 minutes songs.

Still Life With Eggplant is not as strong as the comparable Heavy Metal Fruit , but if you liked the 2010 release then this is surely something for you! Also very recommendable for Motorpsycho beginners.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NqmxF_GuGE]

Motorpsycho – Heavy Metal Fruit

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Shame on the author once again, because it was only in 2010 when he came along the prog masters and songwriters from Motorpsycho. Heavy Metal Fruit is sometimes titled as a longer EP, a huge understatement considering the deepness and the length of over 60 minutes playtime.

Their latest release The Death Defying Unicorn from 2012 (featuring Ståle Storløkken) is still too epic for the author to review, although the main reason why he writes this review is the proggy, jazzy and spacy groove that the Norwegians display in this great work. The journey ironically starts with silence, slowly filled with silent guitar sounds before starting with a huge and warm melody joined by psychedelic vocals and a funk that won’t stop until the end of this space odyssey.

By the time Starhammer comes to an end after nearly 13 minutes, X-3 (Knuckelheads In Space) / The Getaway Special kicks off without a warning, taking you with light speed to the next rock’n’roll galaxy. There used to be a comment on last.fm which said something like this would be the perfect soundtrack when cruising with a cosmic chopper through the Milky Way. It is indeed. “Won’t you fly us?” – Of course! And after the landing, the jazzy outro gives the passenger a welcome repose in some space lounge.

“Round round round we go, always slightly faster…” The spacecraft floats calmly on its way to nowhere. But don’t feel too safe, because there are massive turmoils to come, sucking you into a black hole, always faster, always faster, The Bomb-Proof Roll And Beyond (for Arnie Hassle) has knocked you off course.

Close Your Eyes – maybe this is all just a dream, the listener is lost in melancholic piano sounds, space is such an empty and loveless place. W.B.A.T. wakes you up again, a jam session from infinity, the travel must go on! Meteors, burning planets, exploding suns, riff rock! Never ending grooves bring you back on track. The journey is its own reward. Irreality and reality have never been so close to each other; you once again have to close your eyes to see what’s between bass, guitars, drums and funky vocals. Just keep the pace, the end is near.

Not a bit of it! Gullible’s Travails (pt I – IV) shows you the way. It could be an album in itself. The last trip of this odyssey is nearly 21 minutes long and reminds you of the challenges you have to face. “Call it fear, call it hope disguised as anger.” Never have human eyes perceived so many strange galaxies – Zeppelin planets, Sabbath moons, Rings of Floyd. This trip has everything what jazz, prog and acoustic rock have to offer. Even at risk of overusing adjectives: this is an epic and dignified end for the expedition of the spacecraft baptised Heavy Metal Fruit. And it all just has started.

No recommendations. Nothing’s real. Enjoy it.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJXttnGCPDk]

Mayhem – Life Eternal

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First things first. I have been listening to Black Metal for a couple of years now, but I don’t give a damn about any kind of scene or about being trve, kvlt, frostbitten or whatever else there is. I do not care about Varg Vikernes’ political views or his world outlook. I do not support fucking church burnings (even though I think that religions are brainwashing institutions which detain people from free-thinking) or stupid murders. I am not a close-minded idiot who rejects everything but Black Metal but damn I love this crazy shit from the early 90ies.

Let’s switch over to the record now. Life Eternal is an EP which contains rough mixes of 5 songs from the great De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas record, which was released back in 1994. After Euronymous was killed, Attila lost all contact with Mayhem and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas became a bestseller. The only “souvenir” the vocalist had from these times were the 5 rough songs he recorded for himself in the studio. Attila claims that these songs, even nowadays, always bring back strong and dark emotions and that he wants to share his feelings with the fans. After years of fighting for the rights of the record, he released this 3,000-copy limited A5 digipack EP in 2009, in co-operation with Season of Mist and his own label.

What makes this EP so special? There are a few things. First of all it’s the whole getup. The record doesn’t only come in a nice A5 format, it also includes 10 stickers, very rare or even unreleased pictures, letters and lyric sheets. The most interesting about the album are Attila’s vocal performances. He probably already had an idea of how the vocals should sound, nevertheless he tried out different styles and singing techniques in order to decide which one suited best for the different songs and overall atmosphere. It is not always that easy to hear differences between the songs from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and the “original” but if you sit down and listen carefully you make clear distinctions.

Talking about differences you notice that Hellhammer’s drums on the Life Eternal EP are much more passive and in the background. I personally don’t like drums which are too present. This record also contains a Funeral Fog drum intro, which was cut out later on the “official” release. Looking at the guitars, I come to a similar conclusion. I like the guitars on the EP more, they are grungier and harsher, which support and underline and even perfect the extreme dark and dissonant atmosphere of Mayhem‘s sound and music.

People often tend to say that the fact of being a legend is larger than Mayhem’s musical accomplishments. With albums like De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Mayhem – Live In Leipzig and Life Eternal, they easily convince us of the opposite. This record is pure evil and I don’t care if this release has been put out to profit from the band’s popularity or not. I personally think that Life Eternal is one of the best and most interesting records in the history of the band.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY9zhTlaMW0]