on 12 May 2012
A friend let me listen to Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken's album 'The Death Defying Unicorn' a few weeks ago and I was blown away by the band's huge achievement in recording such an amazing, complex and accomplished piece of work - I ordered a copy almost immediately. I like progressive music in general and 'prog rock' in particular - so it's a given that 'The Death Defying Unicorn' is both; but it's so much more, with the inclusion of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra amongst the featured musicians the band and its collaborators have melded a number of styles into a lush landscape of space rock, prog and jazz that engages the listener. The album has been the soundtrack to my life for a month now and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's atonal at times, and sometimes a challenging listen but really worth the effort.
on 14 November 2012
A double concept album from a power trio that can deftly combine heavy metal, jazz and west coast harmonies collaborating with an accomplished jazz-rock musician & arranger, a jazz orchestra and sundry top-flight classical players to produce an epic tale of nautical horror? WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE??! It's like Motorpsycho incepted themselves into my proggiest dreams and then exclaimed, "WOW, let's make an album of THAT!"
Everyone involved here has made a fair and equal contribution to what can only be viewed as a significant masterpiece for the band. Occasionally atonal, often heavy, frequently groovesome, The Death Defying Unicorn may seem taxing at times but it's never less than entertaining. And lest you think that hollow world theories and huge sharks seem a tad removed from real world concerns, it also reads well as a coded critique on the assumed right to lead by the 1% and the rebellious stirrings of the 99% ("Your stale old ways bred hate and discordance / Your brutish arrogance has left you powerless"). Last track "Into The Mystic" sweeps all this up into a glorious elegiac yet ultimately redemptive finale that's redolent of classic concept albums such as The Lamb.
From Seattle to Luxembourg, it's hard to think of any self-respecting prog fans who wouldn't enjoy this indulgent yet wholly successful conceit tremendously. Album of the year, easily.
on 4 July 2012
I'd never heard Motorpsycho about a month ago but now this album is becoming a firm favourite. I can't stop listening to it. The amalgamation of prog-metal and orchestra is seamless, creating a soundtrack to the fantastic story that accompanies the diverse sounds on offer. Don't expect a Deep Purple, Metallica type affair here where normal metal tracks are shoe-horned into orchestrated pieces; this is unforced and natural sounding and completely surreal in a King Crimson style at times. It took a few turns of the stylus to eventually 'get' the album but then it hit me like a steam train. There is a strong bass sound throughout the album which lays a mesmerising groove that gets into your head.
This is a very jazzy album meaning this is no easy listen but if you stick with it you'll be heavily rewarded. There are times when the music is atonal (thanks Hemi, other reviewer) but this is the soundtrack nature of the album, laying a feel and an atmosphere. Background music this ain't!
on 16 April 2015
Nothing much to add to what the other reviews have said about this masterpiece of modern music. Motorpsycho are one of the truly great modern Rock (with a capital R) groups, a true exploratory ensemble, never resting on their laurels but always finding ways to make the guitar/bass/drums set-up sound fresh and exciting. But with DDU they (with their esteemed co-conspirators) fashioned a gorgeous, sweeping record that is full of depth and beauty. How many albums do you know that are simultaneously complex, sweeping, beautiful, tuneful,atonal and moving, while also being incredibly groovy and rocking like a mother? Not many is my guess. A very special piece of work. Beautiful artwork too.