Not many groups enjoy the longevity that Motorpsycho have. This year, Motorpsycho,who are one of Norway’s most successful bands, celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary. They’ve come a long way since were formed in Trondheim back in 1989.
Originally, Motorpsycho were alternative metal band. However, before long, Motorpsycho’s music evolved. They began to fuse grunge with heavy metal and indie rock. Having found their own sound, it was time for Motorpsycho to release their debut album
Motorpsycho’s debut album was Lobotomizer. It was released in 1991, to widespread critical acclaim. Suddenly, great things were forecast for Motorpsycho. The future looked bright for Motorpsycho.
A year later, things looked very different. In August 1992, Motorpsycho released their single 3 Songs For Rut. However, it didn’t received the same critical acclaim as Lobotomizer. That’s despite Motorpsycho adding sonic scientist Helge “Deathprod” Sten to their lineup. Deathprod’s sonic noise experiments moved Motorpsycho’s music in a different direction. So as 1992 drew to a close, Motorpsycho knew that 1993 was going to be a pivotal year in their career.
The problem was, Motorpsycho’s contract was almost at an end. They only “owed” their record company one more album. It was a case of win or bust. Motorpsycho were up against it. This brought out the best in Motorpsycho.
In December 1992, Motorpsycho headed to Bragga Studios, where they recorded one of the most ambitious Norwegian albums of the nineties. This was Demon Box, a seventeen track double album. It was released in 1993 and proved to be a career defining album. Demon Box was received to the same critical acclaim as Lobotomizer. Motorpsycho were hailed as one of the most innovative and progressive Norwegian groups. This proved to be the case.
After Demon Box, Motorpsycho became a musical institution. They’ve released over twenty-albums. That’s no mean feat. After all how many bands average an album a year? Not many. What makes this all the more remarkable, is that Motorpsycho have established a reputation as group who constantly reinvent themselves, and their music. However, Motorpsycho’s career might have been cut short had they not released Demon Box in 1993.
Given Demon Box has played such an important part in the rise and rise of Motorpsycho, it’s fitting that Rune Grammofon have just reissued Demon Box as a five CD box set. The first two discs, Demon Box Volume 1 and 2, feature 1993s landmark Demon Box album. The A and B side feature on disc one, while sides C and D feature on disc two. Disc three is entitled Demon Box Volume 3, features the Mountain E.P. and Another Ugly E.P. The fourth disc, Demon Box Volume 4, is entitled The Ones That Got Away-Rarities, Outtakes and Live Recordings. The fifth disc, Demon Box Volume 5, is a DVD, which features Motorpsycho live in concert at the Vera club, on 19th September 1993. Just like the previous Demon Box’s four discs, Demon Box Volume 5 is a snapshot of Motorpsycho evolving and maturing as a band. You’ll realise that, when I tell you about Demon Box.
Back in December 1992, Motorpsycho’s career was at a crossroads. Their debut album Lobotomizer was released to widespread critical acclaim. Great things were forecast for the Trondheim based group.
A year later, in 1992, Motorpsycho released their single 3 Songs For Rut. It didn’t receive the same reception as Lobotomizer. Gone was the critical acclaim. For Motorpsycho, self doubt entered the equation. Everything had been going so well.
They’d been together since 1989. That’s when vocalist and bassist Bent Sæther, guitarist Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan and drummer Kjell Runar “Killer” Jenssen formed Motorpsycho. They named the group after watching a triple bill of Russ Meyer films. A year later in Motorpsycho recorded their debut album.
Recording of six of the tracks on Lobotomizer took place in December 1990 at the Warehouse, Oslo. The two other tracks, Eternity and Lobotomizer recorded at Studentradioen, March 1991. The album was released to critical acclaim later in 1991. Motorpsycho were hailed as the future of Norwegian music.
Motorpsycho approached 1992 with a spring in their step. Sadly, things didn’t go to plan. Their single 3 Songs For Rut. It didn’t receive the same reception as Lobotomizer. Neither did Motorpsycho’s mini-album Soothe. It featured new drummer Håkon Gebhardt, who had replaced original Kjell Runar “Killer” Jenssen. Considering this was Håkon Gebhardt’s Motorpsycho debut, it was a disappointing time. However, with the addition of another new member, Motorpsycho’s career got back on track.
Sonic scientist Helge “Deathprod” Sten became the latest addition to Motorpsycho’s lineup. Deathprod’s sonic noise experiments moved Motorpsycho’s music in a different direction as they pondered their next move. This would be an ambitious double album Demon Box.
Demon Box Volume One-Sides A and B.
Motorpsycho had only one role of the dice left. Their contract with Voices Of Wonder was almost up. They owed the record company one more album. In such a situation, most groups would’ve tried to replicate Lobotomizer. Not Motorpsycho. Instead, they moved their music in a new direction creating an ambitious, innovative double album, Demon Box.
Recording of Demon Box took place in December 1992. On a number of tracks, Motorpsycho brought in a few musical friends. Their job was augmenting Motorpsycho’s sound. This eclectic selection of instruments included a sitar, violin, mellotron, ARP, synth bass, percussion, audio virus and organ. Motorpsycho it seemed, were in the process of crafting a very different, and innovative album, one that saw their music progress in new directions.
After mastering took place in January 1993, Demon Box was released later in 1993. Motorpsycho hit the jackpot. Demon Box received plaudits from critics and cultural commentators. They couldn’t praise Demon Box highly enough. It seemed Motorpsycho’s brave, ambitious plan had worked. By reinventing their music, critical acclaim came Motorpsycho’s way. Their sophomore album, Demon Box, was a career defining album.
The first thing that strikes you about the sixteen tracks on Demon Box, Motorpsycho’s 1993 double album, is its sheer eclecticism. Motorpsycho draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Everything from avant-garde, electronica, folk, free jazz, grunge, heavy metal, indie rock, jazz, Krautrock, psychedelia and rock shine through on Demon Box. Often, there’s only the merest of glimpses of these influences. However, they’re there, and make Demon Box a captivating, innovative and progressive album that launched the career of Motorpsycho. That’s the case from the get-go.
The folk-tinged Waiting For The One opens Demon Box. It’s a captivating and beautiful mixture of Celtic and folk music. There’s more than a nod to Canadian folk-rock legend Neil Young. Motorpsycho admit to this. This acoustic version of Waiting For The One opens Demon Box, and has you anticipating the rest of the album.
Nothing To Say has a much more rocky sound. Slow and moody, elements of classic rock, grunge and heavy metal. This continues on Feedtime, where Motorpsycho unleash their machine gun guitars, thunderous rhythm section and a vocal powerhouse from Bent. The power trio kick out the jams, and with a little help from their friends, move Demon Box in the direction of hardcore and post-grunge. This continues on Gutwrench, five minutes of feedback, power, anger and frustration. Trondheim’s angry young men unleash a dark, dramatic, opus. Then they change tack, and become a different band.
While Sunchild sees Motorpsycho continue in a similar vein, the music is much more melodic. There’s also a sixties, lysergic twist, as the track heads in the direction of psychedelia. Mountain also a has a sixties psychedelic sound. That’s still to come on this eleven minute magical mystery tour. Before that, influences and genres interweave. Blues, classic rock, heavy metal, jazz, psychedelia and rock melt into one as Motorpsycho showcase their considerable skills.
Tuesday Morning features a very different side of Motorpsyho. It’s understated, melodic, trippy, futuristic and experimental. Partly, that’s down to sonic scientist Helge “Deathprod” Sten, who helps transform Motorpsycho into Norway’s answer to early Pink Floyd. All Is Loneliness closes Volume 1 of Demon Box. It sees the understated sound continue. It’s another acoustic, folk-tinged track, where guitars drive the arrangement along and a despairing vocal soar above the arrangement. Pain and hurt shines through on this cry for help, as it reaches a dramatic crescendo.
Volume 2-Sides C and D.
Just like Volume 1, Volume 2 of Demon Box opens with another acoustic track Come On In. It has a late-sixties, early-seventies singer-songwriter sound. There’s even a Laurel Canyon influence on a beautiful, needy ballad. After that, we climb back aboard the magical mystery tour.
Dark, eerie and gothic describes Step Inside Again. It’s akin to a homage to Led Zeppelin and Alistair Crowley. Haunting, disturbing and compelling, Motorpsycho continue to throw curveballs a plenty. This continues on a Demon Box, a seventeen minute epic. Again, it’s a journey through musical genres. From understated and experimental, Motorpsycho take Demon Box in the direction of classic rock and heavy metal. Later, the track takes on a futuristic, cinematic sound. It’s as if Motorpsycho had been asked to rewrite the score to Flash Gordon. Drama descends before the track returns to its fusion of classic rock, hardcore heavy metal. Babylon is another hard rocking track. There’s shades of Black Sabbath as Motorpsycho power their way through three minutes of heavy metal and post grunge. After a couple of hard rocking tracks, it’s time for a change.
This comes courtesy of and Mr. Who. It has a lo-fi, experimental, folk tinged, innovative sound. After this intermission, Motorpsycho launch into the melodic, hook heavy, rocky track Junior. It’s an anthemic tale of love lost. By now, Demon Box is like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.
That’s apparent on Plan #1. From an lysergic, futuristic introduction Plan #1 takes on a rocky hue. This is Motorpsycho doing what they do best, innovating. They go on to create their unique brand of heavy rock. Gradually, Plan #1 reveals its futuristic, dramatic sound and many secrets. Sheer Profoundity sees a continuation of Motorpsycho’s hard rocking sound. Here, Bent’s vocal is not unlike Primal Scream Therapy. As he unleashes a howling, despairing vocal, machine gun guitars and the rhythm section drive the arrangement to its rocky crescendo. Closing Volume 2 of Demon Box is The One Who Went Away, a another melodic tale of love gone wrong. It’s accompanied by a swaggering arrangement. When the two are combined, this is one of Motorpsycho’s most melodic and anthemic tracks. This ensures the Demon Box album closes on a high. That, however, isn’t the end of the Demon Box box set.
Volume 3-Mountain E.P. and Another Ugly E.P.
It wasn’t just the Demon Box that Motorpsycho released during 1993. No. They released two E.P.s, the Mountain E.P. and Another Ugly E.P.
The Mountain E.P. was released first. It’s a five track E.P., which showcases Motorpsycho’s eclectic and pioneering sound. Mountain, the title-track opens the E.P, and finds Motorpsycho at their hard rocking best.
From there, Flesh Harrower is a fusion of heavy metal, hardcore and post grunge. The House At Poneill Corners has a dark, broody, rocky sound. There’s a real seventies sound, as elements of classic rock and prog rock shine through. Viscount GriSnah is very different from the previous tracks. It has a much more understated, experimental and avant-garde sound, as Motorpsycho become sonic explorers. Sister Confused closes the Mountain E.P. Again, Motorpsycho become musical chameleons, as they deliver a quite beautiful acoustic ballad.
Later in 1993, Motorpsycho released their Another Ugly E.P. It featured five tracks recorded in the studio and a live version of Home Of The Brave.
Another Ugly Tune opens the Another Ugly E.P. It’s a melodic, hook heavy fusion of indie rock and classic rock. Whatching You sees Motorpsycho return to their trademark fusion of heavy metal, hardcore and post grunge. Again, hooks haven’t been spared, as blazing guitars, feedback and a thundering rhythm section accompany Hans’ blistering vocal. After this, the Another Ugly E.P. takes a few twists and turns.
She Used To Be A Twin has a much more laid back sound. Elements of country-rock and Southern Rock combine with searing guitars another of Another Ugly E.P.’s highlights. Following She Used To Be A Twin, pay homage to two of their musical inspirations.
Summertime Is Here is a cover of Uncle Larry’s 1972 hit single. It references Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Steve Harley’s Come Up and See Me. There’s even a nod to the Beach Boys and Queen on a track where Motorpsycho are at their innovative and creative best. Closing Another Ugly E.P. is Motorhead Mama, Motorpsycho’s homage to Lemmy and Co.
Volume 4-The Ones That Got Away-Rarities, Outtakes and Live Recordings
The fourth and final CD in Demon Box, the the five disc box set, is Volume 4-The Ones That Got Away-Rarities, Outtakes and Live Recordings. This will really appeal to anyone who has followed Motorpsycho’s career closely. The sixteen tracks see Motorpsycho evolving and maturing as a band.
This is apparent on unreleased tracks like Cherry Red, The Sift and You Gave It All Away, one of my favourite tracks on Volume 4. These tracks were recorded during 1992. In the case of You Gave It All Away, another version featured on Demon Box in 1993. There’s also early versions of Demon Box, Come On In and Sheer Profoundity from Demon Box. They would later become favourites of Motorpsycho and their fans.
Some of these tracks reappear later in Volume 4. Live versions of Sheer Profoundity and Demon Box sit side by side with a cover of the Grateful Dead track Manson’s Children. These are just three tracks of the four live tracks on Volume 4-The Ones That Got Away-Rarities, Outtakes and Live Recordings, which will appeal to both veterans of, and newcomers to, Motorpsycho’s music.
Volume 5-Vera 19 September 1993.
After a tantalising taste of Motorpsycho live on Volume 4, Volume 5 is a DVD of the band live. This was recorded at the Vera club in Gronigen, on 19th September 1993. It was filmed on just one camera. However, this warts and all performance captures the sound and spirit of Motorpsycho. They’re at their hard rocking best, and is a reminder of Motorpsycho four years into their twenty-five year career. After this, Motorpsycho would recored over twenty albums, and became one of Norway’s most successful bands.
Earlier this year, Motorpsycho released Behind The Sun, the latest in a long line of critically acclaimed albums. Behind The Sun shows how Motorpsycho have evolved and matured as a band. It was released twenty-one years after Motorpsycho released Demon Box. It’s a tantalising taste of what Motorpsycho would become.
Demon Box, Motorpsycho’s 1993 sophomore album, proved to be a career defining album for Motorpsycho. It was released to the same critical acclaim as their 1991 debut album Lobotomizer. On Demon Box, Motorpsycho create their own unique brand of genre-melting music. Everything from avant-garde, blues, classic rock, electronica, experimental, folk, free jazz, heavy metal, jazz, post grunge, psychedelia and rock are combined. However, for much of Demon Box, Motorpsycho are at their hard rocking best. They seem to be inspired by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Motorhead. That’s not all. Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Queen, The Beatles, Grateful Dead and Beach Boys all seem to have influenced Motorpsycho. This myriad of musical genres and influences resulted in a career defining album. After Demon Box, there was no stopping Motorpsycho.
Since the release of Demon Box in 1993, Motorpsycho have established a reputation as one of Norway’s most successful bands. Now Motorpsycho are Norwegian rock royalty. They’re a musical institution not just in Norway, but across Europe and much further afield. However, this was because Motorpsycho had the courage of their convictions.
That meant releasing a seventeen track, genre-melting double album, Demon Box. That took courage. If this gamble had backfired, Motorpsycho’s career could’ve been cut short. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Motorpsycho survived to tell the tale and thrive. Over twenty albums later, and Demon Box, which has just been released a five disc box set by Rune Grammofon. It was the album that launched the career of Motorpsycho. Demon Box, was an ambitious, innovative, genre-melting album; one that proved to be a career defining album for Motorpsycho; who went on to enjoy a twenty-five year career where commercial success and critical acclaim have been ever-present.