Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken – The Death Defying Unicorn


“The Death Defying Unicorn” is a collaborative studio album between Norwegian Alternative Rock/Progressive Rock band Motorpsycho and Staale Storlokken, a known Jazz composer also from Norway, accompanied by the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. It is Motorpsycho’s fifteenth album, and their first collaboration with Storlokken. The final concept and idea they were able to craft is very original; Once again, the band turns towards a different direction from their previous works (it is a blueprint of theirs in fact to be shifting sound continuously, despite always holding the same roots firmly) in a positive and exciting way.

There is a lot of Motorpsycho here for sure: the same exuberance is felt, especially in the vocals, and the songwriting is still somewhat Alternative Rock oriented. However, the arrangements the music surrounds itself in are much more similar to Jazz and Progressive Rock, because of the overwhelming amount of horns and strings that seem to be the predominant characteristic of the entire album. There are still the electric guitar bursts and acoustic verses, but when they happen they don’t feel as strong or peculiar as the orchestral instrumentation.

With this in mind, the band decided to go with mainly two kind of songs: the fast-paced, delirious ones, that often are longer and include an improvisation/Jam section, while the calmer songs are carefully executed and orchestrated. These two kind of songs are really the only material this album has going for, but it’s feels like a self-sufficient formula anyway, despite the length of the album ( one hour and twenty minutes, divided up in thirteen tracks), which should suggest a bit more variety in terms of mood. But letting the album flow as it is, It’s admirable how only two types of songs intertwine with each other so elegantly, and shift moods with such a carefully studied pace. The emotional ups and downs of the album being so spread out throughout the 80 minutes of its length is almost promoting the feeling that the listener may gladly loose himself in the midst of it, without losing too much. It’s more about the entire work, basically, than the individual songs, which gives “The Death Defying Unicorn” the feeling that it’s kind of like concept album, like a bizarre opera.

Although there could have been not only a little more variety in the instrumentation, but also in the songwriting (a lot of the songs sound pretty similar to one another), Motorpsycho’s release is another triumph of their vast discography, and a decent follow-up to the great album that was “Heavy Metal Fruit”. Motorpsycho is a band that ever since the nineties has done music, and has never been afraid to experiment with new things, and it seems they haven’t lost this habit of theirs. Hopefully, material will be coming out of the studio consistently after this.


1. Out Of The Woods (2:41)
2. The Hollow Lands (7:37)
3. Through The Veil (16:01)
4. Doldrums (3:07)
5. Into The Gyre (10:22)
6. Flotsam (1:33)
7. Oh Proteus – A Prayer (7:35)
8. Sculls In Limbo (2:21)
9. La Lethe (7:53)
10. Oh Proteus – A Lament (1:05)
11. Sharks (7:56)
12. Mutiny! (8:33)
13. Into The Mystic (7:05)


* Bent Sæther – vocals, bass
* Hans Magnus Ryan – vocals, guitars
* Kenneth Kapstad – drums
* Staale Storløkken – keyboards


Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Trondheimssolistene

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