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The Crucible starts where The Tower ended, but it soon takes on its own hue, and it is clear that it cannot be called a ‘sequel' as such: this is very much a step further out than anywhere the band ventured on The Tower. While it is broader lyrically speaking, it is even sharper focused musically and, if possible, even more idiosyncratic and insular than ever: unarguably a Motorpsycho album. There aren’t many traditional song structures or pop format platitudes on display, and there is indeed hardly any respect paid to any trad rock song conventions on the whole album, but that’s not really what one listens to Motorpsycho for anyway, is it? From the most Neanderthal of rock riffs to the most rhythmically oblique polytonal solo sections they’ve ever recorded, this album musically seems to sum up the extremes of the band’s current interests and concerns.
The Crucible was recorded at Monnow Valley Studios in Wales in August 2018 by Hans Magnus Ryan (guitars, vocals), Bent Sæther (bass, vocals, sundry) and Tomas Järmyr (drums), with co-producers Andrew Scheps and Deathprod. To these ears, and to the band’s satisfaction, this co-production ploy worked out wonderfully, and has resulted in a beautifully crafted record, smaller in size but at least equal in ambition to its celebrated predecessor. It is somehow both more focused, and denser in content, but also compositionally more ambitious than The Tower. One would perhaps think that this necessarily results in a diminished sonic assault, but the album still packs a wallop like a good rock record should. And – ‘for once’ some waggish tongues would say – does not outstay its welcome.
- Lux Aeterna
- The Crucible