MOTORPSYCHO — Angels and Daemons at Play (review)

MOTORPSYCHO — Angels and Daemons at Play album cover Album · 1997 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Angels and Daemons at Play" is the 5th full-length studio album by Norwegian hard rock/psychadelic rock act Motorpsycho. The album was released through Stickman Records (Europe) in January 1997 and through Sony Music (Norway) in February 1997. As it´s costum with most Motorpsycho releases the tracklists for the CD and vinyl versions of the album are different. In this case the vinyl version features 3 bonus tracks not included on the CD version and the track order is also slightly different on the two versions.

Stylistically "Angels and Daemons at Play" more or less continues the alternative/hard rock/psychadelic rock style of "Blissard (1996)", but maybe with a slightly more organic tone to the proceedings. If you are familiar with later releases by the band, the more organic sound isn´t a surprise though. The musicianship are on a high level although the vocals as usual are the weak link. They are rather thin and tend to sound strained. The vocal melodies aren´t always that great either and of course that doesn´t help a vocalist that already sounds a bit uncomfortable. It´s not all bad though and there are definitely moments on the album where the vocals suit the music fine.

It is however the instrumental part of the music that is the most interesting part of the album. The influences from 60s/70s hard/psychadelic rock work really well for Motorpsycho and it´s mostly when they turn alternative that my attention wanders. When they play longer jam packed instrumental sections, like they do on the hard edged "Heartattack Mac" and the more atmospheric "Un Chien d'espace", that´s when they really shine. Most tracks on the album (actually all tracks besides the two before mentioned tracks, which are both longer tracks) are not that long and therefore don´t have enough minutes to spend on extented instrumental sections, but they are still well written, well produced and well played compositions.

Soundwise and stylistically "Angels and Daemons at Play" is the natural successor to "Blissard (1996)" and while it isn´t a major step up from it´s predecessor, it´s certainly on par in quality and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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