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Motorpsycho: Kingdom of Oblivion (Rune Grammofon)

The productive and excellent work of Norwegian rock band Motorpsycho, releasing an album a year for 30+ years, continues with this superb example of long form and diverse approaches to the rock medium, the core trio of Saether (bass, vocals, mellotron, &c), Hans Magnus Ryan (guitar, sax, vocals) and Tomas Jarmyr (drums) extended by Reine Fiske on guitar and Ola Kvernberg on percussion.

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product information:

UPC: 7033662010509

Label: Rune Grammofon
Catalog ID: MPCD 105CD
Squidco Product Code: 30245

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Norway
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Black Box Studio, in Noyant-la-Gravoyere, France, in September 2019, by Etienne Clauzeland and Peter Deimel, and at Kommun', in Trondheim, Norway, in 2018, 2019 and 2020, by the artists,


Bent Saether-bass, lead vocals, mellotron, acoustic guitar, electric guitar

Hans Magnus Ryan-electric guitar, vocals, saxophone

Tomas Jarmyr-drums, percussion

Reine Fiske-electric guitar

Ola Kvernberg-percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"Bent Sæther (born 18 February 1969 in Oslo, Norway) is the bass guitarist and lead vocalist of the Norwegian psychedelic rock band Motorpsycho from the start in 1989.

Sæther grew up in an apartment complex in Ammerud before moving to the more rural Ski, and to the family farm in Snåsa in Nord-Trøndelag at ten. He went to high school in Steinkjer, and attended the Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet in Trondheim, taking university courses in English and Social anthropology completing the former.

In 1989 he started Motorpsycho with Hans Magnus Ryan and Kjell Runar "Killer" Jenssen. He also started the country rock band The International Tussler Society in 1993. 2012 saw Bent Sæther as producer for three Norwegian records, two of which are considered two of Norway's "four great" rock bands; deLillos' Vi er på vei, vi kanke snu and DumDum Boys Ti Liv. In addition, he produced the self-titled debut album of the country rock band The South."

-Wikipedia (

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"Hans Magnus Ryan, alias "Snah", (born 31 December 1969 in Trondheim, Norway) is a Norwegian rock musician (guitar & vocals), known as front figure of the band Motorpsycho.

In 1989 Ryan and bassist Bent Sæther together with drummer Killer Mike (b. Kjell Runar Jenssen), formed Motorpsycho as an alternative metal band that very soon developed into a unique blend of heavy metal, grunge and indierock, as well as exploring the sonic noise experiments that is associated with the Associate Member Deathprod. After the debut album Lobotomizer (1991) was Håkon Gebhardt (b. 1969), new drummer. The ambitious, progressive album Demon Box (1993) gave the band a nomination for the Spellemannprisen, and secured Motorpsycho a loyal group of followers in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as in Scandinavia. Kenneth Kapstad replaced drummer Håkon Gebhardt in 2007. Ryan also plays the guitar in the band The International Tussler Society.

As a guitarist Ryan is primarily self-taught, save for a one-year study at the Trøndertun folk high school's line of rock. During his tenure as a core member of Motorpsycho he has delved into a wide array of rock related genres in connection with the band's trademark quest for development. Genres explored include heavy metal, classic hard rock, indie rock, shoegaze, ambient, chamber pop, jazz, psychedelia and country. Likewise his comprehensive ingenuity both as instrumentalist and composer is an integral part of the different soundscapes chiseled out in the trio's relatively vast output since 1991. Ryan's instrumental work both live and in studio is heavily based on improvisation, a discipline refined through years of rehearsals and touring. As such, epic solos are found throughout Motorpsycho's discography and can be exemplified by titles such as "Mountain" (1993) and "Starhammer" (Heavy Metal Fruit, 2010). Ryan's live improvisational abilities are prominently featured in the band's "Roadworks" series, documenting in concert highlights from Motorpsycho's touring history."

-Wikipedia (

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"Tomas Järmyr (1987, Sweden) was born into a musical family with both parents being teachers at the local music school. This is where he discovered the drums at age 2. He started taking lessons at the age of 7, got his first real drum kit the following year, and joined the music school orchestra around the same time. As a young teenager, Tomas was already playing in several local bands and ensembles, spanning from punk and metal to jazz and folk music. It was during these years he really started developing his personal style of drumming characterized by great force, finesse, intensity and a sheer endless control over textures.

After more specialized studies in jazz and improvisation during high school and college, Tomas moved to Trondheim, Norway in 2008 where he obtained both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from "Jazzlinja" (Jazz department) at NTNU university. During his student years he manifested his musical expression and expanded his network of likeminded collaborators both nationally and internationally. While pushing his own bands and projects, he also started working more and more as a sideman and session drummer, all of which led to extensive touring mainly in Norway, Scandinavia and Europe.

In 2015 he temporarily joined the Italian jazz/metal monster Zu, picking up the sticks after Gabe Serbian (The Locust), until the return of original drummer Jacopo Battaglia in 2018. In January 2017, Tomas joined Motorpsycho, an internationally acclaimed, award winning band that has been, and still is, a driving force in Norwegian and European alternative rock music since 1989."

-CRS Norway (

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"Nils Reine Fiske (born 4 October 1972 in Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden) is a Swedish guitarist, art director and sound engineer at the record label Subliminal Sounds, who put his signature to many prog-rock project such as Landberk, Morte Macabre, Paatos, Motorpsycho, Elephant9, and Träd, Gräs & Stenar, but is best known for his playing in the band Dungen.

Fiske is currently playing in The Amazing with Christopher Gunrup, but has also played with the band Reform, and is a member of Sylvester Schlegel's band The Guild, in addition to those already mentioned. In 2012 he has released two albums, one with the band Svenska Kaputt which in addition to Fiske is constituted by Jonas Kullhammar, Torbjörn Zetterberg and Johan Holmegard, Still Life With Eggplant and Behind the Sun with the Norwegian prog-rock band Motorpsycho, and Atlantis with another Norwegian prog-rock band Elephant9, comprising the trio Ståle Storløkken, Nikolai Eilertsen and Torstein Lofthus. The latter appeared at Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2012. He is currently a member of Träd, Gräs & Stenar."

-Wikipedia (

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"Ola Kvernberg (born 16 June 1981) is a Norwegian jazz musician known for his virtuosic string swing violin playing and his international performances. He is the son of traditional musicians Liv Rypdal Kvernberg and Torbj¿rn Kvernberg, and the brother of traditional musicians Kari Kvernberg Dajani and fiddler Jorun Marie Kvernberg, and grandson of the fiddler and traditional music composer Peter L. Rypdal. Kvernberg studied classical violin from the age of nine, and won 3rd prize in a great classical violin competition in Italy when he was fourteen.

Kvernberg was born in Fr¾na. He began to play folk music at an early age and was classically trained through the municipal music school. His first record release was with the band Fear of flying in 1995. Two years later, when he was 16, he began playing jazz, and was educated on the Jazz program at Trondheim musikkonservatorium (2001Ð03).

Kvernberg spontaneously became known after a meeting with Hot Club de Norvge in 2000 during the annual Django Festival in Oslo, where he actually jammed with Toots Thielemans. This gave rise to release album Hot Club de Norvege presenting Ola Kvernberg and Jimmy Rosenberg (2000), the solo release Ola Kvernberg (2001), as well as participation on the record Angelo is back in town with Angelo Debarre (2001), which he also played with at the Django Festival in January 2002. In April 2002, Ola was soloist on Jon Larsen's jazz symphony White Night Stories, together with Hot Club de Norvge and Troms¿ Symphony Orchestra, and on two recordings with this project.

Ola Kvernberg Trio with Steinar Raknes (bass) and Doug Raney (guitar) released the album Cats and Doug (Hot Club Records, 2002). Erik Nylander (drums) replaced Raney on the production of Eboue Seck's Wolof Experience at (Moldejazz 2005). On Vossajazz 2006, they play with Vidar Busk, accompanied by HŒkon MjŒset Johansen (drums). The trio (with Nylander/Raknes) released the album Night (Jazzland, 2006) with the Kvernberg's own compositions. People was published in 2009. The commissioned work Liarbird to the Jazz 2010 was released. For the record Liarbird he won the Spellemannprisen 2011 in the class jazz.

He played with Niels-Henning ¯rsted Pedersen and Philip Catherine at Moldejazz 2004, and was involved in the Ingebrigt HŒker Flaten Quintet, the trio Gammalgrass with Stian Carstensen and Ole Morten VŒgan, in The Scarlatti Ensemble with Kim Myhr, Eirik Hegdal and Marianne Baudouin Lie, with Siri Gj¾re's Tr¿nderh¿ns and as a guest in Banjovi with Finn Guttormsen, Stian Carstensen, Haakon Askeland, Kjartan Iversen and Knut Hem. In 2007 he was with Thomas Dybdahl on tour. In 2008 Kvernberg contributed on the Jon Larsen's The Jimmy Carl Black Story.

He is portrayed in the Stein Kagge's book Fra Satchmo til Ola Kvernberg (2001), and he is the brother of traditional musician Jorun Marie Kvernberg (1979).Ola Kvernberg, Erik Nylander and Steinar Raknes with the Jazzland Community at the Jazz club Sardinen, USF Verftet in November 2012."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. The Waning (Pt.1 and 2) 7:28

2. Kingdom Of Oblivion 6:56

3. Lady May 3:21

4. The United Debased 9:03

5. The Watcher 5:03

6. Dreamkiller 5:15

7. Atet 2:16

8. At Empire's End 8:35

9. The Hunt 5:45

10. After The Fair 1:57

11. The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker 10:55

12. Cormorant 3:38
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"One would think that after the "Gullvag Trilogy" - two double and a single album in a mere three years - this ultra productive trio might be in need of a break of sorts... but on the other hand, riding a golden wave like never before in their 30+ year existence, why stop now? Especially when constantly upping their own quality standards.

The bulk of the album was recorded in France back before the pandemic, but was added to, expanded, tweaked and eventually finished last year. The initial idea was to collect big riffs on one album and do a pure hard rock record, but the objective changed along the way as they rediscovered their folkish bent and how this lighter touch gave it all a nice contrast.

That said, the main musical thrust is pretty full-on, even by Motorpsycho standards."-Rune Grammofon

"You could say Motorpsycho have been on a roll for the past 15 years. Not one misstep to be found and rarely a year passes by without new music out. We barely had time to accommodate with the brilliant The All Is One when the guys already announced a brand new record. Admittedly, Kingdom of Oblivion started out as a hard rock LP, but considering the band's course this past decade, it inevitably developed various twists and turns in the process. A significant amount of the songs here were recorded together with the aforementioned double album, so expect a familiar approach in sound and structure. Nevertheless, a number of experiments have been included too, creating one dynamic ride again. At this point in their career, the trio is in full control even when testing waters.

Although shorter than its predecessor, Kingdom of Oblivion feels considerably denser overall. There are a handful of epics which deliver the riffs and go through all those trademark Motorpsycho moments. Highlights include 'The United Debased', 'The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker' and 'At Empire's End'. The former brings forth a smooth main groove with catchy vocals, complete with a powerful guitar solo that shifts halfway into a darker, more intriguing segment. There are fewer electronic elements, as the band focused on the punch of their instruments. The last couple of minutes speed up the tempo and become chunkier tone-wise. There isn't one clear climax, each part expanding on its own instead. Meanwhile, 'The Transmutation of Cosmoctopus Lurker' channels their psychedelic strengths, offering a slight return to the Little Lucid Moments era. The results are slightly messier on purpose and I dig the noisy riffs and busy drumming. After so many tight songs, this one comes across as a breath of fresh air. Moreover, 'At Empire's End' shares a moodier vibe, using those folksy bit Bent loves as a starting point amid grandiose, Mellotron-led rhythms. The latter might have stemmed from successful jam sessions, since the trio left considerable room for the instrumental to unfold.

The remaining, shorter tracks provide some needed diversity to Kingdom of Oblivion. At the album's core lie three interesting ditties which might raise some brows upon initial listening. The band's take on Motorhead's 'The Watcher' begins with a round of noise, before the bass line and muffled vocals quietly play in the background until overtaken by it again. On the other hand, 'Dreamkiller' features gentle acoustic touches and Bent's soft croon, only to be interrupted by pounding drums and sharp guitar licks. Things turn louder by the minute, maintaining the same pattern. This experiment reaches an end with 'Atet', a theatrical, folksy coda. It's like experiencing a sonic equivalent to a fever dream, but I definitely enjoyed it. 'Lady May' & 'The Hunt' lay on the other side of the acoustic spectrum, boasting some lovely melodies, whereas 'Cormorant' closes the ride with a thoughtful, lounge tinged atmosphere.

In the end, Kingdom of Oblivion seems to position itself in between phases. It's like a half step away from the Gullvåg trilogy. The songs are just as strong and powerful, although quite familiar at times. Despite this thought, I must admit I thoroughly enjoy listening to this album. Bonus points for the acoustic moments, which are more interesting than on The All Is One. Motorpsycho raised the expectations bar so high and continue to hold it up there. You can only criticize small details, but overall, this is another excellent journey in their catalog."-Raul Stanciu, Sputnik Music

Also avaiilable on vinyl LP.
Get additional information at Sputnik Music
Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
Song Based Music
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
Trio Recordings
Quintet Recordings
New in Rock Forms

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