Sunday, 30 June 2013

Motorspandex - Torment Star (2007) | 85%

NWOFHM #4 : ''I gave you metal, I gave you light''

Please refer to my reviews for Krypt Axeripper and Arkhamin Kirjasto for some context.
Krypt Axeripper's review
Arkhamin Kirjasto's review

Motorspandex is another fucked up experimental project from Jussi Lehtisalo, the mad and prolific genius of Ektro Records. I have a very soft spot for the body of work of this dude, be it his progressive and psychedelic rock in Circle or his punky metal in Steel Mammoth. I consider this EP to be part of a quartet of bands that are/were successfully integrating experimental into a more traditional heavy metal formula. The others being Krypt Axeripper, Tractor Pulling and the most active one Arkhamin Kirjasto. In fact, I think the 3 projects released in 2007 and 2008 were a prelude to the formation of Arkhamin Kirjasto, a band who's also incorporating extreme metal influences into their sound. For now, it's all about this weird ass release.

7 songs, 10 minutes of pure head scratching music, the songs are all pretty short and under 2 minutes. All snippets of awesomeness. It's very catchy and all the songs are quite fast. Compared to Krypt Axeripper, it's a bit more harsh and less accessible. There's both clean and harsh vocals but more of the later. The vocals are not harsh like a death metal band, they're quite understandable and insane. They're deep, manly and rough and then the clean vocals of a song like ''Creepy Rabbit'' took me by surprise with its melodic edge.

''The ghost of nothing/ The knight of everything/Side of the stars/Endless silent''

The sound is a mix of heavy metal and some really really lo-fi thrash metal. Like putting old school Voivod in a blender with some ice and vodka. Despite being lo-fi, it's not amateurish, Jussi is a musician with a clear vision of what he wants and how it would sound like. You're moved into a different world for 10 minutes, wandering and wondering how it managed to sound like that, trying to figure out your footing on the uneasy but unavoidable ground but the sound will grab you by the balls and make you discover a new musical realm,

It's almost build like a grindcore album but it's nowhere near as simple, the riffs are resonating well and the leads are as weirdly produced as in the other projects. Despite the genre and the length of the songs, they're not incomplete. It could be perceived as such but only because it's so charismatic but I think the 1 minutes songs are a definite part of the charm. The replay button is being clicked on a lot with this release overcompensating for the short duration. Nevertheless, it doesn't have the same appeal that Krypt Axeripper or Arkhamin Kirjasto (who really impressed me with their first album and their new EP). It has the same original and totally distorted with reality feel but it's not as accomplished. Not as extreme as AK and not as elaborated as KA. Maybe it's the vocals, Jussi is not an exceptional vocalist despite being a good multi instrumentalist and the fact he's not the singer in AK make the band stronger.

To be honest, I can't dislike this, it's freaking awesome, everything is pretty cool, the name of the band (say Motorspandex five times), the song titles (Frantic Slave, Steellicker?) and the imagery (Jussi naked near an iceberg, dafuq?) are awesome. It has this sense of auto derision about metal that I can get behind,

If you followed my review series about the New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal, a term applied to all the heavy projects of Jussi Lehtisalo, you know what to expect here. Pure madness. Dive into the scene if you think you're mad enough.

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