MOTORPSYCHO – Black Hole/Blank Canvas

MOTORPSYCHO - Black Hole/Blank Canvas


Stickman Records
Release date: April 24, 2006

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And then they were two.

Not ever since they started off as a trio back in the late 1980’s had the Motorpsycho family been as small as it was when drummer Gebhardt decided to leave in March 2005. It was as if the kids had all grown up and left. Left behind were parents Bent (bass & vocal) and Snah (guitar & vocals), facing the ultimate question: to die or to live.

Chosing “to live,” the two sought up long-time friend and sound technician Pieder “Pidah” Kloos in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and with teeth clenched made the effort now known as Black Hole/Blank Canvas, the band’s 11th full-length release since the 1991 debut.

The Music

It’s obvious that the loss of Gebhardt has caused quite a stir in the songwriting, as this double-album differs considerably from the more Pop-orientated previous three albums: now it’s time to rock! It’s also obvious that the title of the album is a reflection on their state after losing the drummer: a black hole in his absense, but also a brand new, blank canvas, a playground for new ideas.

And play they do. With amps cranked all the way up and quite satirical lyrics, they are bursting with passion for what they love the most: music. Even if the album boasts a loud profile, there is room for dynamics and for moments of mellow aftermath.

The first CD rocks hard from the very first chords of opener “No Evil”, via the insane grooves in “Critical Mass” and “Devil Dog,” and all the way through to final “Triggerman.” The guys seem to remove a lot of temper on their instruments, without ever losing it, though. The second CD has a more diversified expression, as it offers everything from a Salsa sort of groove in “Hyena,” to a Pop feel in “Sancho Says” and “Before The Flood,” to a far out tremolo effect at the end of “You Lose.” It suffers some under the immense impact of the first disc, yet it maintains the spirit of Motorpsycho and perhaps leaves a few pointers as to where they’re heading next. “Fury On Earth” has some very nice lyrics, as well as a stripped down and honest Nick Drake kind of approach.

The Band

Both Bent and Snah are versatile musicians and this album is perhaps the best proof ever of that. Bent handles the drums (like he has done occasionally in the past), except for on “You Lose,” where Motorpsycho live drummer Jacco Van Rooij gets a chance to say hallo. Bent plays the drums in a more straightforward way than Gebhardt. Simpler, one might say, but yet vital, honest and kickass energetic.

Vocally, both Bent and Snah contribute, and while Bent sounds like himself, Snah reveals remarkable evolution from when he first stepped up to the microphone. Also, they have brought along the essence of the more sophisticated vocal arrangments from their later releases, which, combined with the rougher expression here, adds a new dimension to their music.

By the way, Snah plays some truly blistering solos here. His sense of melody has come a long way from the past and he sounds more at home than ever.

The Verdict

As with any Motorpsycho album, there are ups and downs at first, but after a while, Black Hole/Blank Canvas blooms. It’s easy to compare it to previous masterpieces like Demon Box, Timothy’s Monster, or Trust Us, but, in the end, it stands steadily on its own feet and will go down in history as one of their greatest efforts, especially considering the circumstances. A must for a fan and something to check out for the bold and the beautiful.

The Facts

Apart from the now 11 studio albums, Motorpsycho’s discography includes a dozen or so EPs, a couple of live albums, and numerous contributions to collaborations, compilations, soundtracks, and samplers. Most of their releases are made on both CD and vinyl, however the LPs from their early days are now only available second hand and at near insane prices.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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