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Motorowl - Atlas

by Martin Knap at 20 August 2018, 8:45 PM

In the recent years certain sub-genres of Metal have become firmly established (or accepted) as part of “midcult” music – music that is neither highbrow nor lowbrow, i.e. deemed fit for consumption for college educated 30-something years olds. In other words music that Pitchfork will publish articles about alongside Indie and Post Rock or Alternative R&B – your DEAFHEAVENS, GHOSTS, YOBS and so on. A whole genre that is accepted as “midcult” almost as a whole now is Stoner or Doom Rock – I can’t think of a trendier genre of Rock or Metal at the moment. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, then, that a couple of young guys gets signed for the release of their debut album only shortly after they were formed by a label like Century Media. I’ m talking about the German band MOTOROWL, whose second full-length album “Atlas” is coming out almost exactly two years after the release of  “Om Generator”.

I haven’t heard “Om Generator” at the time of release, but they must have made quite some splash, since they have been booked for touring with Island’s  heavy-weights SOLSTAFIR and more. The sound of their first album has been described as psychedelic Stoner Rock, and they continue to be marketed as such, but I have to agree with some writers in the German Metal press that on their last album they have taken quite a noticeable progressive turn. The songs do have Stoner / Hard rock energy and driving riffs, but lot of times they sound quite sentimental – a bit too much for my taste. The hook in the title track, for example, is catchy, but also feels a bit too saccharine. Some songs or parts of songs that do have great energy, but some just don’t click with me because I just don’t buy the gloomy sentiment behind them – the songs can get a bit whiny at times. The reason why I think I prefer SPIRITUAL BEGGARS (a stylistically very similar band) to MOTOROWL is that the former have a more streamlined approach – less is sometimes more, as the old truism goes. All the proggy twists and turns may be taking away form the impact of the songs that the band may potentially deliver, given how talented they are. There are many things to like about MOTOROWL’s music: there are nice melodic leads and solos, good vocal hooks; I really like the sinister Psych / Prog Rock keys throughout the songs, they just sound like coming straight from the golden era of Rock. All the “technical” aspects of the album are great, if you ask me.

You won’t regret checking this album out, MOTOROWL are a super talented band, but it remains to be seen if they have a real staying power beyond.

Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Infinite Logbook
2. The Man Who Rules The World
3. Atlas
4. To Give
5. To Take
6. Cargo
7. Norma Jean

Max Hemmann – Guitar, Vocals
Vinzez Steiniger – Guitar
Martin Scheibe – Drums
Tim Camin – Bass
Daniel Dettlev – Keys

Record Label: Century Media


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