After a lengthy period in which Acid Mothers Temple frontman and guitarist Makoto Kawataba led his group on a journey with the Sabbath-influenced Cosmic Inferno, Have You Seen the Other Side of the Sky? marks the triumphant return of his neo-psychedelic outfit, the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. (that last bit stands for Underground Freak-Out). The sixty-minute, six-track album is an often abrasive combination of gut-wrenching speed metal, electronic fuzz psychedelia and free-jazz from newest member Ono Ryoko and the vocals of Nao, who replaced former member and vocalist Cotton Casino. And it’s one of the band’s best yet, regardless of what the members are calling themselves these days.
Kawataba, referred to as “Speed Guru” throughout the band’s album liner notes, summons spirits from below during such metal-heavy tracks as “I Wanna Be Your Bicycle Saddle.” But it’s not one-sided: The acoustic-based “Buy the Moon of Jupiter” plays out like Syd Barrett’s 1970 classic, The Madcap Laughs, and bassist Atsushi Tsuyama’s “Interplanetary Love” would have fit comfortably within the context of any Bert Jansch record.
The Mothers border on ridiculous with the free-jazz flute composition “Asimo’s Naked Breakfast: Rice and Shine,” during which they try to recreate sexual intercourse in song form, including Nao faking an orgasm. Closer “The Tales of Solar Sail: Dark Stars in the Dazzling Sky” caps the album perfectly. Beginning with a three-minute Eastern-influenced flute solo, the track moves into a deep droning tribal rant while the cosmic synthesizers float in and out into a mind-boggling mess of sound before finally climaxing with Makoto’s death-metal guitar strides and Tsuyama’s face-melting monster bass pounding.
The Mothers find originality by blending controversial sounds from the ages. Whether it’s free-jazz or speed metal, the Mothers have managed to be original by mixing the most controversial sounds of each genre they explore, and they’ve done it here with few flaws.
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