Listening to the luxurious psych/prog sprawl of Heavy Metal Fruit, it's hard to believe -- album title notwithstanding -- that this Norwegian outfit started out as an actual metal band. Of course, that was nearly 20 years ago, and there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. Even on the album's heaviest tracks, Motorpsycho displays way too much diversity and subtlety to be considered metal -- opening cut "Starhammer" may contain some gut-punching riffs, but before long, the 13-minute track takes off on a jazzy/proggy interstellar jam excursion, and for all its forward-driving motion, "X-3 (Knuckleheads in Space)" suggests nothing so much as a more technically accomplished Hawkwind, and it, too, moves into some jazzy, jammy territory before all is said and done. Heavy Metal Fruit finds the long-lived Motorpsycho in the midst of a period of furious creativity, being their third release in a two-year period, and a carefully crafted, hour-plus album at that. Over the course of its cosmic journey, it takes a brief breath with the quiet, piano-based Beatles-meet-Supertramp ballad "Close Your Eyes" before taking off again for the far reaches of the galaxy. But once these Norwegians pile into their sonic rocketship, the sun's the limit. "W.B.A.T." is a shape-shifting epic that comes off like a stoned, mid-'70s conversation between Led Zeppelin and Gong, while the album's tour-de-force closing track, "Gullible's Travails," is a 20-minute prog suite full of floating harmonies, shifting dynamics, and otherworldly Pink Floyd-isms. A long, strange, trip to be sure, but one worth taking.
Heavy Metal Fruit Review
by James Allen
Gullible's Travails, Pts. 1-4: Eye All-Seeing/The Elementhaler/Circle/Phoot's Flower (A Burly Return)