Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hedvig Mollestad Trio - Evil in Oslo (Rune Grammofon, 2016)

Referencing styles as diverse as heavy metal, progressive rock and jazz-fusion, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio are a very impressive entity. On this live album they culminate the music that has been brewing over their last few studio LP’s and consistent touring to make for a very impressive live album. This is an instrumental group consisting of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen on guitar, Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad on drums, the group keeps much of the album on the heavy side but also endeavors to use a wider range of dynamics delving from spacey post rock to massive riffing and jazzy interludes before jumping into more free and open improvisational landscapes. There are four massive side-long slabs of music on this album, ever changing like shifting sand from waves of feedback before slowly developing some heavy guitar riffs that pile above the bass and drums like a coming storm. They suddenly kick into a faster raw trio section that is very exciting, and opens for some excellent bass and drums interplay. Sparks and snarls of guitar return almost lazily, setting up another dynamic turn perfectly. The music develops sharper edges with spikes and claws emerging, then letting up as the band moves into droning space rock territory. The album is a rush, showing the trio rocking out in a heavy formation at a very fast tempo. The group drifts into a more open and spacey section toward the middle of some pieces, developing the music dynamically, as their sound arcs and fades within the wider vistas. Things are brought back up to speed as the trio approaches the conclusion, with sparks of wicked electric guitar flying over heavy bass and drums. There are fast and heavy beginnings as the group puts forth a massive edifice of sound, with Mollestad’s guitar twisting and turning like a snake. They move into a spacier and more abstract sections where Mollestad weaves gently chopped guitar against waves of heavy cymbals. They conclude the album in fine fashion with thick bass providing the foundation for Mollestad’s guitar to dart to scalding and abrasive heights like a spaceship being launched into the great beyond. The trio’s music is seemingly motivated by hard rock like Hawkwind and Black Sabbath, but it also includes and eclectic mix of musical ingredients like avant garde jazz, progressive rock and psychedelic music. It is a heady brew regardless of the ingredients and should be of interest to fans of both jazz-fusion and head banging rock ‘n’ roll. Evil in Oslo -

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