Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Hedvig Mollestad Trio - Ding Dong. You're Dead. (Rune Grammofon Records, 2021)

After releasing a more experimental solo album last year, Norwegian guitarist Hedvig Mollestad reconvenes her regular trio for another exciting exploration through the realms of jazz fusion and progressive rock. She is accompanied on this album by Ellen Brekken on electric and acoustic bass and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad on drums and percussion. “Leo Flash's Return To The Underworld” comes crashing out of the gate in a raucous way, setting a grinding guitar tone with bludgeoning drumming, and Mollestad’s guitar tone bifurcating into a repetitive riff and snaking solo, over taut bass and drums. Hitting very hard with an all out full band segment that recalls some early seventies King Crimson vaulted into post-rock territory, the music is gritty and raw, impacting the listener in a visceral manner. There is a massive guitar solo that strikes out toward the end of the performance lighting the path for the end of the track. “All Flights Cancelled” has an insistent and urgent call to action. The initial repatitive theme drives the music forward with bass and drums quickly falling in line. Mollestad's guitar feature shapes and scours the available material into fascinating waves and forms, with supple shiifts and turns to the overall sound. The rhythm section is in constant motion with undulating bass, and riveting drums pushing the whole trio ever onward in a very exciting fashion. A piercing guitar tone anchored with stout bass playing sets the scene for “Magic Moshroom” where sparks fly from the guitar and drums as the musicians really dig into the sound, leading into a soaring collective section for the band to really demonstrate their identity as a true distinct unit. “The Art of Being Jon Balkovitch“ is an exciting and wild performance where the band grinds out a hard funk feel with embellishments, leaning on excellent bass and drum work as the guitar flies overhead in a killer solo, with towering long tones of pure sound falling back into the rhythm as the band swirls and shimmies into a warped psychedelia. This album worked well and should appeal to progressive rock fans as well as inquisitive jazz partisans. The band is tight and the performances are strong throughout the whole album. Ding Dong You're Dead -

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