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Hedvig Mollestad Trio - Black Stabat Mater

  by Keith How

published: 6 / 9 / 2016

Hedvig Mollestad Trio - Black Stabat Mater
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD


Intense and enthralling fifth album from jazz-influenced Norwegian progressive act, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio

Wow, there is enough riffing and soloing here to keep most guitarists happy for years. But with one foot in the house of jazz fusion and one foot in the house of progressive rock, this Norwegian trio simply blow the doors off both camps. Opening cuts 'Approaching/On Arrival' are just stunning. Has Mr Jimi Hendrix returned to Earth and been hanging out in Norway? Not only that he has reappeared as the beautiful Hedvig Mollestad, and if Jimi and even Ziggy could play guitar this girl can really play. A tight fast tempo opening echoes early 1970’s progressive rock styles but there is nothing retro about this sound. Modern at every turn, the trio are driven on by astounding drumming from Ivar Loe Bjornstad while Ellen Brekken’s bass work is tight and mean. Mollestad’s guitar howls and whines like a banshee causing one's head to nod alarmingly. Solos are fluid and impressive. It’s loud and heavy but soon the sound stretches out into spacey jazz territory yet holding a rock structure. After about six minutes 'Approaching' becomes 'On Arrival' and descends into a massively intense ending with crashing drums, huge raging chords from the bass and that wailing guitar. A magnificent work. The trio have four albums under their belt and here they are revealing the fruits of their previous labours. Third track 'In the Court of the Trolls' is a fine example of the controlled passion that flows from the band. Sonically the dynamics they use are intelligent and intriguing. 'Trolls' has an infectious groove while Mollestad’s guitar sensitively echoes like thunder rattling around a fiord. '...4O' provides a softer interlude with bowed bass and acoustic gentle jazz tones set against a sea of cymbals proving a gentle atmosphere. Truly lovely. The final sonic assault is 'Somebody Else Should Be On That Bus'. It is introduced by a bass riff that lays a foundation for a dark drone like affair that growls like a post rock beast. Yes, it's heavy and instrumental but somehow strangely addictive. At 33 minutes the album could be considered a little short but it is a coherent forceful statement of intent and is quite awesome.

Track Listing:-
1 Approaching/On Arrival
2 In The Court Of The Trolls
3 -40
4 Somebody Else Should Be On That Bus

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