Norwegian guitar virtuoso Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen first picked up a guitar when she was just ten. It was her mother’s much loved nylon strung acoustic guitar. This was the start of a lifelong love affair with the guitar. Now twenty years later, Hedvig is now one of Europe’s finest guitarists. Hedvig’s group, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, will release their third album Enfant Terrible on 27th May 2014 on Rune Grammofon. It showcases Hedvig’s critically acclaimed guitar playing.

Her style is best described as a fusion of rock and jazz. That’s the music she discovered in her father’s record collection. Hedvig was inspired by rock legends Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. They inspired the blistering, scorching licks Hedvig unleashes. However, there’s more to Hedvig than this. Her playing can be restrained, cerebral, disciplined  and innovative. This has also lead to comparisons with the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana and Pete Cosey, whose Hendrix-esque guitar playing graced Miles Davis’ band between 1973 and 1975. Hedvig Mollestad you’ll realise is no ordinary guitarist.

Far from it. Anyone whose heard the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s two previous albums will tell you this. Their debut album was was Shoot, released in 2011 on Rune Grammofon. This was two years after Hedvig founded the Hedvig Mollestad Trio in 2009. She brought bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad onboard. Straight away, critical acclaim came the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s way.

At the prestigious Molde International Jazz Festival, won the award for the best “young jazz talent” of 2009. This lead to a tour of Norway in 2010. The Hedvig Mollestad Trio then recorded what became their debut album Shoot. When Rune Gramophone heard Shoot, they signed the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. Released to critical acclaim, Shoot was the start of the rise and rise of he Hedvig Mollestad Trio.

Following the release of Shoot, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio continued to tour extensively. They honed their sound by playing literally hundreds of concerts. Whether it was small jazz clubs or huge festivals including Øyafestival, Utkantfestival and Pstereo Festival they were familiar faces. Their sound was soon winning friends and influencing people.This was all good preparation for the recording of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s sophomore album, All Of Them Witches.

It was 2013 when the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s 2013 sophomore album, All Of Them Witches was released. Not only was it critically acclaimed, but it won the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy Award, in the rock category. Soon, The Hedvig Mollestad Trio were on their way. 

Having won one of the most prestigious awards in their homeland, word was spreading about the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. This resulted in a second tour of Europe. Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, France and Italy were introduced to the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. Then there were trips to Japan and Malaysia. During this period, critical acclaim was a constant companion for the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, who’d come a long way since they’d formed in 2009. 

So had Hedvig. She’d come a long way since she received her first electric guitar as a confirmation present. Now she’s one of Europe’s top guitarists. In Decmeber 2013, she and the other two members of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio headed into the studio record their third album Enfant Terrible.

When the Hedvig Mollestad Trio arrived at Ocean Sound Recording, they had written six songs. Hedvig penned Liquid Bridges and Pity The Children. She cowrote Arigato, Bitch with Ellen Brekken, who wrote Laughing John. Drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad contributed Rastapopoulos and cowrote La Boule Noire with Hedvig. These six tracks would become Enfant terrible

Recording of Enfant Terrible took place at Ocean Sound Recording. Enfant Terrible was recorded onto an eight track tape-machine. The six tracks were recorded live by Henning Sworen. This is the old school way. It’s also how the artists who influenced Hedvig recorded their legendary albums. Her thinking must have been, if it’s good enough for Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Jimi Hendrix and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, it’s good enough for The Hedvig Mollestad Trio as they mix classic rock and electric jazz on Enfant Terribe. This is a heady, potent and exhilarating brew, which I’ll tell you about.

Laughing John opens Enfant Terrible. Straight away, you can’t help but be impressed by the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. They kick loose from the get go. At the heart of the action is Hedvig’s blistering, scorching guitar licks. Ivar’s pounding drums and buzzing bass provide the backdrop for Hedvig. She unleashes a swaggering virtuoso performance. Her fingers nimbly flit up and down the fretboards. As a result the guitars shimmer, chime and take on a fuzzy sixties sound. It resonates, reverb reminding you how impressive a performance this is. It’s one that encapsulates the spirit of Jimi Hendrix.

Arigato, Bitch reminds me of Black Sabbath circa Paranoid and Masters Of Destruction. The music is dark and moody, as the Hedvig Mollestad Trio lock into the tightest of grooves. You could easily be forgiven for thinking that bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi that are going toe to toe. It’s not. Instead, Hedvig’s guitar and Ellen Brekken’s bass roll back the years to create a slice of vintage rock. Midway through the track, sparse drums provide the heartbeat as Hedvig’s chiming, crystalline guitar takes centre-stage. It shivers and quivers, effects used sparingly. Reverb adds space to the sound, as Hedvig delivers a guitar masterclass. Her playing is restrained and disciplined. Later, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio join forces as the track reaches a glorious rocky crescendo. It’s like the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s homage to Black Sabbath in their prime.

Rolls of drums open Liquid Bridges as Hedvig’s guitar and Ellen Brekken’s bass. The drums provide the slow, hypnotic heartbeat. Hedvig’s guitar and Ellen’s bass veers between rocky to restrained and disciplined. Rocky gives way to jazz-tinged. When the music is restrained, it’s as the Hedvig Mollestad Trio are toying with you. That’s the case. Soon, Hedvig unleashes some classic rock licks. Her, searing, scorching and soaring licks are a reminder of the early seventies. Hedvig’s playing is flawless. Similarly, Ellen and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad never miss a beat. The result is a flawless fusion of electric jazz and classic rock.

Rastapopoulos is quite simply, two minutes of musical magic. It’s named after the in Tin Tin’s nemesis. What follows is a a roller coaster journey through classic rock. It’s a case of sit back and enjoy some blistering, scorching, screaming guitar licks, machine gun bass lines and thundering drums. Throw in some feedback and it’s the perfect way to spend two minutes.

La Boule Noire has a dark, dramatic sound. The Hedvig Mollestad Trio unite to create this moody, gothic sound. The rhythm section and Hedvig’s searing, scorching guitars drive the arrangement along. The tempo is slow, allowing you to revel in a bass and guitar masterclass. Hedvig’s guitar and Ellen’s bass lock horns. They both play a part in the track’s sound and success. Then when the band kick loose, Hedvig delivers one of her best solos. Her fingers fly up and down the fretboard, unleashing a series of scorching, soaring power chords. This spurs the rest of the band on. They up their game on this seminal eight minute heavy rock epic.

Pity The Children closes Enfant Terrible. It has an understated, wistful, melancholy sound. Everyone plays within themselves. Guitars shimmer and quiver, while  cymbals shiver. Then drums pound hypnotically and the bass and guitars join forces. You sense that the Hedvig Mollestad Trio are going to kick out the jams one more time. Briefly, they do. They return to a much more restrained style. This allows Hedvig to showcase her considerable skill. Her crystalline guitar chimes, climbs and soars high above the arrangement. That seems to be the signal for the band to kick loose. This they do, but only briefly. After that, the track heads to an understated, wistful and beautiful crescendo, that allows you to hear two sides to the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s music.

Enfant Terrible is only the third album of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s career. They;ve come along way since they were founded in 2009. Now they’re one of Norway’s top bands, who are making a name for themselves worldwide. That’s why in 2013 they were invited to play SXSW, and they’ve also been invited to play several concerts in Canada in 2014, including the Ottawa Jazz Festival. No wonder. The Hedvig Mollestad Trio are a hugely talented band with a big future ahead of them. Hopefully, Enfant Terrible will help them make the next step. After all, Enfant Terrible is the finest album of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s career.

The Hedvig Mollestad Trio an example of a tight and talented band who have spent the last few years honing their sound. Their constant touring has paid off. It’s the only way for a band to tighten and hone their sound. It also allows a band to build a fan-base and honing their sound. The Hedvig Mollestad Trio like countless other bands over the past fifty years have done this. Now is the time for them to enjoy the fruits of their labour. This has paid off. 

Enfant Terrible is, without doubt, a career defining album from the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. They seamlessly shift between musical genres. Bues, jazz, psychedelia and rock are thrown into the mix by the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s. Sometimes, Bushman’s Revenge seamlessly switch between musical genres mid track. Not every band can do this. Mind you, not every band is as talented as the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. They’re more than capable of throwing a series of curveballs, and lulling you into a false sense of security. It’s the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s way of making sure you’re listening as they strut and swagger their way through the six tracks on Enfant Terrible.

For much of the time, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio are a hard rocking power trio. They can kick out the jams like the hardest rocking power trios. That’s why they’ve a huge following not just throughout Europe, but as far afield as Japan, Malaysia and Canada. As the Hedvig Mollestad Trio kick out the jams, they bring back memories of rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Cream. Then there’s the electric jazz of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Santana and Miles Davis between 1968 and 1975. That’s the music that’s influenced Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen growing up.

The same music has inspired Hedvig’s band, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. Their third album Enfant Terrible, will be released on on 27th May 2014 on Rune Grammofon. Enfant Terrible is a career defining album that marks the coming of age of one of Norway’s premier bands, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.



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