HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO-EVIL IN OSLO.
HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO-EVIL IN OSLO.
Most groups choose to release just one new album at a time. That’s most groups. However, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio aren’t most groups. Instead, they’re musical trailblazers, who push musical boundaries, and in the process, create inventive and innovative genre-melting music. That’s been the case since the Hedvig Mollestad Trio were founded in 2009 by guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen.
The Hedvig Mollestad Trio hit the headlines when they played at the prestigious Molde International Jazz Festival in 2009. The newly formed band won the award for the best “young jazz talent.” This was the start of the rise and rise of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.
Two years later, in 2011, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio released their critically acclaimed debut album Shoot on Rune Grammofon. Another two years passed before the Hedvig Mollestad Trio returned with All Of Them Witches in 2013. Not only did it received the same critical acclaim as Shoot, but won a Norwegian Grammy in the rock category. This set the bar high for the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s next album.
When they returned in May 2014 with Enfant Terrible it was hailed as a career defining album. Enfant Terrible was the finest album of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s career. However, since then, they’ve been concentrating on playing live. That was until recently.
After a two year absence, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio return with not one, but two albums. They’ll be released by Rune Grammofin on the 1st of July 2016. This includes their fourth studio album Black Stabat Mater, which is: “a genre-melting opus, that brings back memories of the golden age of rock.” The other album is Evil In Oslo, which is the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s first ever live album. It’s a double album which will be released on heavyweight vinyl. Evil In Oslo is a tantalising taste of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio live.
On Evil In Oslo, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio work their way through nine tracks from their first three albums. These tracks were recorded when the Hedvig Mollestad Trio played in two of Oslo clubs, John Dee and Buckley’s. Playing in front of a hometown audience seemed to bring out the best in the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, They prove to be confident and assured performers on Evil In Oslo.
That’s not surprising. The Hedvig Mollestad Trio have spent much of the last six years playing live. They’ve played across Europe, North America and have headed as far afield as Australia. This constant touring has allowed the Hedvig Mollestad Trio to hone their genre-melting sound. This has paid off, and is showcased on Evil In Oslo.
When the Hedvig Mollestad Trio took to the stage at Buckley’s on 15th August 2015 and John Dee on 25th November 2015, the band was lead by founder and guitar virtuoso Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen. She’s not just one of Norway’s top guitarists, but one of the best in Europe. Hedvig was ready to unleash a series of breathtaking and blistering solos. Drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad and bassist Ellen Brekken weren’t just making up the numbers. Far from it. They’re both talented and versatile musicians. who unleashed a series of spellbinding performances on Evil In Oslo.
For The Air opens Evil In Oslo. Straight away, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio make their presence felt as a wash of quivering, crystalline sound is unleashed. It shrieks, wails and rumbles. Occasionally, it threatens to feedback, but somehow, this powerful wall of sound is sculpted into something that’s sonically pleasing and inventive. Then at 1.37 it’s all change.
The drums usher in Ellen’s dark moody bass, and they locks into a groove. Meanwhile, Hedvig’s searing, scorching guitar cuts through the arrangement. Soon, the crystalline guitar quivers and climbs above the arrangement. That’s until darkness descends, and a dark, dramatic classic rock sound unfolds. Then a brief burst of blues rock signals the tempo is rising. Quickly, the Trio are in full flight. Hedvig’s fingers flies up and down the fretboard. When the baton passes to the rhythm section, they showcase their considerable skills, before a lysergic liquid guitar shimmers. Later, as the tempo drops, the Trio are still rocking hard. That’s the case as the tempo begins to build. As the thunderous rhythm section propel the arrangement along, Hedvig delivers a blistering solo before For The Air reaches a breathtaking crescendo.
Drums power Ashes along, before a scorching guitar solo is unleashed. It’s played with fluidity, speed and precision. The bass sits low in the mix, playing a supporting role. It’s the drums and guitar that play starring roles. Ivar pounds his drums, throwing in occasional folks and fills. Soon, bassist Ellen step out of the shadows. She plays a jazz-tinged solo, while the drums and washes of avant-garde guitar. Together they create a genre-melting track that showcases the combined talents of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.
Code Of Hammurabi which opens Side B, bursts into life. As the rhythm section drive the arrangement along, a bristling, crystalline guitar shivers. Then it’s all change, as elements of classic rock and heavy metal combine. This is the music that Hedvig grew up listening to. She unleashes dark, satanic riffs during a lengthy solo. It’s a mixture of speed and precision, as Hedvig’s fingers dance up and down the fretboard. Sometimes, she deploys effects, but does so sparingly. After the solo, Ellen’s bass takes centre-stage. Then the guitar rings out, before shimmering as it’s played with speed and power. It wah-wahs as it soars high above the arrangement. When Hedvig joins the rest of the Trio, they briefly kick loose, before the shimmering arrangement dissipates into the distance.
The Valley is a slow, understated track. Elements of blues and jazz combine, and show another side to the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. Sometimes, it’s reminiscent of early Fleetwood Mac. Especially as the rhythm section play slowly, taking care not to overpower the crystalline, chiming guitar. It’s similar to Peter Green. Other times, as the guitar weeps, this brings back memories of John Martyn’s Solid Air. Later, the track takes on a melancholy, late night sound as the Hedvig Mollestad Trio showcase their versatility.
Side C is an eighteen minute musical adventure that features Lake Acid, Rastapopoulos and Arigato, Bitch. A jaunty rhythm section drive the arrangement along. Ellen’s bass is almost funky, as the drums crack. Soon, Hedvig’s guitar rings out, shivering and quivering. Effects have been used subtly, and the guitar glides across the arrangement. Still the bass adds an element of funk, as Hedvig unleashes another fleet fingered When it drops out, the bass takes over, until the crystalline guitar returns, and another blistering solo unfolds. Speed and precision are the order of the day as the rhythm section power the arrangement along. By then, Hedvig’s searing, blistering guitar solo is one of her finest on Evil In Oslo. Her playing is fluid, as she combines power, precision and speed. That’s until the tempo drops and the arrangement becomes spacious and lysergic. The arrangement quivers as washes of guitar disappear into the distance, while the Trio toy with the listener. That’s until they kick loose.
Soon, the rhythm section propel the arrangement along. They’re joined by a dark, satanic guitar solo. It sounds as if belongs on a Led Zeppelin album. Hedvig continues to play fluidly, as she combines speed and precision. Behind her, a walking bass and drums take centre-stage. Rather than play it straight, drum fills and rolls are added, as the bass walks then scampers along. Then when Hedvig’s guitar returns, it beeps and speaks before producing a lysergic and crystalline sound. By then, the trio are playing as one and fusing power and speed. The rhythm section match the blistering guitar every step of the way, during what’s a captivating and breathtaking eighteen minute musical adventure.
Laughing John and La Boule Noire feature on Side D of Evil In Oslo. Machine gun licks are unleashed, while the rhythm section power the arrangement along. Hedvig’s fingers fly up and down the freeboard. She uses her effects sparingly to sculpt her trademark sound. Meanwhile, the rumbling bass cuts through the arrangement as drums crack. However, it’s the freewheeling guitar solo that steals the show. Especially as Hedvig moves through the gears, and unleashes a peerless, blistering solo. She adds flamboyant flourishes, before this musical masterclass reaches a crescendo.
La Boule Noire closes Evil In Oslo. The Trio play slowly and deliberately, drawing inspiration from classic rock. Especially the unholy trinity of rock, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Hedvig’s guitar and the rhythm section produce a dark, moody and dramatic sound. The arrangement meanders along, with the Trio playing as one. That’s until the dark, moody sound becomes understated. Just a scampering bass and weeping guitar combine, before the tempo begins to rise. A scorning guitar solo joins the rhythm section. Soon, the Trio are in full flight, as a blistering guitar solo is unleashed. It’s played at breakneck speed, as one last time, Hedvig combines speed and precision. Not to be outdone, the rhythm section play with a similar flair and panache. Then when the tempo drops, this rocky jam become dramatic and deliberate. This signals that the Hedvig Mollestad Trio are about to take their leave. They kept one of their best performances until last, and leave on a high. This is a fitting way to close the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s first live album.
For anyone whose yet to see the Hedvig Mollestad Trio live, then Evil In Oslo is a tantalising taste of one of Norway’s top bands. They were formed in 2009, and since then, have released a trio albums and have toured Europe, North America and Australia. Now after a two year absence, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio return with not one, but two albums.
These two albums will be released on Rune Grammofon on the 1st of July 2016. This includes the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s fourth studio album Black Stabat Mater, and their first live album Evil In Oslo. It features nine tracks from the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s first three albums. These tracks were recorded over two nights in Oslo, and will be spread across four sides of heavyweight vinyl. This seems fitting.
Guitar virtuoso Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen who founded the Hedvig Mollestad Trio in 2009, grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. Their influence can be heard throughout Black Stabat Mater. So can the influence of early Hawkwind, Cream, Deep Purple, Santana and West, Bruce and Laing. Closer to home, one can’t help but wonder whether other Norwegian bands, including Moster! and Motorpsycho have influenced the Hedvig Mollestad Trio? These bands have a similar genre-melting sound to the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.
To create this genre-melting sound, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio fuse elements of classic rock, psychedelia, progressive rock and space rock with avant-garde, blues, funk, improv and jazz. Sometimes, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio seamlessly switch between musical genres mid track. Other times, these disparate genres melt into one on the same track. However, for much of the time, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio showcase their hard rocking sound. Over the last seven years it has won friends and influenced people on three continents.
Hopefully, Evil In Oslo will introduce the hard rocking Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s music to a new and much wider audience. Evil In Oslo, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s first live album and their fourth studio album Black Stabat Mater are the perfect introduction to one of the most innovative and inventive of the current crop of Norwegian groups. Lead by virtuoso guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio bring back memories of the golden age of music. Back then, groups like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were musical colossi who bestrode continents with their hard rocking music. That was the past.
Since for far too long, there’s been a real dearth of hard rocking groups. So much so, that many critics had already penned rock music’s obituary. However, recently, rock music has awoken from its slumbers. Now a new breed of hard rocking groups have sprung up across Europe. This includes Norwegian trailblazers the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, who showcase their live sound on Evil On Oslo, which is a tantalising taste of a hard rocking at their vainglorious best.
HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO-EVIL IN OSLO.
- Posted in: Prog Rock ♦ Psychedelia ♦ Rock ♦ Space Rock
- Tagged: All Of Them Witches, Black Stabat Mater, Hedvig Mollestad Trio, Rune Grammofon, Shoot
Derek, I completely agree with your comments. I love your thoughtful and thorough reviews.
Thanks for your kind comments. I’m pleased that you’re enjoying the reviews. I like to write at length, and do the albums justice. So often, there’s an interesting backstory behind the album that’s worth telling.
The Hedvig Mollestad Trio album Live In Oslo is fantastic live album, and one I can thoroughly recommend. They’re one of so many great Norwegian groups around just now. Norwegian music is really strong at the moment, with some groundbreaking groups making ambitious and innovative music.
There will be many more reviews of some great new music, plus reissues. I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy them.
Thanks! I have a little FB Group (music-freak friends) and I often post your reviews. The context you provide makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. And, I love Hedvig! I read about her first release and got it. I’ve bought every one since. The trio is tight and skillful. Hedvig is getting better and better. !!!
Thanks for your kind words. I’m pleased that you enjoy my blog. Thanks for posting my reviews in your Facebook group. The more readers the better.
I’m a big fan of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio and enjoy all their albums. They seem to improve with each album. Long may that continue.
There’s some great new albums and reissues that I’ll be reviewing very soon. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy many of them.