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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 243 - 06/20/16

Hedvig Mollestad Trio
Black Stabat Mater
Rune Grammofon

The trio of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen (guitar), Ellen Brekken (bass) and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (drums) started out as a jazz band around 2010. The debut album Shoot was released in 2011. Black Stabat Mater is the trio's fourth studio longplayer. There's also a double vinyl-only live album called Trio: Evil In Oslo released simultaneously with the new studio album. We have to warn at once that this is not a nice jazz trio to put on as background music during the family Sunday dinner. The band demand full attention. Hedvig has stated Terje Rypdal, Miles Davies, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix are among her sources of inspiration and the rock influences are overt in the trio's music along with a bit of heavy blues. This is a wild and very well combined three headed beast that melds free jazz and heavy rock into an amalgam of its own. 'Free metal' has been used as a quite appropriate label to describe the music. And Black Stabat Mater is the freest and dirtiest of their studio albums so far. And it works real fine.

I once released a cassette compilation with a track called "Stabat Mater", the title taken from a medieval hymn about the torments of Mother Mary while her son was crucified. I managed to misspell it and wrote "Sabat Mater" on the cover. Now, if you put Black in front of that it's even easier to see where the Trio is heading at with the album title. I guess guitarist Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath might be added to the inspirational list above. And King Crimson at the most rough, heavy and improvisational, too. There's a track here called "In The Court Of The Trolls" that leads the thoughts toward Crimson's debut album and Edvard Grieg's classic "In The Hall Of The Mountain King". The comparison with The Jimi Hendrix Experience is the easiest way out here. The energy and interplay within the trio format is on the same level, but Hedvig and her mates have a bit different agenda, though I'm sure Jimi would've nodded approvingly if he'd been around these days. Here are no vocals, the instruments with the guitar at the fore speak completely for themselves. The opening track "Approaching" is a wild jazzy helter-skelter ride up and down the guitar and bass neck. After a calm interplay, "On Arrival" doesn't make matters easier, a veritable guitar noise mayhem with a fundament of really energetic drums and bass. The aforementioned "In The Court Of The Trolls" introduces a cool riff-o-rama in between the guitar soloing going high and wild. The six minutes of "-40" is the only chance to gain some breath. Neat and almost lyrical guitar and bass interplay, but with some tendencies of occasional feedback, percussion and other noises to underline who we're dealing with. "Somebody Else Should Be On That Bus" that finishes off the show starts pretty calm as well with an ultra-cool bass riff before rough and partly distorted heavy guitar soloing close to mayhem again takes over. Then a classic heavy progressive Crimson-alike theme before the bus ride ends in noise that is abruptly cut. I think they might have developed and prolonged the ideas of this track a bit. Or maybe it's a clever way to leave us hungry for more. I certainly am!

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