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Hedvig Mollestad Trio: All of Them Witches

Reviewed By: Adrian Huggins
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD

Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen (to use her full name) is somewhat of a guitar legend in her native Norway. Drawing on classic rock influences such as Hendrix, Toni Iommi and Jimmy Page as much as she does from free-jazz artists like Sonny Sharrock and Fred Frith, Mollestad has created her own take on this mix with the help of her band mates bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjornstad.

Wasting no time at all, ‘Sing, Goddess’ manages to cram together plenty of fancy guitar playing and also lots of groove. This all held together with a modern twist on the Led Zeppelin style of rhythm. I would hazard a guess that the ‘Goddess’ this is named after is in fact the guitar being played, but that’s just a guess.

‘The Rex’ follows this up superbly with yet more of that groove, and ‘Lake Acid’ gives the floor to Ellen Brekken to really show off her bass playing. ‘The New Judas’ meanwhile has an air of a more polished and instrumental Guns 'n' Roses about it.

Around halfway through this album, however, I did start to feel that this was all good, but I felt myself missing some singing. I’m never normally over bothered by vocals. They are just another melody to me, but they can lift a song, or indeed an album or band, from being just good background music. ‘Shawshank’, which has an aura of film soundtrack, is the exception to this, but on the whole I felt that the whole album could all be lifted by some singing.

‘All Of Them Witches’, however, doesn't come across as overly indulgent for a band being billed as a ‘guitarist's band',. There is plenty of intricate and impressive instrument playing by all involved, but it doesn’t go over the top and you don’t have to have your pentatonic scales and chords off pat to appreciate it

Overall this is an enjoyable album, but to give it a boost and prevent it from delving into the realms of backing music a vocalist could really bring it all to life.

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