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Reviews 2141

Killer second album from Nordic riff monsters. "All Of Them Witches" is another ripe batch of overdriven instrumentals with an intensity most others can only hint at. Taking it´s cue from Homer´s epic poem "The Iliad", "Sing Goddess" is a feral blast of heavy fuzz in the stoner/Sabbath tradition, the comparison heightened by the full-on lickage of songs like "The New Judas". Where the threesome really excel is when their churning sludge-rock directly meets free-form jazz, as with "Lake Acid" (featuring some remarkable virtuoso playing) and the descriptive ambience of "Shawshank". Lean in closely and you can discern traces of everything from Rush and Monster Magnet to John McLaughlin and Bill Frisell, though the accent is very much at the more rockist end of the spectrum rather than traditional fusion. Intoxicating stuff all around.
Prog (UK)

Let’s say that you’re within the segment of the population prepared to greet the new Black Sabbath album with an excitement girded by skepticism, and maybe some mortification. What you need is “All of Them Witches” (Rune Grammofon), the new release by the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. Led by the youngish guitar shredder Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, with Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums, this is a Norwegian band that brings jazz inflection to a heavy-rock syntax, unless it’s the other way around. The album, in any case, gives you dark-churning Tony Iommi riffs, a touch of Sonny Sharrock wildness, and traces of doom metal and stoner rock, without ever sounding retro. It also gives you a loose concept, with song titles that reach for the Homeric (“Achilles” and “Sing, Goddess”), the biblical (“The New Judas”) and the Babylonian (“Code of Hammurabi”). The guitar playing is explosive but focused, and the cohesion within the band is unshakable. However dense or spaced out this music gets, there’s no question that it sounds alive.
New York Times (US)

Howling, hexed free rock from Nordic guitar heroine. Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen is not your average guitar brandisher: a tall bottle blonde from northern Norway who channels the spirits of Hendrix and Tony Iommi through her semi-acoustic lightning rod. Her free rock trio is on thunderous form on these lithe and sinewy instrumentals, stirred up in a cauldron of sub-metal froth and white-hot jazz rock. Titles like "Sing, Goddess", "Code Of Hammurabi" and "Kathmandu" lend a historical heft to the group´s invocations, but on "Shawshank" and "Ghrá Rúnda", quieter, more reflective modes cast an equally hypnotic spell. 8/10.
Uncut (UK)

There are moments on "All Of Them Witches" where Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen must feel like a teenager again. Her first forays into guitar playing were inspired by her dad´s rock and jazz record collection, and her style - which comes cradled in a really warm, classic distortion - still contains flashes of garish bug-eyed idolisation aimed at the likes of Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest. Plenty of guitar solo bombast here too, and while many of her frills and licks have been parodied for what feels like forever, they are revitalised here by Thomassen´s swagger and untiring enthusiasm.
Rock-a-Rolla (UK)

"All Of Them Witches", by Hedvig Mollestad Trio, is another wig-lifting melding of fusion to metal that’s more precise, textured and less twisty than 2011’s "Shoot!". Another blast from this inimitable guitarist.
The Artsdesk (UK)

From the Norwegian free-music/metal scene, this second instrumental album by guitar heroine Mollestad confirms her love of The Melvins, Sonny Sharrock and six-string gymnastics.
Mojo (UK)

Sie spielt wie ein lebendes Gitarrenlexikon: Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Sonny Sharrock, Nirvana, Fred Frith, Melvins hört man alle raus... Immer wieder glaubt man, einen Riff zu kennen oder zumindest schon einmal irgendwo gehört zu haben... Eine CD für Hardrocker, die auch schon mal ein Ohr voll Miles Davis zu sich genommen haben. 4/5.
Jazz´N´More (DE)

Paradoxes anyone? The new album by "guitar heroine" Hedvig Mollestad, bass player Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad feeds from the birth of experimental (heavy blues) rock and nevertheless expands the genre’s borders. "All Of Them Witches" features ten instrumentals, yet a lot more is said than on many albums with vocals. Although at the beginning it almost reads like a fairy tale of a girl and her guitar and a drummer drinking moonshine in his childhood days, the text on the promo sheet is so nice that it would be worth publishing as well. Indeed a lot can be written about the second full length album by this formidable trio which kicks off where it left on the marvelous predecessor "Shoot!". While other guitar heroes are said to "communicate" with their instrument (which includes listening to the other one), Mollestad forces her guitar with mostly heavy grip to express what she wants – no senseless sentimental discussions are needed! The band chemistry can be described as explosive in the best sense since this album has been recorded live and transports despite its jazz character a lot of raw power and a great rehearsal room atmosphere. According to the aforementioned sheet Mollestad says »we are kind of married« about the constellation with her ingenious counterpart Brekken and straightforward drumming Bjørnstad. Their sometimes heavy exorcisms confirm the suspicion that these musicians are no strangers to demons, be them witches or not. With "Kathmandu" the trio teaches a lesson in rock that pales great parts of the contemporary vintage scene. In my daydreams evoked by listening to this record I imagine a concert with two stages on opposite sides of the room: on one The Dead Weather, on the other one Hedvig Mollestad Trio, playing songs by turns, challenging each other and transcending all those common senses about over- and underground… no losers, all of them witches!
Mørke Skyer (DE)

Instrumentalrock mit einem Mannsbild; teufelt mit gelegentlichen noisigen Einschüben sauber in die Ohren, aber das norwegische Geholze gibt sich progressiver, als es ist. Vom Jazz, den manche darin hören, höre ich keinen Muck, nicht mal den kleinen. Oder hieß der Puck? Fuck it. Vielmehr ist das grundsolides Classic Zeug, so stoned gemacht, dass vom heavy Blues nur mehr die Bluesbetäubung und die Härte geblieben sind. Man kann das darüber hinaus - je nach Perspektive - als reizvoll retrospektiv oder etwas uninspiriert bezeichnen. Gern gehörte Riffs kommen da um die Ecke der Scheibe, aber es sind eben gehörte Riffs. Die Soli sind mitunter verhext eitel und überhaupt: es sind Soli. Des Öfteren setzt die Kopfnickautomatik ein, aber an manchen Stellen, wo die Tracks an Fahrt gewinnen sollen, läuft man ungewollt voraus und verspürt das dringende Bedürfnis ein armdickes Tau rauszuholen, um damit den Karren zu ziehen. Aus dem Track mitunter, aber das wär jetzt zu viel des gar nicht so Guten. Besser jedoch ist, man entspannt sich, macht es sich im angerosteten Vehikel mit seinem charmanten Interieur gemütlich, spielt mit dem Leibhaftigen Uno, genießt die Aussicht und den Rhythmus des Nieselregens. Er wird stärker.
FreiStil (AU)

"...Ein musikalisches Hexengebräu eben, welches sich mit einem mephistophelischen Faust bei der Walpurgisnacht genauso Wohl fühlen würde, wie bei einem Richie Blackmore, der vor lauter Liebe mal wieder Gute-(Blackmore´s) Nacht-Musik anstimmt. Einschlafen aber kann man bei "All Of Them Witches" garantiert nicht."
Noisy Neighbours (DE)

A new attack by the power trio of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen. Thomassen on guitars, Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad: drums. After ‘Shoot’ it is now time for ‘All of them Witches’. An all instrumental heavy rock album. Like many Scandinavian acts (Elephant9, Grand General, etc.) they start from musical conventions from the seventies (Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Sharrock, etc.). The guitar playing of Mollestad is continuously in the forefront. She is an educated guitarist and won the Molde International Jazz Festival’s Jazz Talent of the Year in 2009. She worked with The Trondheim Jazzorkester and her own Trio Thomassen. The music of her recent trio is enjoyed best when played loud. The spontaneity and pleasure drips every second from their music. Metal, psychedelica, blues and improvisation are tastefully mixed into a fusion music that stands and will surely appeal to people with a desire for just plain rock music.
Vital Weekly (NE)

Et innvollsrystende gitarriff kan være noe av det beste livet har å by på. Den nye platen til Ålesund-gitarist Hedvig Mollestad Trio innneholder flere slike... Legg merke til hvordan bandet tålmodig dveler ved de ulike temaene og slik henter frem nesten hypnotiske kvaliteter fra musikken. Mollestads rytmeseksjon - trommis Ivar Loe Bjørnstad og bassist Ellen Brekken - er for øvrig ypperlig. Selv om Mollestad har en klar egenart, kan "All Of Them Witches" plasseres i det vi må kalle en skandinavisk kraftjazz-tradisjon. Kanskje kan vi si hun er mer Led Zeppelin enn Terje Rypdak, men mindre Lightning Bolt enn The Thing? Denne platen bør uansett appellere til både den langhårede, øltørste heavymetal-entusiasten og den progressive jazzlytter. Og alle andre som ikke er redd for en utblåsning. 5/6.
Bergens Tidende (NO)

Det begynner å bli trangt i grenselandet mellom jazz og rock, men det er fortsatt god plass til Hedvig Mollestad. At en kvinne spiller knalltøff gitar i skjæringspunktet mellom jazz og rock, burde vært en selvfølge, og det burde vært unødvendig eller kanskje til og med upassende å gjøre et poeng ut av Hedvig Mollestads kjønn. Men gitar er fortsatt en gutteting, og det finnes fortsatt ikke mange kvinnelige gitarhelter, i hvert fall ikke med en så røff tone i instrumentet som Mollestad fra Ålesund. Både Jimi Hendrix og Jimmy Page spøker i bakgrunnen, samtidig som hun har hentet mye inspirasjon både fra frijazz og be-bop. Resultatet er strålende... De spiller med en egen identitet og skiller seg fra mengden. 5/6.
Adresseavisen (NO)

Både gitaren og bassen låter stort og fett, samtidig er det nok takhøyde til at lydbildet ikke føles overfylt. Bassist Brekken veksler mellom en elbass med massiv smak av Motörhead og Black Sabbath og en minst like bånntung kontrabass i de roligere partiene. Mollestads gitarlyd hører hjemme et sted mellom grunge og metal, med et lite nikk til sin guru Jon Eberson i solonummeret "Ghrá Rúnda"... Tonen settes ettertrykkelig allerede i første låt for et album som siden sveiper innom bredbeint stonerrock i "The New Judas", utagerende frirock i "Indian Driving" og en eim av slangeskinnsboots og twang i korte "Shawshank". Lyden av én del nordisk takhøyde, og én del selvsikker ypping med gitarmestre som Fred Frith og Jimi Hendrix vil garantert åpne enda flere dører for Hedvig Mollestad Trio.
Morgenbladet (NO)

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