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Hedvig Mollestad Trio: All Of Them Witches

Killer second album from Nordic riff monsters.

Norwegian guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen first set hearts ablaze with 2011 debut Shoot!, a heady brew that gleefully rumbled between prog, jazz and metal.

It was the product of formative years spent cherishing records by the Melvins and Pearl Jam, while also picking up awards on the Oslo free jazz scene. All Of Them Witches, finds her again heading up the trio of bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjornstad, is another ripe batch of overdriven instrumentals with an intensity most others can only hint at.

Taking its 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 virtuoso playing) and the remarkable 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 round.

Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.