Hedvig Mollestad Trio
★★★★ Smells Funny
RUNE GRAMMOFON. CD/DL/LP
Norway’s metal/free jazz crossover monsters embrace a new – relative – subtlety.
Smells Funny opens with Beastie, Beastie. A circular, ominous bass riff is underpinned by unrelenting drums. Spiralling, sustain-heavy guitar spikily recasting Third Stone From The Sun Hendrix tops it off. Six tracks on, with the innate chemistry of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen (guitar), Ellen Brekken (acoustic and electric bass) and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad’s (drums) established, album closer Lucidness uses these elements to instantly dive into seven-plus minutes of a juddering, free-form vortex. On their previous four studio albums, Norway’s Hedvig Mollestad Trio have seamlessly and uniquely fused heavy rock riffing, free jazz reaching out, and full-on drive. Smells Funny, the follow-up to the 2016 live set Evil In Oslo, pushes forward. Instead of building riff upon riff, Mollestad Thomassen’s adoption of free-flowing soloing brings a sound less claustrophobic than before. Extraordinarily, in so doing, no power is lost. Herewith, the hammer of the gods.