LOW STOCK LEVEL
LP version. Why was David Fricke, Senior Editor at Rolling Stone, seen wearing a huge grin on his face at 2014's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas? Well, he happened to be digging the pummeling, ecstatic vision of Norway's Hedvig Mollestad Trio at the time. Double-tracked with a ghostly haze of background fuzz, Hedvig's lightning-rod guitar blazes a trail that comes in the wake of the heaviest guitar giants -- there's Hendrix, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Led Zep's Jimmy Page swirling around the cauldron, but also the exploratory, disciplined free-play of Pete Cosey, John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana buzzing out of her fingertips. Born in the Norwegian town of Ålesund in the early '80s, Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen has been steeped in the guitar since fooling around with her mother's nylon-string acoustic at the age of 10. Together with drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad and bassist Ellen Brekken, and recording with an 8-track tape machine, her Trio turn the full force of heavy rock and electric jazz to demonic purposes. It can be sledgehammer sludge, stoned to a crawl as on "Arigato, Bitch." Or it's nimble as a phantom on "Rastapopoulos," a dizzying churn that's named after the archvillain of Hergé's Tintin cartoons. And for the Mollestad Trio at its intuitive, ESP-connected finest, check "Liquid Bridges." "Laughing John" gestures towards the great Mahavishnu Orchestra guitarist as well as a music teacher, named Jon, who heavily influenced Hedvig's development. The album's fine balance between looseness and control follows a year of world touring, and tracks reflect such odd venues as "La Boule Noire," a former Portuguese disco in Paris whose walls are studded with bullets from a gangland shootout. Enfant Terrible follows the Trio's previous Rune Grammofon releases, the Spellemann (Norwegian Grammy) nominated All of Them Witches (RCD 2141CD/ RLP 3141LP) and Shoot! (RCD 2115CD/ RLP 3115LP) and, like label-mates Bushman's Revenge, Elephant9 and Grand General, represent a thrilling new progressive wave of Norwegian avant-rock/free-metal energy. Don't be fooled by the deceptively innocent portrait of Hedvig herself on the front cover -- a rare example of designer Kim Hiorthøy working with classic black and white photography, and an unusual departure from Rune Grammofon's familiar digipacks. Enfants terribles are a disturbance of the peace. But the regular enfants terribles make changes, they are creative, they force you to think differently. This Enfant Terrible is one of those.