Hedvig Mollestad

(Rune Grammofon)

Guitarist Hedvig Mollestad is well known to fans of guitar crunch; she’s led an eponymous trio through a handful of studio dates and a blistering double-live LP since 2011, all blurring the line between fusion and hard rock. The very different ensemble on Ekhidna, a group that includes a trumpeter and a pair of keyboardists, displays another side of the guitarist’s personality.

For “A Stone’s Throw,” a powerhouse rock riff is simultaneously bolstered and subverted by tumbling waves of drums and a countermelody from Susana Santos Silva’s trumpet. Eventually, Mollestad and Silva fall into sync, embarking on a jazz-rock odyssey straight out of 1969. One-third of the way through, things get placid and Pink Floyd-ish, with spacey keyboards swaddling exploratory guitar. “Antilone,” the album’s centerpiece, is even more amped-up, a full-tilt boogie that kicks off with a passage of solo guitar. As on the rest of the disc, the tune reveals more layers and subtleties as it continues, shifting from floor-shaking jazz-rock to psychedelic introspection, even heading into territory reminiscent of early-’70s Santana. Ekhidna is meant to be played good and loud through speakers, but it’s also an album that rewards close listening through headphones.

On Sale Now
November 2021
Joey DeFrancesco
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