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SOT - Redwings Nest CD (album) cover





3.84 | 13 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Three years on from a fascinating debut, Norway's SOT return with another fragmented and quirky blast of their curious and defiantly unique take on progressive sounds with `Redwing's Nest'. A trio, although not the usual guitars/keyboards/drums set-up, instead favouring any combination of trombone/sax/trumpets over synths and bass, they create colourful and punchy music that runs through everything from jazz/fusion, metal, Rock In Opposition (R.I.O), Zeuhl, psych and avant-garde, often in the space of one piece, and this follow-up sees the band further honing their skills, still exploring new possibilities and endless potential directions. Their speciality is quick and tight musical bursts with skilfully implemented improvisations worked seamlessly into their compositions, and this time around it also appears that King Crimson have proven to be something of an inspiration for the band.

In under four minutes, the amusingly titled opener `They Called Me Sotanic...' tears through chiming guitar mystery, weaving Crimson-like metallic riffs, trumpeting horns, jazzy electric piano noodling, stop/start unpredictable drumming and even a few seconds of funky scat vocals, all wrapped within abrupt tempo changes back and forth! Puffing tuba races to keep up with spiky guitar grunge heaviness in `Odd Jethegrythe' that almost has a cheeky Gong-like quality, then twisting metal riffs throughout `Ming Mang Dynasty' (one of the longer pieces at over five minutes) thrash around late-night jazzy waffling and quirky keyboard soloing. The high energy `Morrakvisten' is a storm of serrated sharp little maddening guitar shreds that frequently grooves, the thoughtful and restrained `Jan Mayen' - one of the best pieces on the album - has shimmering delayed guitars with a lovely melancholic trumpet solo (nice to hear the band slow things down for a few moments!), and spacey electronics cling to unravelling electric guitar soloing heaviness throughout `Anne Kath'.

On the six-minute title track `Redwing's Nest', SOT take avant-garde noise to extremes, with unnerving unhinged wordless choral voices from vocal choir group Pust that almost bring a Zeuhl quality, a slow marching beat and deranged guitar mangling, with only a few brief ambient Post-Rock styled soothing passages to offer any respite. `Second Row' is a straighter jazz/fusion workout, `Han Sagde Sa' a slightly eerie and dark cinematic ambient experience (a exciting new direction the band may take further in the future?), `Tore Hund' a ripping blast of pschedelic guitar energy, and `Journey' wraps the album on a beautifully executed slowly unwinding Post Rock ethereal finale.

This is the prog equivilent of multiple personality disorder, for those who like their music random and unpredictable, played by a band bursting with talent, imagination and a refrshing sense of humour! Admittedly some listeners may be put off by the constant split-second changes of direction throughout much of the disc, and I personally would love to see the band try their hands at more longer extended pieces in the future (they work beautifully here). They shouldn't worry that not working in spontaneous direction changes all the time might rob them off their identity, as I feel their wind instrument choices makes them more than stand out already. But for now it's great to discover that `Redwing's Nest' sees the band building on all the potential they showed on their superb debut while maturing, all the time discovering new exciting musical avenues. It makes this one another album from SOT that comes highly recommended.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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