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SOT - Kind Of Saltz CD (album) cover





3.99 | 27 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars It's very hard to know where to begin with the knockout debut album from Norway trio Sot! Comprised of three musicians with 20 years experience in a diverse range of musical styles, one of them a tuba player that replaces the need for a bass player (which instantly makes the listener raise an eyebrow!), the band tears through a bafflingly eclectic amount of genres and styles to make a huge musical statement. How to describe it...take the slightly unnerving atmosphere of an RIO/Avant prog band, the spasmodic twists and turns of Frank Zappa, the hyperactive kinetic attack of math rock, then throw in a pinch of the best of Canterbury, loopy jazz diversions, metallic riffing, all topped off with a love of all things King Crimson and you might have your foot in the door to understanding what the band is up to here. All of these are present right from the first track, tightly played with an exhausting energy, and it just even gets better from there.

Percolating tuba pumps through the slightly tense middle-eastern motives that run around `Tusjpan', a mix of `Power To Believe'-era King Crimson with it's maddening repetitive and almost metallic melodies, quirky synth solos, dialogue fragments and powerful rattling drumming. Some very spiky energy on this one, and despite the mix of directions, it all hangs together beautifully.

The two distinct sections of `Follower' brings an early album highlight, at first a more serious and sedate piece with a somber guitar melody, steady drumming, and wordless sighed female vocals. This all creates a very moody reflective atmosphere before an abrupt and sudden Gong-like cut-in plus some heavy brooding menace before eventually drifting back to the first part with an added sorrowful trumpet outro. Great stuff.

`Saltpetersyre' is a crunching metal blast spiced up with waffling jazzy tuba, devil-may-care spiraling guitar fury and raging drumwork.

`Stotten' is deeply and darkly funky one minute, slowly grooving, unnerving and hypnotic the next, with a psychedelic synth solo the Ozric Tentacles would be very proud of in the middle and a drifting ambient diversion thrown in for good measure too. The bits where the band holds back and tones things down like this work extremely well, so perhaps even more of this next time!

While `Oftebrua' is bookended with a furious metallic snap, the jazzy drumming, cooing Richard Sinclair-like sighed vocals and fuzzy electric piano soloing is the stuff Canterbury dreams are made of!

The longer finale track `Tzar Saltan' showcase some incredibly tight group playing that incorporates everything from grooving heavy metal malevolence, icy maddening Crimson atmospheres, comical circus-like loopiness and even some warped scat vocalizing that Focus would be proud of.

There's a number of shorter pieces that also work exceedingly well. I suspect Gong's Daevid Allen would be proud of the maniacal and frantic energy of the loopy hell-raising `Bartof', while the ambient `Den Avsagde' provides a soulful and haunting respite from the bluster of much of the rest of the album. The emotional connection you'll make with the laid back guitar of `End of Saltz' is something you'd expect from King Crimson's Adrian Belew, it sounds like nothing else here and is yet another real high point.

Some might be put off by the run-through of so many varied sounds, but I suspect most will be knocked back and dazzled by what they are hearing. You won't be witness a more unpredictable album anytime soon, and it's bands like this that really lead the direction for the future of truly progressive music. Sure, plenty of us prog fans enjoy a new album from one of the vintage legends, or from some established later acts, but the survival of our favourite genre is dependent on nurturing, appreciating and supporting promising bands such as Sot.

Highly recommended!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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