Hedvig Mollestad Trio Credit: Julia Marie Naglestad

Norwegian guitarist Hedvig Mollestad has an uncanny ability to merge rock and jazz in arrangements that transcend the cliches of both genres. On her new album, Ding Dong. You’re Dead. (Rune Grammofon), this hybrid sound is defined in no small part by a sense of play. She returns to her long-running trio following the 2020 detour Ekhidna, where she was backed by a larger ensemble. The perpetual shredding on the new record could sound over-the-top alongside some of the more somber work on Ekhidna, but it’s well-suited for this trio setting. On album opener “Leo Flash’ Return to the Underworld,” Mollestad seems instantly inspired by Ellen Brekken’s persistent bass line, and the following track, “All Flights Cancelled,” perfectly slots into the album’s hesher feel (even though its title directly references life during the pandemic). Mollestad brings her sense of humor to bear on the title track, giving listeners a more nuanced display of her skills as a bandleader: the powerful gallop of Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad cedes space and creates a pastel background over which the guitarist ruminates. (The closer, “Four Candles,” functions the same way.) “Magic Moshroom,” whose title is a wink and a nod to the band’s Sabbathian tendencies, stands at the precipice of full-tilt head-banging but doesn’t leap, instead perfectly lacing together jazz and metal and underlining the trio’s synthesis of sounds.   v