SOT — Kind of Saltz (review)

SOT — Kind of Saltz album cover Album · 2011 · Avant-garde Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Andyman1125
Any band takes a risk when they experiment with music. Music, an art that has been tested in nearly every way, shape, form, and style in nearly every conception of the human imagination, never ceases to transform itself in the face of the listener. So, when any band takes the common understanding of rock music and starts to play with it, my first reaction is to take the music with a grain of salt (small pun). However, luckily the Norwegian band SOT (short for "Salt of Tusj," these guys seem to like salt), their experimentation with avant-garde structures is easily digestible. The band's debut, Kind of Saltz, is an eclectic blend of many different styles mashed together tastefully to make a very interesting album from this young band of talented musicians. The band, formed of three experienced Norwegian musicians, a guitarist, a drummer, and, uniquely, a tubist, effortlessly combine the three guys' many influences, ranging from jazz to folk to metal to pop to much more in between to make a very unique sound. At first glance the music seemed to be a combination of the dissonant ferocity of Orthrelm, the aggressive and avant tendencies of Koenjihyakkei, and some jazzy folk artist that I haven't discovered yet. Further inspection led me to discover a bit of influence from Zu, Univers Zero, and other avant flavors. But of course the music has sounds that personally I have yet to put my finger on where it came from. The widely eclectic and experimental style certainly keeps the listener on edge, and, on top of the all-encompassing sound, the band seems to have an almost attention deficit, as they switch from theme to theme as if with the breeze. The emphasis on complexity and odd time signatures makes the music a little difficult to keep track of, but overall the fast-paced action of the beat and instrumental agility makes it a nice joy ride.

With a tubist in the band, it's hard to not almost focus entirely upon the "odd" instrument in the mix. Indeed, the low-tuned brass is prevalent in many parts of the album, giving a great dynamic to the already diverse sound. While the brass bass is not always there, Lars Andreas Haug is always present in some form, whether in trumpet form, vocals, or indeed lending the signature low-end grumble of his tuba. Of course the rest of the band is in no way not present either! Skjalg Reithaug's intuitive and creative guitar lines create a fantastic harmony with Haug's varying instrumental contributions, and Anders Hunstad's rhythmic contributions to the album create the quintessential backbone to the entire album. One thing I always like to hear in an album is when each member truly has a quintessential role in the formation of the music on the album, and that quality is certainly present on Kind of Saltz.

Overall, I was very pleased by this album. It goes without saying that three professional musicians with nearly (if not over) 20 years' experience in the music industry will carry a degree of professionality in their recording and composing. While at times the music may seem quirky, the guys still keep it together instrumentally, melodically, and technically. The songs are well-arranged, tight, and extremely well-performed, displaying a strong sense of diversity and innovation. Away from all the technical critique, the album was a blast to explore, and hosts a myriad of multifaceted dynamics for the listener to discover. Whether a particular harmony between instruments is put together in a genius way or a whole swath of arrangements just fits perfectly, the album is chock full of many great moments put together very well in a cohesive and pleasurable way. 4 stars.
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UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I´m listening to the album right now, and I completely agree with your review. A fantasistic release this one. Great entertainment.

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