SOT — Monster Master

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SOT - Monster Master cover
3.56 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2022

Filed under Jazz Related Rock


A1 Draugner 3:33
A2 Saga Siglar 1:36
A3 Monster Master 13:30
A4 Tilstander 2:25
B1 Mann Med Yacht 4:05
B2 Sunship 4:22
B3 Rolig Ørken 5:13
B4 Barals Grav 8:06


Drums, Percussion, Didgeridoo, Voice, Keyboards – Arild Nyborg
Guest, Dulcimer – Elin Reithaug
Guest, Trumpet – Oscar Andreas Haug
Guest, Vocals – Camilla Susann Haug
Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Keyboards, Audio Generator – Skjalg Reithaug
Tuba, Wind, Voice, Keyboards – Lars Andreas Haug

About this release

Sotanic Sounds – SOTLP 504 (Norway)

Recorded at Evjemoen Military Camp, December 2021

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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SOT has a rather unusual lineup for a jazzy rock band. The expected guitar and drums are there, but in place of a bassist, SOT features Lars Andreas Haug on tuba. The tuba is no gimmick but instead proves its versatility by covering the bass foundation for the rockin parts, and then moving into the upper register for simulated orchestral sections. SOT is a very eclectic band and the use of the tuba expands the different sound colors and genres they can draw upon. Guitarist Skjalg Reithaug, thankfully avoids that awful digital metalish saturation sound you hear from so many guitarists today, but instead goes for a natural distortion that gives his guitar that rock edge, but still allows every note to be very clear. Skjalg, like his tubist brother, is very versatile, moving from fusion like solos, to sweeping chorused arpeggio ambiance, as well as Indian modes and raga influences. Arild Nyborg is the newcomer on drums who doesn’t ‘miss a beat’ in keeping up with SOT’s often fast changing meters and time signatures.

SOT is an instrumental band, save for the occasional wordless choir effect, and they fall somewhere between prog rock and fusion, but they avoid some of the more heavy handed and overly dramatic tendencies of both those genres, and the lack of pretentious song lyrics and vocals are also a plus. There is an upbeat, sometimes humorous, and always celebratory nature to these jams. SOT is having fun and they do well in sending that message to their audience. Musical styles they cover are broad. One staple they fall back on is quick changing rock guitar riffs that recall Jan Akkerman and Focus. Other sections draw on Indo-fusion in a John McLaughlin style. The lengthy title cut has a long section in which the band goes into a slinky Ellington vamp while an unaccredited bari sax player adds to the jazz noire vibe. Despite all the busy jazz rockin, some of SOT’s best moments come during ambient breaks where the string sounding keyboards and the tuba provide panoramic orchestral soundscapes. Finally, the choral buildup at the end of “Sunship” is a high point on the album. SOT is an excellent band and don’t think that tuba is a cute gimmick, it really works.

Members reviews

"Monster Master" is the fourth full-length studio album by Norwegian avant garde/progressive rock act SOT. The album was released through Sotanic Sounds in October 2022. It´s the successor to "Kogel Mogel" from 2016 although the two full-length studio albums are bridged by the 2020 "Soma Forms" single. There´s been one lineup change since "Kogel Mogel" (2016) as drummer Anders Hunstad has been replaced by Arild Nyborg (who also played on the "Soma Forms" (2020) single).

Six years between albums is a long time even in our days, but SOT sound more or less like they´ve done since day one. Guitars, drums, and tuba (which often functions as the bass does in other music), and the occasional vocal part to spice things up. There´s a strong jazz/fusion influence heard throughout the album, but "Monster Master" is an eclectic release, so that´s just one of the musical influences heard on the album. The tracks are dynamic, shifting between atmospheric parts and wild busy avant garde rock sections. The tracks are also loaded with tempo changes and odd-metered time signatures. It´s quite adventurous music and you never really know where SOT will take you next, which is one of the great assets of the album. It´s highly entertaining and engaging all the way through the 42:50 minutes that it lasts.

The sound production is organic, stripped down, and of a good quality, suiting the material well. And it´s the organic way the music sounds and the organic way it is performed that are the greatest strengths of "Monster Master". Hearing the tuba being an integral part of music like this is pretty interesting too, and it´s quite unique. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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  • Shlagh
  • lunarston

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