SOT — King Of Saltz (review)

SOT — King Of Saltz album cover Album · 2011 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
J-Man
Although all of the musicians in SOT have had quite a bit of experience in the Scandinavian musical landscape, Kind of Saltz is their first recorded effort as a collective unit. And what an impressive debut it is! SOT is a band that's tough to put your finger on, and their arousing blend of jazz, metal, avant-garde, and progressive rock is nothing less than mind-boggling. Very much like some of Frank Zappa's more zany works, the music on Kind of Saltz spans numerous genres through quirky and seemingly disjointed compositions, and yet they somehow sound cohesive and memorable. SOT has delighted listeners with their very unique and interesting debut, and fans of forward-thinking music would be doing themselves a major disservice by not giving it a spin.

On Kind of Saltz, SOT's sound is best described as a meeting point between jazz fusion, avant-garde rock, instrumental metal, and even touches of post rock - while the overall tone of the album is rather dark at times, the frenzied melodies and spastic arrangements often reveal a rather quirky atmosphere. In this regard (as well as a few others), SOT's music sounds like an up-to-date, heavier version of The Mothers of Invention. The music is quite complex at times, deceivingly melodic, and captivating throughout the album's entire duration. Part of the reason why Kind of Saltz is such a successful effort is that, stylistically, I can't think of any other act who does quite what SOT does. Their enticing avant-garde take on jazz fusion and metal has never been previously done in this sort of fashion, and I think this is at least partially do to the rather odd instrumentation by rock music standards. Including Lars Andreas Haug's tuba playing is without doubt a rather odd decision, but I think it works perfectly. This under-appreciated instrument adds a dimension to SOT's music that couldn't have been obtained using a standard 'bass-guitar-drums' format, and this strange (yet highly successful) choice of instrumentation is yet another thing that sets Kind of Saltz apart from anything else out there.

After just one listen to Kind of Saltz, it goes without saying that the other two-thirds of SOT also do their jobs exceptionally well. Skjalg Reithaug's guitar work is the centerpoint for many of the compositions here, and his fluid soloing and rock-solid riff delivery is always interesting and well-executed. Anders Hunstad's drumming often veers on the complex and intricate side, and he always plays these intricacies with complete precision - overall, it's tough to label SOT as anything but an extremely tight, well-rehearsed trio.

The instrumentation isn't limited just to tuba, guitar, and drums either, as I also spotted some keyboards, trumpet, and vocals (delivered in a scat-singing sort of way) before Kind of Saltz was over. Overall, this is a varied and immensely entertaining listen that all fans of experimental progressive rock should check out sooner rather than later. I always have a great time when I give Kind of Saltz a listen, and I have a pretty good feeling most other readers will as well. This is an excellent debut from SOT - I'm definitely curious to hear more!
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more than 2 years ago
Great review - this sounds very interesting indeed. I wonder how I'll find the tuba? It sounds like an odd choice but I really want to hear it.

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