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JORN Heavy Rock Radio

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 @ 3:42 PM

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Heavy Rock Radio

2016 Frontiers Music

Jorn Lande is one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal vocalists alive. His powerful, Dio-meets-Coverdale baritone is among the best in the industry. Jorn is known for singing with ARK, MASTERPLAN, VAGABOND, THE SNAKES, AVANTASIA, ALLEN/LANDE and several other projects; he has also had his own lengthy solo career. At this point, Jorn has appeared on over 40 albums, and a lot of those have featured a cover track that he put his own spin on. He has released several albums of just covers, such as Unlocking The Past (2007) and his Ronnie James Dio tribute album in 2010. Aside from the fantastic DIO/RAINBOW/BLACK SABBATH covers, some other successful songs that he has covered over the years include MSG’s “On And On”, DEEP PURPLE’s “Burn”, THIN LIZZY’s “Are You Ready” and Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like The Wind”.

Jorn’s ability to inject passion into a song, while still respecting the original is significant. Heavy Rock Radio finds Jorn covering more commercial songs this time. There are some very interesting choices for covers on Heavy Rock Radio, particularly the ‘80s pop songs. Jorn deliberately chose some songs that had no obvious connection to the rock/metal scene. He described the basic idea for the album as wanting to “choose some songs that meant something special to me when I was younger.” He adds, “When you've been around for as long as I have now, it's liberating to go "off track" and try something different.” The original listing of tracks Jorn wanted to do was a whopping 40-50 songs, but that list was pared down to the 12 found here.

The album opens with FRIDA’s “I Know There’s Something Going On” (1982). This version retains most of the big drum beat shuffle, but streamlines the track a bit and adds a bigger guitar crunch. Next is “Running Up That Hill”, an art-pop hit by British singer Kate Bush in 1985. Jorn puts a heavier spin on this track for sure, beefing it way up. Jorn actually slows down FOREIGNER’s “Rev On The Red Line” (1979) quite a bit. Surprising, but it works and is a great choice of FOREIGNER song.

John Farnham’s 1986 anthem “You’re The Voice” comes next. I like this version even more than BLIND GUARDIAN’s cover in 2010. The title track to Paul Stanley’s 2006 solo album Live To Win follows. A great job here; this is one of the best songs on the album. JOURNEY’s 1981 megahit “Don’t Stop Believin’” follows. The first thing I noticed was the absence of keyboards, replaced here with nifty guitar/bass. The build of this song has always been the key, and it’s definitely not lost here. “Killer Queen” (1974), originally by QUEEN, is one of the most meticulously crafted songs ever created. The absence of piano on this song makes it lack the slick pop feel of the original, but the song still shines through, with Jorn layering on the backing vocals and guitarist Trond Holter playing Brian May’s guitar licks. Possibly the most surprising song here is the EAGLES classic “Hotel California” (1976). This version is a bit heavier for sure, and is punctuated by Jorn’s passionate vocals.

Former JORN guitarist Jimmy Iverson appears on “Rainbow In The Dark” and drummer Willy Bendiksen appears on both “Rainbow In The Dark” and “Stormbringer”, the latter being pulled from Jorn’s 2008 album Lonely Are The Brave. There is a cool cover of the title track from IRON MAIDEN’s The Final Frontier (2010). This is known for being one of IRON MAIDEN’s more commercial tracks, and Jorn does a great job singing it. The final track is a cover of BLACK SABBATH’s “Die Young” from Heaven And Hell (1980). This is also one of the best tracks on the album, as Jorn sings it with a fury.

Jorn’s band now consists of Trond Holter (guitar), Francesco Iovino (drums), Thomas Bekkevold (bass) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards). Their playing is consistently great throughout this entire album. There are 12 songs total. The raven even returns to one of Jorn’s best album covers. This is another great package by Jorn Lande, one of the great voices in music. Here’s hoping Jorn follows through on his intention to do Heavy Rock Radio, Volume 2 one day. These songs are so much fun. Heavy Rock Radio is set to be released June 3rd through Frontiers Music.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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