Released: 2012, Frontiers
We are all big Jorn fans here at Metal-Rules HQ. With the exception of the 2000 debut STARFIRE, we have reviewed every Jorn album, even the live ones! It been many years since I wrote a review of a Jorn album so I thought I'd put down a few thoughts on his new album BRINGING HEAVY ROCK TO THE LAND.
I like his consistency. Lande delivers another ten or so classic Metal tracks (and a cover track or two) on the Frontiers label with his Raven mascot on the album cover, which he has done pretty much every year for the last seven years.
The lineup is the same as last time however does it really matter who is in the band? I don't say that to denigrate the actual musicians but have you ever noticed that people almost never talk about the member of his band? We at Metal-Rules are equally guilty. Even in our own reviews on this site, everyone praises, 'Lande! Lande! Lande!' but of the dozen reviews we have only mentioned his band a couple of times! It's as if they are non-descript, hired guns and that is a crime because that is not the case. Shame on us. Yes, it's about Jorn and his voice, delivery and lyrics but without his brothers in arms he might not be where he is today.
Guitarist Tore and drummer Willy have been with Jorn essentially from Day One. Willy gives us a show of force with the galloping cut, 'Ride To The Guns' and Tore plays up a storm all over the album. 'Chains Around You' is another barnburner almost bordering on Power Metal with a happy bouncy riff and some really nice soloing. The whole band demonstrates that it is not always about the fireworks when they settle into the very sensitive and understated ballad, 'Black Morning' with Lande channeling his inner Coverdale. My main point is that the calibre of musicians and performances are very high and even without Jorn at the helm the band would be a force to be reckoned with.
Back to the album itself, we get a couple of cover tunes one from Masterplan, and a great little song called 'Riding On The Wind' originally recorded by Christopher Cross in 1980 but popularized for the Metal community by Saxon doing a version on their 1988 album, DESTINY. My gut tells me Jorn choose the song because of Saxon, not Cross. Jorn was born to sing this song and he does a great version adding emotional to the wistful lyrics.
As for singing, when Jorn sings the opening line, 'We're on a mission for the rock!', in the title track, I can't help but smile and think that Dio himself is also smiling down from Metal heaven and meanwhile on the earthly plane, Jack Black of Tenacious D is headbanging and throwing the horns to this song!
If Jorn is the 'High Priest of Rock' who is bringing the gospel of Heavy Rock to the land, (and his under-rated band are the acolytes) then sign me up to worship at the altar of steel!