Reviewed: November 2020
Released: 13th November 2020, GMR Music
Reviewer: Rebecca Bush
With a strike of Thor’s lightning we are thrown into another realm, seemingly transported to an alternative dimension where it’s the 1980’s, yet inhabited by long-haired, keyboard-wielding Asgardian warriors, riding their glorious flying horses through the air. Then down to lowly Midgard below, where my mortal and unworthy ears are listening to track 01: ‘Promise of Asgaard’ from Jayce Landberg’s new album, ‘The Forbidden World (2020)’. At least, on first impressions, that’s where I feel I am after listening to the anthemic opening number. Heimdall, summon the Bifrost, I’m ready for a rock and roll adventure!
‘Never Love Again’, urges you to stomp your feet and raise a fist into the sky, as the mischievous Loki sunders across the sky in the form of a giant bird. I think this mead is off. Track 2 is a good step up in tempo from the opener of this album, but it’s a rather generic track from way back when, something we’ve heard a thousand times before, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a comforting and nostalgic nod to some of our favorite 80’s songs. As much as ‘Never Love Again’ has been done before, it is cram-packed with some sensational vocals from ex-Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Göran Edman, hitting some earth-shattering high notes as the second track reaches its finisher, which is a bit of a palette cleanser from the previous 3 minutes.
‘Happy 4 U’ is the third track and the third completely different direction. Where have my ravens, dwarven blacksmiths, and treacherous giants escaped to? ‘Happy 4 U’ is another clean and professional recording, but I’m struggling to see a connection between the tracks on ‘The Forbidden World’. That’s not to say the music isn’t enjoyable to listen to, but it feels a little mixed up as if they come from separate albums from the same band. Jayce Landberg has avoided the use of any plug-ins or technological trickery to produce a more authentic and genuine sound for this album, making the album sound current, while retaining that feeling of albums of yesteryear that had been recording in an analog way.
Russian Roulette (Track 05.) is a straight-up, classic 80’s rock n’ roll song with attitude. Drinking, guns, and running wild take you on a slight journey into insanity, and, even though it is yet again not in keeping with the tracks before it, it’s an enjoyable track that showcases some stronger vocals from Göran Edman. Top-notch. ‘Ghosts of Venus’ gives us a moment to collect our ever-changing thoughts, as it serenades us with a lengthy 5-minute instrumental, showcasing just how much talent Jayce Landberg truly has behind the strings.
A few more tracks fly by until we hit our final song of the record, Track 09. ‘Vyktorya’, and for the final track, and final send-off message of this record, they decided to send us on our way with another instrumental. Lovely and haunting, but a little lackluster I must admit.
All in all, with all things considered, ‘The Forbidden World’ is an enjoyable experience to sit and listen through, but that’s where it ends for me. There doesn’t feel to be any real connection from track to track, more a medley of ideas thrown together to showcase certain expressions.