Whenever a new JORN album is due for release then I instantly feel my excitement levels rise. This fine classic rock vocalist has easily become one of my favourite singers over the last 20 years, not just with his unique ability to replicate many RONNIE JAMES DIO songs, but also his library of fine studio albums full to the brim of original material that is proper old school rock / metal with no fancy trimmings.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL8HZuHi9AQ&w=560&h=315]
With this being the second instalment of covers that JORN has now released these tracks personal to him that shaped his life growing up through his teenage years through to adulthood. The first album had songs such as, Hotel California, Running Up That Hill, You’re The Voice and instantly became classics with the fans including me. With a stellar the line-up consisting of
JORN LANDE / VOCALS
ALESSANDRO DEL VECCHIO / KEYBOARDS
SID RINGSBY / BASS
TORE MOREN, JGOR GIANOLA / GUITARS
FRANCESCO JOVINO / DRUMS
Kicking off with a upbeat lively LONELY NIGHTS first performed by Bryan Adams this is the melodic side to JORN and from the start his vocals stand out like a sore thumb with additional guitars sounding very melodic and crisp. Such a catchy song with the highlight being that foot tapping chorus that you would expect from a track associated Bryan Adams.
WINNING written by Russ Ballad way back in 1980 and also performed by Santana is up next with its synth droning sound and bagpipe affects is a complete surprise. Its hard hitting solid drumming and staggered stop start feel makes this a personal favourite of mine on this album. It really is huge, the emphasis is with the other band members as well as JORN who all provide such a backbone to make this great song sound so wonderful.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S51mzNc6lqI&w=560&h=315]
NEW YORK MINUTE made famous by Don Henley slows the tempo to a crawl with a haunting eerie short keyboard intro and some well placed piercing guitars which add to the build up before JORNS measured vocals make their appearance. Having played this album at least 5 times this track slowly grows and grows on you with the vocals displaying moments when its bordering on saying the words rather than singing them. Marvellous change of tempo with some nice keyboards filling out the song in the back ground.
No one would have blamed JORN if he had played it safe with an album full of Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake and lots of Deep Purple, but no, he has thrown so many curve balls into this album. How about a cover of The Searchers NEEDLES AND PINS to make your ears stand up. Chock full of tempo and a barrage of drums to start things off with a bang. Unless you are one of these people that take their music too seriously or maybe someone who refuses to have a sense of humour this song alone should have you smiling like a Cheshire cat. I certainly was.
Back on familiar ground it’s a stab at Deep Purples BAD ATTITUDE with its hammond organ swirling all over the song and JORN taking no prisoners as his voice hits full throttle with a rock sound we are so accustomed to. With touches of slide guitar and a rollicking drum /bass underpinning this lesser known Deep Purple mid 80s song,
QUINN THE ESKIMO by the Manfred Man Earth Band, really pushes the boundaries although this songs focal point is the band members featuring guitar solos and keyboard aplenty with frantic change of pace left right and centre. In fact, this resembles a studio jam which in hindsight would be the perfect track to play live giving all the members time to take the spotlight. Full credit for having the balls to change a classic song so dramatically. Personally I was surprised but did enjoy the fact that JORN put his own unique stamp on it.
MYSTERY by Dio needs no introduction to anyone reading this and to be honest this Norwegian vocalist can sing Dio like no one else on planet earth. It really is a stunning version and a cover almost identical to the original with just a slight change in keyboard approach. Anyone that has heard the JORN album dedicated to Dio knows that he very rarely messes with the originals, preferring to stay faithful to the much missed voice of rock/metal.
Rounding the album off is Peter Gabriel’s THE RHYTHM OF THE HEAT talk about pissed off with stabbing keyboards and quick double kick drums, with JORN snarling and turning this track into a metal feast. Lots of riffs and spite and yet another huge surprise on an album that is full of moments where you can’t believe that the man is prepared to have a crack at a song so left of centre.
Having now appeared on over 40 albums and the second biggest selling artist from Norway ( AHA first ) it’s refreshing that he releases a cover album from time to time and still refuses to take himself too seriously. If you enjoy some of the original songs listed on the album and you also like to hear some classic sounding rock then get this album, combine the two and stick it in the car. Great stuff.
Review by Steve Bruty for MPM