I was skeptical at first, possibly even stupefied: adding a symphonic orchestral layer to songs that weren't arranged that way in the first place. Why did Jorn agree to this and who put him up to it? It seems it was a spontaneous notion that came to life in rather quick fashion.
Fortunately, metal vocalist Jorn Lande took the high road. He could have made this a 'best of' album as well, gathering his greatest hits and embellishing them with orchestration. Rather he choose some familiar Jorn songs, others, to some fans, not so much.
Several songs are from his most recent album Bring Heavy Rock to the Land. There's also some songs from his major influence, Ronnie James Dio, from both the Dio and Dio/Sabbath era. And actually, the whole symphonic thing works, if not in a very odd way. On any song here you will wonder if the addition sounds natural or contrived, at least that's how I felt. It should be noted, for clarity, that some songs the orchestration was simply tacked on, others were remixed for the addition.
But, said again, it works and sounds pretty darn good. For instance, I Came to Rock, a Jorn standard, gets a rather epic feel to it, simply because the orchestration in advance of the opening chords reads more like overture than addition. Conversely, with Burn Your Flame the symphonic arrangement is more subdued making it an example of something more natural to the arrangement. Then again, the semi-inspirational The World I See gets a significant boost to it's passionate character. Most interesting might be the Dio/Sabbath covers. The orchestration for Rock and Roll Children makes sense, and enlivens the recording. Alternatively, it's hard to imagine The Mob Rules in a symphonic context; it's such a classic heavy metal arrangement. But Jorn pulls it off: its even heavier, even more more epic. But for some, this would beg the question: why mess with original?
I think Jorn's Symphonic, while both curious and intriguing, in the light of history, will be an album discussed in the controversial context of either dismissiveness or imaginative reinvention. I liked it, simply because it sounded good. Maybe that's just enough to enjoy this album.
I think Jorn's Symphonic, while both curious and intriguing, in the light of history, will be an album discussed in the controversial context of either dismissiveness or imaginative reinvention. I liked it, simply because it sounded good. Maybe that's just enough.
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