I like Jorn Lande. I really do. He's one of the best pure classic hard rock and heavy metal singers around. A Dio disciple. But sometimes he just makes me scratch my head, and wonder. I came to his latest album, Heavy Rock Radio with same trepidation and skepticism as with 2013's Symphonic. As the name implies, popular radio hits of the past and present get the proverbial Jorn "heavy rock" treatment. Sure. Why not?
Okay. But, here's my thing. If you're going to do a cover album, pick some songs I know or remember. Like I Know There's Something Going On. Huh? I had to look that one up. It's a song recorded in 1982 by ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida). I'm not exactly up on ABBA, let alone member solo albums. Nor Kate Bush. I like her voice, but haven't listened to much of her stuff. But Jorn covers Running Up That Hill. Then there's Foreigner's Rev On The Red Line from Head Games. Remember the album, but not that song. And then John Farnham's You're The Voice. Nope. Wasn't he in the Little River Band?
Then there's the songs I do know. Killer Queen. Yeah, that iconic song. Rainbow In The Dark. Stormbringer. The Black Sabbath song, Die Young. Then there were the oddballs, not my first choices for the "Jornization" like Don't Stop Believing (wish people would stop covering this song for a least one year), Hotel California, and Iron Maiden's The Final Frontier.
So I didn't know some songs and others I did. Regardless, overall, they sound pretty terrific. Jorn suggested from the start that he want to treat the songs with respect, like keeping the inherent melody, the rock groove, and radio pop power. He pulls it off, like only he can do. Though I had and still have my doubts about Hotel California and The Final Frontier, but they're pretty good too. The songs sound bold and the soaring guitar work is a plus. Yet here's the curious thing about this album. On the more pop rock songs, like the ones I didn't know, Jorn's voice seems more subdued, as if he wanted the song and the music to be more forward than his vocals. But the opposite was true for Rainbow In The Dark and Stormbringer, where his vocals are more assertive, forward. Perhaps because the inherent nature of those songs lends more to his heavy rock feel. Either way, as I said, Jorn's interpretation's are tasteful and entertaining. I think you'll dig the album. Recommended.
Jorn's interpretation of some popular radio rock hits from the past and present are tasteful and entertaining. (Even if I didn't recognize some.) I think you'll dig the album. Recommended.
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