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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jorn – 'Bring Heavy Rock To The Land' album review

Jorn – 'Bring Heavy Rock To The Land' album review
Released on: Frontiers Records. Release date: Available now

I don't know what it is with the guy and the crow's head or whatever bird it is supposed to be, a raven ...? Maybe it's a Norwegian bird of prey, who knows, but sure enough, it's back to adorn another album cover of his.
I'm sure the album cover will receive some criticizms with Jorn's dark image and the character - With the 'birds' head ...! - on the cover, with a priest's white collar and the the cross as well.
He really does seem to go for that Dio like double innuendo of God and the Devil ...
Uncertainty in their own belief's perhaps, who knows?
Anyway, on with the review!

The new album from talented Norwegian singer Jorn, is in fact his sixth media release in just three years!
Indeed the public has received five albums – admittedly including a live album and a ‘Best of’ release. – as well as a live DVD from the man.

 ‘Bring Heavy Rock To The Land’ is his ninth studio album since 2000, yet thirteenth album overall, with two ‘Best of’ releases put out and two live albums. Two of the studio releases were in fact covers, including his 2010 tribute to Dio.
While I totally respect the guys talent, I would only hope that he and label Frontiers, are not simply flooding the market too much ...?
As quantity over quality, I think is starting to show ...

 Opening with the acoustic, atmospheric number ‘My Road’ Jorn shares with us, the story of the mysterious path he has chosen, but it really goes nowhere.
You’re kind of waiting for it to pick up, where it doesn’t ... 
If this had been identified as an intro to the title track ‘Bring Heavy Rock To The Land’ next, then I guess I would have got it, but on its own it’s lacking in some way …

 So to the title track and it’s standard hard rock fare and while Jorn certainly seems to have a voice that sits somewhere between both Dio and (David) Coverdale – Ironic huh?! If you don't know what I mean, look the guy's background up. – he seems here as if he’s perhaps straining a little.

I mean seriously, I do see what Jorn’s best intentions are with trying to get good hard (heavy) and melodic rock to the fore in these current times and musically, it’s great stuff, but for a title track it’s OK at best -to me - but almost like we really have heard this before.
Musically it’s Dio style format by all accounts, with some great guitar work and solid rhythm too.

‘A Thousand Cuts’ is next, introduced with the sound of blades clashing, before getting into the general groove of the song.
Through the verses, this really reminds me of a bunch of songs – that will remain nameless … I’m sure it will bring you your own memories. – yet the chorus takes its own direction.
There seems a hint of Rainbow, Diamond Head, even Def Leppard to a degree about it too.
It’s good musically, just not really standing out as ‘wow’ to me unfortunately, but still good.

Next up it seems Jorn is trying to see if he can go one better than Saxon with his take on the Christopher Cross classic, ‘Ride Like The Wind.’
It’s definitely a very respectable version.
Again, it’s good, but I do think that Jorn seems to be straining a little vocally.
Perhaps the guy's is trying to do too much back to back, with all his output.   

‘Chains Around You Next’ rushes in with a passion and it almost sounds like Judas Priest meets Rainbow! Yes, certainly that good.
I actually really, really like this …. Maybe because I’m reminded a little of ‘Spotlight Kid,’ no bad thing I guess. Just not really original …

Another beauty in ‘The World I See’ that starts with a gentle intro ala Dio in its style, before ripping into some heavy old riffs, grinding away and then find some melody again, but generally stays with the heavy theme.
I am picking up on the fact that Jorn does like to follow RJD (RIP) in his references to rainbows … Am I wrong? Listen across the songs yourself …

‘Time to be King’ starts with a bell tolling away and then some almost doom laden style power chords before getting into some driving guitar and up tempo rhythm, before getting into a semi-prog metal like mid-section.
About midway through – And this freaks me out, as I’m writing this as the album plays back to me through headphones. – the sounds shifts gradually from left channel to right and back and forth a few times … This messes with your head big time. Fun stuff!

With ‘Ride To The Guns’ it starts with just heavy, dirty guitar riffs like Viv Campbell’s (Dio, Whitesnake, Def Leppard) style on ‘Holy Diver’ but it’s also has the sound shifting again from left to right channel. It’s not unlike Saxon’s style either. Punchy stuff indeed!

‘Black Morning’ starts, not unlike something you’d maybe expect from Yes or Triumph even acoustically, nice!
Sung in an almost Coverdale style manner and is a nice big old power ballad.
It’s so true, without a shadow of a doubt that rock musicians really know how to write the best ballads. This is very well done.
Nice job guys!

Back to the rock ‘n’ roll with the aptly titled ‘I Came To Rock,’ to close the album out.
It's steady rockin’ stuff, with some interesting timing changes throughout, then with already a mindset that this is all very much in the same vein as Dio, the pre-chorus comes along with some synth stabs like ‘Rock and Roll Children.’
Forgive me also for the thought that the underlying riff throughout, really reminds me of Focus’ ‘Hocus Pocus.’ 

Overall, musically no complaints …, well, there’s a lot of familiar riffs and seriously, I do understand the fact that there are only so many chords and so chord patterns will of course start to sound like something else. So that alone is tough for any artist.
Jorn is clearly a huge Dio fan, likewise his excellent band and clearly the influence and sound is right there.
Kudo's of course, to the man's fine backing band too. No complaints there at all, they're solid throughout.
With Willy Bendiksen on drums, Nic Angileri (Bass), Tore Moren (Guitar) and Jimmy Iversen (Guitar), he's certainly has strength in depth backing him up.
It’s very good musically, although I do feel that Jorn sounds like there’s more strain in his voice on this release and it’s really not stunning, still good, but nothing to me that really makes me go, ‘Wow’ that just blows me away.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

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