Jorn – Symphonic
2013, Frontiers Records
1. I Came To Rock
2. Rock And Roll Children
3. The World I See
4. Burn Your Flame
5. Man Of The Dark
6. My Road
7. Time To Be King
8. Black Morning
9. Like Stone In Water
10. Vision Eyes
11. War Of The World
12. Behind The Clown
13. A Thousand Cuts
14. The Mob Rules
Symphonic is a collection of Jorn’s songs, handpicked by Jorn Lande himself, that have been given a remix and orchestral makeover. Even dating back to when Metallica did it, adding orchestral arrangements on top of hard rock/heavy metal is a hit-or-miss affair. It’s hard to make a song work with an orchestra when they weren’t written with that in mind. Still, it can work depending on the song and as I mentioned, a number of these songs were actually remixed to better suit the orchestra element.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to Jorn Lande or the various projects he’s been a part of. It’s only in the last few years I’ve begun to listen to his music but I do recognize some of the songs here like “A Thousand Cuts”, “Time To Be King”, “The World I See”, “Black Morning” and his Dio/Black Sabbath covers.
It’s no surprise that the more powerful numbers like “A Thousand Cuts”, “Time To Be King” and “The Mob Rules” are my favorite out of this bunch. There’s no tampering with those songs to make way for an orchestra. Get in where you can fit in. Mileage will vary on this album. I guess it really all comes down to ‘How much do you like symphonic rock?” Symphony isn’t a necessary release, there’s not one new song in the bunch, but it’s fine for what it is. It’s a satisfying placeholder until the next Jorn album comes along (which shouldn’t be long given this guy’s hectic schedule).
Highlights: ”Rock And Roll Children”, “The World I See”, “My Road”, “Time To Be King”, “Black Morning”, “A Thousand Cuts”, “The Mob Rules”
Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
(2012, Frontiers Records)
1. My Road … 2:42
2. Bring Heavy Rock to the Land … 6:45
3. A Thousand Cuts … 8:03
4. Ride Like The Wind … 4:48
5. Chains Around You … 5:06
6. The World I See … 6:08
7. Time To Be King … 4:16
8. Ride to the Guns … 5:47
9. Black Morning … 4:20
10. I Came to Rock … 5:14
11. Live and Let Fly … 4:15
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Tore Moren – Guitar
Jimmy Iversen – Guitar
Nic Angileri -Bass
Willy Bendiksen – Drums
Producer: Jorn Lande
No one can ever fill Ronnie James Dio’s shoes but darn it if Jorn Lande isn’t at least making a respectable attempt! Jorn has one of the most powerful voices in rock these days and it’s obvious that his vocals and music have been inspired by Ronnie James (he did do an album of covers called Dio after all!). Just amazing stuff whether he’s singing with Tobias Sammet in Avantasia, Masterplan, covering Dio or performing his own solo material.
The song “Bring Heavy Rock to the Land” is just that… heavy rock. It’s a real old-school slowed down menacing rocker that sounds exactly like something of out the Dio playbook. Even the album’s bonus track “Live and Let Fly” sounds like something early Dio Sabbath would’ve done. “A Thousand Cuts” is my favorite track from the album. There’s some real heaviness going on here with a bit of a modern touch. Great riffing.
“Ride Like The Wind” caught me off guard. It sounded familiar to me then I realized it’s a cover of the Christopher Cross song! Of course, the song has been converted to “heavy rock” and it sounds wonderful and epic. It actually makes sense to make this song a heavy rocker when you consider the outlaw lyrics.
“Time To Be King” is another highlight. It’s actually Jorn covering himself. The song originally appeared on the Masterplan album of the same name. I prefer this take of the song over the Masterplan version. “Black Morning” is a great laid back number. I don’t know if it is a cover or not but it has a familiar vibe to it.
Getting back to the heavy rock theme… the whole album is rooted in classic hard rock – aka – “heavy rock”. Dio, Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake… All of the elements are here and Jorn & Co. have brought it all together and made one fantastic album.
Bring Heavy Rock to the Land is a must-own album for all old-school hard rock fans. This is really a culmination of all of Jorn’s influences. One of 2012′s best albums.
Highlights: “Bring Heavy Rock to the Land”, “A Thousand Cuts”, “Ride Like The Wind”, “Chains Around You”, “The World I See”, “Time To Be King”, “Black Morning”
I’m really surprised by how many albums I enjoyed this year. I have a pitiful memory so I had to go back through my blog to remind myself what came out this year but I was floored when my Top 10 list was changed to a Top 20 list, then to a Top 30 list! I knocked it back down to a Top 25 list to make it seem a tiny bit more exclusive.
If you haven’t checked out any of these 25 albums, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. 2010 was an amazing year for rock & metal, much MUCH better than 2009. I don’t see how 2011 can compete!
I’ll keep it short and sweet with my awards. As always, check the links for full reviews.
Best Albums of 2010
1. Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
2. Buckcherry – All Night Long
3. Scorpions – Sting in the Tail
4. Halford – Made of Metal
5. Slash – s/t
6. Black Country Communion – s/t
7. Avantasia – Angel of Babylon
8. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony
9. Accept – Blood of the Nations
10. Hinder – All American Nightmare
11. Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty
12. Reckless Love – s/t
13. Bad City – Welcome to the Wasteland
14. Stone Temple Pilots – s/t
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
16. Krokus – Hoodoo
17. Helloween – 7 Sinners
18. Sister Sin – True Sound of the Underground
19. My Darkest Days – s/t
20. Stereoside – s/t
21. Y&T – Facemelter
22. Danko Jones – Below The Belt
23. Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again
24. Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival
25. Ratt – Infestation
Top Cover Albums
Seems like every year a few established artists like to cover a few *other* established artists, not to mention all those various tribute albums that small labels will slap together. Well, here’s my official ranking of the three cover albums I bothered to listen to this year. Luckily, all three albums were good fun and I think they all deserve another mention.
Top Live Albums
Again, I don’t buy a lot of live albums, but here’s how I rank what I listened to this year.
1. Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
2. Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe
3. Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live
4. The Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo
Most Disappointing Albums
1. Ratt – Infestation
The album was good, don’t get me wrong. It landed at #25 on my Best Of list for Dio’s sake! But… most of the songs had trouble living up to the promise of “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best Of Me”.
2. Armored Saint – La Raza
A bland album from a band that has done so much better. They seemed to be going through the motions (to which John Bush has basically admitted in regards to himself). Symbol of Salvation this ain’t.
3. White Wizzard – Over The Top
The High Speed GTO EP garnered this group a lot of hype and buzz. We all fell for it, I know reviews for this album have been positive and it’s not bad but I expected more. Hopefully a second album will get these guys where they need to be.
4. Raven – Walk Through Fire
The terrible cover art should’ve tipped me off that this album was nothing special.
Check out these other sites for even more lists and year-end awards:
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/
Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.wordpress.com/
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/
Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: 2010, Accept, Armored Saint, Avantasia, Avenged Sevenfold, Bad City, Black Country Communion, Buckcherry, Danko Jones, DesDemon, Dio, Grave Digger, Halford, Hard Rock, Heaven & Hell, Heavy Metal, Helloween, Hinder, Iron Maiden, Jettblack, Joe Elliott's Down 'N' Outz, Jon Oliva's Pain, Jorn, Krokus, Megadeth, Metal, Michael Schenker, Michael Schenker Group, Music, My Darkest Days, Ratt, Raven, Razorwyre, Reckless Love, Rock, Scorpions, Sister Sin, Skull Fist, Slash, Stereoside, Stone Temple Pilots, Vince Neil, White Wizzard, Y&T
Jorn – Dio (2010, Frontiers Records)
1. “Song for Ronnie James” … 8:08
2. “Invisible” … 5:23
3. “Shame on the Night” … 5:21
4. “Push” … 4:00
5. “Stand Up and Shout” … 3:23
6. “Don’t Talk to Strangers” … 4:55
7. “Lord of the Last Day” … 4:50
8. “Night People” … 4:24
9. “Sacred Heart” … 6:26
10. “Sunset Superman” … 4:56
11. “Lonely Is the Word / Letters from Earth” … 5:28
12. “Kill the King” … 4:03
13. Straight Through the Heart (live)” … 5:05
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Tor Erik Myhre – Guitar
Jgor Gianola – Guitar
Tore Moren – Guitar
Nic Angileri – Bass
Willy Bendiksen – Drums, Percussion
Tommy Hansen – Keyboards
Producer: Tommy Hansen
This album was quite a surprise that shocked the metal world for a short time. I believe it was only a week or two after Ronnie James Dio’s passing that a press release was sent out announcing Jorn Lande’s Dio tribute album would be arriving soon. Many people were confused and upset over this. Was Jorn exploiting the memory of Ronnie James? How would he have recorded this album so quickly? Well, soon the word got out that this album had been in the works since 2009 and it had the blessing of Ronnie and his wife Wendy. So all was good in the world again and the metal community then began to anxiously await Jorn’s take on some Dio classics.
The album features a few Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and Rainbow tunes but it mostly focuses on the Dio band. 5 songs come Holy Diver and the next in line (not an intentional pun!) is Dream Evil, which is represented with 2 songs. I was pleasantly surprised by the track listing. Do we really need another cover of “Holy Diver”, “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Heaven and Hell” or “Rainbow in the Dark”? No. Instead, we get some less obvious, but still great, choices like “Push” (from 2000′s Magica album!), “Invisible”, “Lord of the Last Day”, “Sacred Heart” (maybe my favorite song from the Dio band) and “Sunset Superman”. I really would’ve liked to have heard something from the Killing the Dragon album as well, I think that’s one of Dio’s best albums.
If there are a few complaints I could make about the song choices, it’s that I would have liked to have heard Jorn cover some of Rainbow’s more epic songs like “Stargazer” or Dio’s “The Last In Line” (even “Stars” would’ve been fun). I guess those count as “obvious” covers but I really would have loved to hear Lande’s voice on those pieces. And what a voice! Though I’m not in love with much of Jorn’s original work, you can’t deny he has a fantastic voice. Had he been around in a previous era, he’d probably be considered one of the all-time great rock singers. In this day and age, if anyone can do Ronnie James Dio justice, it’s Jorn Lande. In fact, if Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler are interested in doing something other than a reunion with Ozzy, I would love for them to work with Jorn on some original material.
The songs are pretty straight-forward covers. There’s no experimentation being done here, which is fine. If you’re like me, you didn’t buy the album to hear them fool around with the songs. You bought it to hear Jorn’s voice and he doesn’t disappoint. Given the advances in technology since the originals came along, it’s also nice to hear re-recorded versions anyway. There is one original song: “Song For Ronnie James”. When I first heard it, I didn’t like it and thought it was very cheesy but it has grown on me.
If you’re a huge fan of either Ronnie or Jorn, I think this is an album you need to have in your collection.
Highlights: “Song For Ronnie James”, “Push”, “Stand Up and Shout”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Sacred Heart”, “Sunset Superman”