Jorn – Over The Horizon Radar
Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 58:28
Review by Simon Black
Norway’s Jorn Lande is one of the most hardworking vocalists on the Hard Rock circuit – not to mention one of the most well-respected. I first came across him in Avantasia, where he is a vocal keystone having performed on most of their expansive rock opera studio projects, but more crucially has been a part of their touring backbone from the get-go. His rough, powerful and charismatic delivery brings a wonderfully soulful counterpoint to the more clean and operatic delivery of Tobi Sammet and live he is an unstoppable force of nature, so I grabbed the chance to listen to his latest solo effort with open arms. I’ve waffled about Avantasia for a reason and that’s because Sammet is a master at bringing the best performance possible out of his guest vocalists, capturing their essence and letting it flourish.
Now, the challenge I have is this solo piece isn’t what I expected and does not achieve that.
OK, musically this is by the numbers Hard / Melodic Rock, but the problem I have with it is that it’s lacking the song-writing and performance edge that I have come to expect from Lande’s usual projects. I suspect that this is because as with so many Frontiers efforts of late, there’s a bunch of session house musicians involved, who are doing these projects on an almost daily basis (at least judging by the number of disks that cross my desk that have the same Italian names on them). It’s all very well running a music factory, but the means you don’t always get the drive when everyone is equally invested in the project in the way a band that’s fought for its existence from the ground up. Now don’t get me wrong, Frontiers have done well by Lande in the past, as the Allen Lande project testifies, particularly the later ones where former Stratovarius maestro Timo Tolki wrote, produced and performed, because that guy is an absolute perfectionist and like Sammet, brought the absolute best out of both Lande and Symphony X front man Russel Allen and in general I’m a supporter of the label, because they get it very right, very often. Just not always…
And there’s the rub, because throughout the majority of this album I’m struggling to find much that scales the heights I expect of projects with Lande’s name on them. For the most part the songs are formulaic and Lande’s heart does not seem to be into the performance either. Well … almost. Tucked in at the end is a song that bucks that trend and sees the man firing on all cylinders. ‘Faith Bloody Faith’ is Lande at his best – roaring delivery, great charisma and melodic soaring and a damn fine and catchy song-structure. But then there’s a reason for this one being stand out, and that is it was not part of this studio session and was originally written for the 2021 Melodi Grand Prix, which is the Norwegian Eurovision pre-selection national heat show. When the best thing on an album is effectively an extended extra of something written for another purpose, you know you are in trouble….
Sadly the rest of the album is just OK. But with Lande, I have come to expect excellence, because that’s what he’s delivered on each and every other project I have heard him on. I guess you can’t win every day…
‘Faith Bloody Faith’ Official Video
01. Over The Horizon Radar
02. Dead London
03. My Rock And Roll
04. One Man War
05. Black Phoenix
06. Special Edition
07. Ode To The Black Nightshade
08. Winds Of Home
09. In The Dirt
11. Faith Bloody Faith (Extended Album Version)
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Tore Moren – Guitars
Adrian SB – Guitars
Nik Mazzucconi – Bass
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards
Francesco Jovino – Drums
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