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Heavy Rock Radio
Release date: June 3, 2016
Jorn Lande has one of the strongest voices in metal. Since the 1990s he has been an active part of the global scene, fronting melodic power metal icons Masterplan, and adding vocals to Tobias Sammett’s Avantasia albums. As a solo artist, Jorn has crossed the globe numerous times touring in support of albums that just don’t get the respect they deserve here in the USA. Last year’s Dracula: Swing of Death, created with fellow Norwegian rocker Trond Holter, was the most perfectly composed concept album since Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime and the music was presented on a much grander scale. In this light, whether you like covers albums or not, Jorn’s Heavy Rock Radio is a cause for excitement among the metal loving masses.
There are two kinds of covers albums out there: Those that create note for note copies of the original songs, played with all the precision and passion of a Xerox machine, and those that offer wild re-imaginings of classic songs. Jorn and company don’t fall into either camp. Each song is treated with respect for the original version, but Jorn-ized into a melodic, power metal masterpiece. In most cases this works well. Queen’s “Killer Queen” sees very few alterations, aside from some vocal expression. On the other end of the spectrum is Kate Bush’s hit “Running Up That Hill (Deal With God)” which is transformed into a high energy, runaway train of a metal tune. Hands down, this is my favorite version of this song ever recorded. While the flow and melody of the song are kept intact, Jorn breathes new life into this track, giving it an aggressive facelift that is undeniably catchy. It’s this mix of love for the original material and metal wizardry that gives these songs punch.
Each song on Heavy Rock Radio is a classic. “Rev On The Red Line” is a very true version of one of Foreigner’s most aggressive, and most satisfying, songs. Dio’s “Rainbow In the Dark” is likewise presented very close to its original format. “Hotel California” is a surprise, as the Eagles don’t come to mind when one thinks of classic metal. Jorn adds some grit to this rock radio favorite and brings new power to the song in a way that brings it into the now. “I Know There’s Something Going On,” originally released by Frida, yes, Frida from Abba, in 1982, seems an odd choice until you hear how Jorn turns it into a muscular, badass bit of metal. Jorn has taken some of the most respected songs from across the spectrum of rock and turned them into a single, solid metal album. Is every song perfect? No, but in many cases, the songs outshine the originals while still being recognizable. Jorn has handled these songs well and created yet another great album in a long line of excellent releases.
Reviewed by Jim 1340