Jorn – Heavy Rock Radio II – Executing The Classics
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 24/01/2020
Running Time: 47:31
Review by Paul Monkhouse
Some records just make you ask “why?” Jorn Lande is a hugely talented singer and has released some truly excellent hard rock albums over the years that have won him fans all over the globe. His live shows too are the definition of hard rock masterclasses, a man truly at ease on stage and at the top of his game. “Heavy Rock Radio II” is, in fact, his fourth covers album and follows on the heels of volume one, released in 2016, which shares this theme as a compilation of tracks that influenced the Norwegian metaller. Again, the choices seem a mix of the obvious (‘Mystery’ by Dio) and the more off kilter (The Searchers ‘Needles And Pins’) but all hang together with arrangements and production that are tailor made to highlight the vocalist’s incredible range.
So far, so good but here’s the question: do these versions add anything to the originals? Overall, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, with some really benefitting from the new, heavier styling but others jarring and seemingly almost a pastiche. As mentioned, these are genuine heart felt tributes to some truly great songs but some can come nowhere near the magnificence of the primary recordings. Bryan Adam’s ‘Lonely Nights’, ‘Nightlife’ by Foreigner and a Celtic tinged ‘Winning’ by Russ Ballard all take away something positive from the treatment, the versions presented here sticking fairly close to source but adding some great little touches. Another couple of highlights are Jorn’s take on Deep Purple’s ‘Bad Attitude’, a great song choice and one where he shows flashes of the phrasing that Ian Gillan uses to great effect and a tilt at Santana’s ‘Love’ that’s filled with Southern Rock swagger.
Sadly though, there are some really huge misses that are either heavy handed or just utterly pointless. Given that ‘New York Minute’ by the Eagles and Peter Gabriel’s ‘The Rhythm Of Life’ are so iconic and perfect as they are, why tinker with them at all? Just as bad, ‘The Eskimo Quinn’, penned by Bob Dylan and made famous by Manfred Mann is needlessly turned into a Whitesnake style romp that does no-one any favours. As a whole, the album would be more enjoyable for the casual listener or Jorn devotee but for anyone acquainted with the original recordings it can be at times a frustrating or even teeth clenching experience. Done for the right reasons, this is a noble but very deeply flawed album that really does mix the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
01. Lonely Nights (Bryan Adams)
02. Winning (Russ Ballard)
03. New York Minute (Don Henley)
04. Needles And Pins (The Searchers)
05. Love (Santana)
06. I Do Believe In You (Pages)
07. Nightlife (Foreigner)
08. Bad Attitude (Deep Purple)
09. Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band)
10. Mystery (Dio)
11. The Rhythm Of The Heat (Peter Gabriel)
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