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Jono - Life

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 January 2018, 8:28 AM

From their Facebook page, Swedish sextext JONO describe themselves as “We make music. Hard Rock music. It’s quite bombastic. It’s melodic. Sometimes it’s a bit progressive or symphonic. Most of all: it’s our music.” “Life” is their debut album on the Frontiers Record label, to whom they were most recently signed, and contains ten tracks. “Sailors” is the opening track. It has a kinky kind of vibe, reminding me of the band KARNIVOOL. Norrby’s vocals are thick with vibrato and he had no trouble negotiating them in the upper ranges. On the Rock and Metal spectrum I could call it somewhere in between…it’s mostly on the lighter side but there are moments of heaviness as well. “Crown” pushes an easy listening melody with appropriate doses of keys, piano and vocals, with guitars, bass and drum holding down the bottom end. It builds to a shattering crescendo at the end, melding all the instruments into a thick and comforting sauce.

“On the Other Side” has a groovy rhythm and some haste in the verses that lead to a bombastic chorus, heavy with feeling and emotion. Structurally I hear a sound similar to the “Octavarium” album by DREAM THEATER. Keeping piano in the forefront keeps it from being too weighted and allows the melodies to shine. “To Be Near You” is more of a ballad of sorts. There is a deep longing, especially in the vocal performance, and it sound like something you might hear on an old QUEEN album. Very touching. “My Love” highlights the unique, eclectic and sometimes eccentric sound that runs through the album as a whole. It’s easy enough to make comparisons with similar bands, but don’t mistake this for a copy, as their music is most definitely their own. “The Magician” is another good example of this. The chords in minor keys keeps the song shrouded in a bit if mystery and suspense. I can see the spellbinder reaching to the darker side of the arts, trying to resist the temptation of what that would bring.

“The March” is the closing song. Oboe, piano and French horn lead the sound from the opening. Norrby’s vocals are hushed but full with emotion. It moves slowly to the point where the concept of time around you ceases to move, and you are swept into the moment in every way. The album as a whole was a pleasurable listening experience. It pulses with every bit of the band’s personality, as they mentioned in the intro to this review. Where I believe it will appeal most to music fans is for those connoisseurs who have broad tastes, and who like passion and depth in their music. Though sometimes idiosyncratic, it is rich with texture and surrounds you in warmth.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Sailors
2. Crown
3. No Return
4. On the Other Side
5. Down Side
6. To be Near You
7. My Love
8. The Magician
9. Trust
10. The March
Johan Norrby – Lead Vocals
Johan Carlgren – Keyboards
Stefan Helleblad – Guitars
Nicka Hellenberg – Drums
Janne Henriksson – Bass
Leo Olsson – Guitars
Record Label: Frontiers Music SRL


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