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Jorn - Life On Death Road Award winner

Life On Death Road
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 19 June 2017, 11:25 AM

Although the masses have, for whatever reason, ignored Jorn Lande, if you are into Metal or Prog at all then he doesn’t need an introduction.  Even if you don’t include his amazing song writing skills, his expressive vocals and range make him a legend to all who know him. Whether he is releasing music under Allen/Lande (his duo albums with SYMPHONY X vocalist Russel Allen), or past bands like MASTERPLAN, or his self-titled band JORN, you are going to get nothing but kick ass hard rock/metal.  This latest JORN album, “Life On Death Road,” is yet another explosive burst of melodic metal that showcases not only great instrumental prowess from the amazing lineup but, of course, Jorn’s outstanding vocals.

After some brief noises, the first track, “Life On Death Road,” slams into your ears with Jovino’s pounding skins and Beyrodt’s melodic yet heavy riffs.  You might recognize those two names as current members of PRIMAL FEAR (among other bands they have been a part of) and their playing fits right at home with Jorn’s brand of metal meets hard rock, although Jovino did play on the previous Jorn album, “Heavy Rock Radio.”  His drumming is deceptive in how intense is—he doesn’t play real fast or crazy (this isn’t death metal, mind you) but he has a focused energy and outstanding vigor behind the kit.

Beyrodt is just as expressive as Jorn, except he uses a guitar instead of vocal chords.  His riffs throughout the album contain great moments, there is also catchy melodies, and some awesome leads.  The lead on “Life on Death Road” is both arresting and melodic; it holds the song together but never overstretches its boundaries. “Hammered on the Cross,” features him playing a gritty riff that makes up the bulk of the song but it’s the colorful solo that rests on the edge of shredding that steals the spotlight. However, he isn’t just a one trick pony, all balls and brazen.  “I Walked Away” has some bluesy style guitar that weaves in and out of a catchy twang and metal riffs during the chorus.  His guitar here is really complimented by Jorn’s vocals, that are a lower register here and without much of his usual gruff instead using a soulful tenor for the verses.  The pre chorus and chorus echoes other soulful vocalists such as Englund from EVERGREY or, of course, Ronnie James Dio.   The guitar solo in this song is a stark contrast to its bluesy roots; it sounds like it could be from a thrash or MEGADETH record but, somehow, it doesn’t sound out of place.

Despite the more melodic beginning that reminds me a lot of SYMPHONY X’s lighter moments, the final track is very much full of power metal elements, from the chugging riffs down to the slightly more higher register vocals.  This ending track, “Blackbirds,” really is a great finisher and showcases the dynamics of the band. Mat Sinner, also from PRIMAL FEAR and his namesake band SINNER, plays bass on this album and does an impeccable job.  I really like his melodic touch on the quieter parts of the aforementioned “Blackbirds.” Elsewhere, such as “The Slippery Slope,” he plays fast and with unbridled energy, adding some hefty weight to one of the albums most straight ahead metal tracks. Vecchio (from EDGE OF FOREVER, among other bands) provides keyboards for this outing and their subtle usage is very effective, probably far more than they would if they were used more in front actually.

All in all, this is yet another great outing involving JORN, a man who it seems cannot make a bad album.  If you like his voice and past musical output, I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t enjoy this round. If you find him not to your taste, then I suggest you go acquire it.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Life On Death Road
2. Hammered to the Cross (The Business)
3. Love Is The Remedy
4. Dreamwalker
5. Fire to the Sun
6. Insoluble Maze (Dreams in the Blindness)
7. I Walked Away
8. The Slippery Slope (Hangman’s Rope)
9. Devil You Can Drive
10. The Optimist
11. Man of the 80’s
12. Blackbirds
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Mat Sinner – Bass
Alesssandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards
Francesco Jovino - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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