Jorn: ‘Heavy Rock Radio’

Jorn CD coverJORN
Released on June 3, 2016 (Frontiers Music Srl)

Review by Ruben Mosqueda:
Let’s get this out of the way. You know and I know that Jorn Lande is Scandinavia’s answer to our Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. What I mean by that is that both are stellar vocalists. They can sing the hell out of a song but when it comes to writing their own original material, they fall short.

Jorn has done a couple of cover records already with Unlocking the Past in 2007 and Dio in 2010. The latter was released before Ronnie James Dio was even in his crypt. So here we are in 2016 and you guessed it… time for another Jorn Lande cover record. This one is titled Heavy Rock Radio and runs the gambit from The Eagles to Paul Stanley to Queen to you guessed it, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I get that Jorn is a huge David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio but it’s gotten to the point where it’s predicable and calculated. Though I will admit his renditions of “Stormbringer,” “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Die Young” are pretty spectacular.

I have to say that I like Jorn taking risks like he did in covering Foreigner’s “Rev on the Redline” or Iron Maiden’s “The Final Frontier,” Kate Bush’s “Running UP That Hill” and Frida’s “I Know There’s Something Going On.” I would suggest no one tackle Queen ever; not even a first class singer like Jorn Lande can do a Queen song justice. “Hotel California” didn’t work and “Don’t Stop Believin” sounds really forced but I do love the new arrangement sans the keyboard. Overall, Heavy Rock Radio is a fun record. I’d love it more if he didn’t have two cover albums in his discography already.

Review by Olivier:
You got to hand it to Jorn. He seems to be able to transform some rather lacklustre songs into real gems. The man simply has a knack for being able to ‘Jorn-ize’ just about any song and make it sound pretty damn good!

I am not saying that most of the original songs chosen by Jorn for his latest covers album were duds because most of them were very strong tracks from the get go. Songs such as Dio‘s “Rainbow In The Dark”, Journey‘s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and Queen‘s “Killer Queen” are some of the best of their genre and have stood the test of time. In addition, Black Sabbath‘s “Die Young” and Deep Purple‘s “Stormbringer” can stand toe to toe with just about any heavy metal track out there. However, there are some original songs that Jorn covers that I have never listened to and never would have if it wasn’t for the Norwegian powerhouse vocalist putting his spin on those tracks. I readily concede that I consider the original songs that I have never heard of from genres that I would not usually listen to are the “duds” in my mind.

Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill” and Frida‘s (ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad) “I Know There’s Something Going On” simply don’t cut it for this sleaze and metal addict but Jorn‘s take on each of those songs not only make them listenable but really enjoyable as well. And that’s where the rubber meets the road for Jorn‘s Heavy Rock Radio. There’s something magical about taking a song that a hard rock / heavy metal lover like myself would most likely not listen to and transforming into a great song. Jorn does that with the two aforementioned Bush and Frida tracks and to a lesser extent with two other original songs that I was not familiar with in terms of Foreigner‘s “Rev On The Red Line” (I know — a little surprising that I wouldn’t know this song) and John Farnham‘s “You’re The Voice.”

Where I find that Jorn falls short with Heavy Rock Radio is when he tries to cover songs that are already great in my mind. It’s hard to really improve on a song that is already great from the get go but that’s exactly what Jorn tries to do when tackling some heavy metal classics such as Iron Maiden‘s “The Final Frontier”, Dio‘s “Rainbow In The Dark” and Black Sabbath‘s “Die Young.” Now, Jorn‘s versions of those songs are not bad by any means and for the most part stand up to the original tracks. However, what Jorn does not do is take those songs — that were already great — to the next level because frankly there is not that much more to aspire to. For the hard rock / heavy metal songs that Jorn covers, I find that his versions are on par, sometimes a little better, often slightly worse (such as his cover of Paul Stanley‘s “Live To Win”) than the original versions. Nevertheless, Jorn‘s cover versions of all the songs are at least good to great.

Overall, Heavy Rock Radio is a fun album that showcases Jorn‘s singing talents and proves that he can handle just about any song, Jorn-ize it and make it sound good. You can’t go wrong with adding Heavy Rock Radio to your record collection.

Track List:
01. I Know There’s Something Going On
02. Running Up That Hill
03. Rev On The Red Line
04. You’re The Voice
05. Live To Win
06. Don’t Stop Believin’
07. Killer Queen
08. Hotel California
09. Rainbow In The Dark
10. The Final Frontier
11. Stormbringer
12. Die Young

Band Members:
Jorn Lande – vocals
Trond Holter – guitars (1 to 8, 10, 12)
Francesco Iovino – drums (1 to 8, 10, 12)
Thomas Bekkevold – bass (1 to 8, 10, 12)
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Jimmy Iversen – guitars (9)
Tore Moren – guitars (9)
Nic Angileri – bass (9)
Willy Bendiksen – drums (9)
Jorn Viggo Lofstad – guitars (11)
Sid Ringsby – bass (11)
Willy Bendiksen – drums (11)

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Ruben Mosqueda and Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, June 2016

Jorn – “I Know There’s Something Going On” (Official Music Video)

Taken from the album HEAVY ROCK RADIO. Get your copy now: / Amazon: / iTunes: http://radi.a…

Jorn – “Running Up That Hill” (Official Music Video)

Taken from the album HEAVY ROCK RADIO. Get your copy now: / Amazon: / iTunes: http://radi.a…

JORN – “Live To Win” (Official Music Video)

From the album HEAVY ROCK RADIO. Get your copy NOW: / Amazon: / iTunes:…

Jorn – Stormbringer (Official / New / Studio Album / 2016)

Pre-order HEAVY ROCK RADIO on iTunes now and get “Stormbringer”, “I Know There’s Something Going On”, and “Live To Win” instantly:…

Jorn – “Hotel California” (Official Music Video)

From the album HEAVY ROCK RADIO. Order your copy NOW: / Amazon: / iTunes:…