Jorn: ‘Live On Death Road’

Released on June 14, 2019 (Frontiers Music Srl)

My first introduction to Norwegian powerhouse singer Jorn Lande was when I heard Masterplan‘s sublime self-titled debut album, which was released back in 2003. I loved everything about Jorn‘s voice at that time and Masterplan‘s sophomore record Aeronautics was more of the same. Although I was disappointed when Jorn left Masterplan, I was blown away by his solo album Dio, which was released two months after Ronnie James Dio‘s death in May 2010 and which was his tribute to the former Black Sabbath and Rainbow singer. I then sought out to discover Jorn‘s extensive solo discography starting with what I thought would be a great introduction with 2011’s Live In Black. Sadly, that live album was rather boring to listen to with Jorn seemingly stuck performing mid-tempo rockers from start to finish. It seemed that Jorn was missing his former Masterplan band members’ songwriting as the Masterplan material covered way more ground with a lot more variety for Jorn to sing along to. Interestingly, when I interviewed Masterplan lead guitarist and band founder Roland Grapow for the first time in 2016, he mentioned how Jorn doesn’t like the faster songs and likes to stay vocally within the heavy metal power mid-range stuff.

Although I have not been impressed with Jorn‘s solo material, I have always like his cover albums including Heavy Rock Radio. When I saw that his latest double live album Live On Death Road had a number of covers such as Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Shot In The Dark” and Black Sabbath‘s “Mob Rules” plus one song from the fabulous Dracula debut album Swing of Death, I decided to take the plunge and purchased the double live record. I confess that I had only listened to a few tracks here and there from Jorn‘s last studio album Life On Death Road so didn’t realize that keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio was part of the line-up for that record. Nothing against Del Vecchio because he is an outstanding keyboardist and prolific songwriter but I also knew that if the man is playing keyboards on an album, odds are that those keyboards will be prominently heard on that record. Even though I didn’t really enjoy all the mid-tempo rockers on 2011’s Live In Black, at least I knew that Jorn was employing two guitarists for that live album. On Live On Death Road, there is only one guitarist (Tore Moren) and Del Vecchio‘s keyboards is seemingly replacing the second guitarist position.

What that translates to is a more melodic rock take (ugh) on Jorn‘s material from start to finish. That edge that I was hoping that Jorn would deliver on Live On Death Road is non-existent as even the heavier material is watered down with keyboards. Live On Death Road also starts with a whimper as the opening track “My Road” is a rather slow drawn out tune. Don’t get me wrong. A slower song can be a powerful way to open a concert such as when Judas Priest opened their Fuel For Life Tour with the scintillating “ballad” “Out In The Cold” but I just don’t feel it when I hear Jorn open with the song “My Road.” From there, it’s really again an exercise of listening to Jorn‘s mid-tempo rock with unfortunately a keyboard overtone to water down the tracks even further. My favourite track from the first CD is “Ride Like The Wind” which does not say that much since it’s a pretty average track and one not apparently written by Jorn.

The second CD opens with “Shot In The Dark” which is unfortunately a bit underwhelming. Perhaps my expectations were simply too high as I expected Jorn to transform this classic track into an even better one with his powerful vocals but that simply is not the case. Dracula‘s “Walking On Water” is next and again a bit of a disappointment. The power of the track which was on full display on Swing of Death seems to have evaporated on Live On Death Road. Again, it’s not a bad version on Live On Death Road but it does not live up to the original on Swing of Death. “Traveller” and “Rock And Roll Angel” are two of Jorn‘s better solo tracks and help to close out the show on a higher note. Jorn‘s covers of Black Sabbath‘s “The Mob Rules” and Dio‘s “Rainbow In The Dark” are probably two of the strongest tracks on the live album. Unfortunately, Live On Death Road ends just like it starts — on a bit of a whimper — with “Lonely Is The Brave.”

Sometimes you have high expectations for an album and end up being disappointed. This is truly the case with Live On Death Road. Ever since hearing Masterplan‘s first two albums and later Jorn‘s Dio album, I have always had high expectations for Jorn‘s upcoming releases and often I am left a bit disappointed. I just wish that Jorn would get out of the mid-tempo rocker range that he apparently loves so much and go for it a lot more like when he sang on those earlier Masterplan albums. Live On Death Road is more of the same from Jorn, namely songs within his comfort level that end up falling a bit short.

Track List:
01. My Road
02. Bring Heavy Rock To The Land
03. Life On Death Road
04. Blacksong
05. World Gone Mad
06. Stormcrow
07. Sunset Station
08. Ride Like The Wind
09. Out To Every Nation
10. Shot In The Dark
11. Walking On Water
12. Traveller
13. Rock And Roll Angel
14. The Mob Rules
15. Rainbow In The Dark
16. Lonely Is The Brave

Band Members:
Jorn Lande – lead vocals
Tore Moren – guitar
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keyboards
Sid Ringsby – bass
Beata Polak – drums
Francesco Jovino – drums

Recorded by Andrea Seveso
Mixed and mastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio
Filmed and edited by Maurizio Del Piccolo
Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio and Jorn Lande

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, August 2019

Jorn‘s “The Mob Rules” video:

JORN – “The Mob Rules” (Official Live Video) #HeavyMetal

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Jorn‘s “Stormcrow” video:

JORN – “Stormcrow” (Official Live Video)

Subscribe here for more videos – | From the album & home video LIVE ON DEATH ROAD. Get your copy on 2CD/DVD, Blu-Ray, or Di…

Jorn‘s “Ride Like The Wind” video:

JORN – “Ride Like The Wind” (Official Live Video)

Subscribe here for more videos – | From the album & home video LIVE ON DEATH ROAD. Get your copy on 2CD/DVD, Blu-Ray, or Di…